Today’s automotive customers prefer to stay connected even when they’re on the move, and since they also prefer to do their moving in sport-utilities and crossovers, there’s an increasing number of SUVs with WiFi now on sale. Indeed, there are so many vehicles with that modern-day must-have technology that we had to limit brands to one entry each for the current list. The honor roll below does run the gamut of the price and sizing spectrum, though, to satisfy more shoppers.
Jaguar has finally joined the crossover club, and although it’s a bit late to the party, the brand’s new entry—the 2017 Jaguar F-PACE—leaps right into the forefront of SUVs with Wi-Fi: It’s available InControl 4G setup can host up to eight devices, plus it’s part of an overall infotainment bundle with smartphone app access, a 10.2-inch touchscreen and a Meridian audio system that envelopes the cabin with 17 speakers. The F-PACE provides full-screen navigation, too, splashed across an also optional 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster. Meanwhile, the infotainment touchscreen doubles as the controller for the F-PACE’s optional Configurable Dynamics multi-mode drive system. This Jaguar isn’t afraid to get its paws muddy, either. Thus, it can be configured with highly capable all-wheel-drive technologies like Adaptive Surface Response, to further fine-tune vehicle responses, automatically, based on the type of surface on which the vehicle is travelling.
Land Rover Evoque Convertible
A truly unique choice among SUVs with Wi-FI—and among SUVs in general, now that the Murano CrossCabriolet has been crossed off the production list—is the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. Considerably loosening those stereotypical stiff upper lips, designers from the British-branded automaker have removed the roof of a standard Evoque and replaced it with a premium, power-operated softtop for an opulent open-air driving experience. From a styling standpoint, the fabric will be supplied solely in black, for an appearance cue that mimics the contrast-color roof furnished for the hard-top Evoque. But while no other SUV or crossover shares the sky-friendly bodystyle of the Evoque Convertible, Land Rover and Jaguar do share a holding company, and therefore some technologies, and that includes InControl infotainment with a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Which isn’t a bad thing, since owners enjoy cutting-edge connectivity from both brands, backed by a 10.2-inch touchscreen.
Thanks to GM’s deployment of OnStar 4G LTE connectivity across nearly its entire lineup, the Bowtie brand alone serves up five different SUVs with Wi-Fi, from the tiny Trax crossover all the way up to the big body-on-frame Suburban and Tahoe. We’ll focus on the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox, however, as it’s the best-seller in the bunch. In fact, it’s long been one of the best-selling compact crossovers in the country, and not just because that mobile Wi-Fi setup comes standard, as part of a three-month/three-gigabyte trial data plan. The ’Nox also notches its fair share of sales for its highly adaptable cabin: With its MultiFlex second-row seats pushed back to their limit, rear-seat passengers stretch with a best-in-class 39.9 inches of legroom; pull the seats forward, and the Equinox can cram 31.4 cubic feet of gear in its rear cargo hold.
Like its corporate cohorts, Cadillac takes advantage of GM’s OnStar technology to furnish advanced connectivity features throughout its roster. As a result, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 is one of three SUVs with Wi-Fi from the brand, at least as things stand now. After a short transition period, the XT5 will send the current SRX to the sidelines, then carry on to complement the full-size brawn of the body-on-frame Escalade. The XT5 also will boast the next big thing in in-car technology: advanced smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Already rolling out for the 2016 model year, this innovation allows a vehicle’s infotainment touchscreen to directly operate many smartphone functions. Additionally, the XT5 will leverage next-gen lightweighting techniques for a lower curb weight than either the outgoing SRX or rivals like the Audi Q5, with its lean construction—and a 310-horsepower V6—ensuring excellent driving dynamics.
When it comes to “real” SUVs with Wi-Fi, customers can come to the Professional Grade brand for both the 2016 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. That prodigiously sized pair of body-on-frame sport-utilities includes the standard GM Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity starter pack, complete with a three-month/three-gigabyte complimentary data plan. Yet the Yukons also pack enough punch to pull up to 8,500 lbs. worth of trailer, with a little help from their standard 5.3-liter V8 engines and outputs of 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. Engineers also bolster Yukon’s hauling power with a standard tow/haul mode, trailer-sway control, auto-grade braking and hill-start assist, as well as four-wheel-disc brakes and DuraLife rotors that, according to GMC, “offer up to double the service life.” The brand further features Acadia and Terrain crossovers with Wi-Fi, and all can be upgraded to Denali trim for peak premium amenities.
The long and short of it for Buick: The brand supplies two SUVs with Wi-Fi, the compact 2016 Buick Encore and the three-row, full-size Buick Enclave. The former, along with its OnStar 4G technology and mobile Wi-Fi capability, gets the nod here for its newness, as the Encore was one of the first premium crossovers in the segment. It’s also still a credible alternative to the more expensive Euro choices, especially in its new-for-2016 Sport Touring edition. The package naturally delivers new design details, such as a rear spoiler and 18-inch aluminum wheels with a premium finish, but there’s also a notable nudge given to the standard 1.4-liter turbo engine. The addition of direct injection to that four-cylinder unit frees up double-digit gains in output, with a more than 10 percent jump in horsepower, to 153, and an almost 20 percent spike in torque, to 177 lb.-ft.
The 2016 Dodge Durango has a tendency to slip under the radar, yet it actually offers a prominent package of benefits. Of course, if it’s here on our list of SUVs with WiFi, you know it delivers a mobile hotspot for connectivity—albeit with 3G connectivity. However, not only is that technology available with an award-winning Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch screen, it’s also matched with a rear-wheel-drive powertrain for serious towing capability, of up to 7,400 lbs., and enthusiastic driving dynamics. Highlighting the engine lineup is a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, and for 2016, the fun-to-drive factor gets a nice shot in the arm from a Sport mode that’s also available on Durango powered by the 295-horsepower V6. In both cases, the system sharpens Durango responsiveness with aggressive re-calibration of steering, pedal play and shift patterns.
A premium pioneer in terms of connectivity, Audi touts its own trio of SUVs with Wi-Fi. The Q3 and Q5 hold down roster spots for the compact and midsize segments, respectively, while the all-new 2017 Audi Q7, with standard quattro all-wheel drive, is about to enter the market as the four-rings’ full-size premium SUV. Needless to say, the Q7 showcases the full panoply of Audi’s latest tech toys, ranging from the brand’s 4G LTE connectivity setup to a mind-blowing Bang & Olufsen 3D Advanced Sound System with 1,920 watts of power and 23 speakers, the latter including two sophisticated acoustic lenses. Also distinguishing the Q7’s cabin will be three rows of superior comfort and style that can be enveloped in rich Valcona leather and offer ventilating, massaging front contour seats. The Q7 even raises the bar for tailgate technology, since it offers hands-free power opening and closing capability.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep also relies on Fiat-Chrysler’s Uconnect technology to provide one of its SUVs with WiFi on a 3G network, and unsurprisingly, that would be the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It’s the flagship of the Jeep brand, combining luxurious materials and precision craftsmanship inside with all the trail-rated capability needed to escape to the great outdoors. What won’t escape enthusiasts’ attention, on the other hand, is the new Grand Cherokee SRT Night edition that debuted at the 2015 SEMA Show and will go on sale for the 2016 model year. With the ability to light up some 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, this high-velocity Grand Cherokee variant wears lightweight 20-inch wheels in a Satin Black finish, along with Satin Black exterior appliques and badging, and a Gloss Black finish for the roof, rear spoiler, front grille bezels, side window surrounds, and B and C pillars.
What happens when you cross the Mercedes S-Class luxury Sedan with the brand’s GL full-size premium sport-utility? The answer takes the road in the form of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS, which the automaker claims is “the only full-fledged seven-seater in the European premium SUV segment.” But like other SUVs with WiFi, the GLS isn’t limited to the road. Despite its well-deserved ultra-lux positioning, this new Mercedes is equally adept off the pavement, relying on available features like a low-range gearbox and locking center differential to tackle tougher terrain. At the same time, the GLS goes easy on its occupants, with available “design” Nappa leather seating that’s accented by diamond-quilted surfaces, heating functionality and a high-comfort design. Moreover, Mercedes maintains its reputation as a safety leader by making sure the GLS is fitted with an extensive array of driver-assistance measures, and the company caps off the lineup with the 577-horsepower AMG GLS63.