In many ways, the crossover SUV has become the family car of the 21st century. Lauded for the outward visibility afforded by their high seating positions, their adventurous image, and their capacious interiors, these vehicles offer a lot for the family on the go. When considering one of these models, if younger kids are involved a DVD player is an essential option. The category’s best SUVs with TV also feature auxiliary video inputs and AC outlets so iPods and video game consoles can be brought along for additional sources of entertainment. This option can make a huge difference in the temperament of younger passengers—and their parents as well.
Acura’s MDX offers engaging driving dynamics, a great reputation for reliability, and strong resale value. Power comes from a 290-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6. Front-drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard; all-wheel drive is an option. TV is bundled into the Acura’s Technology and Entertainment package, which includes a 110-volt power outlet, heated rear seats, sunshades for the windows in the rear doors, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a nine-inch screen. The Acura also offers an upgraded video entertainment system with a 16.2-inch screen as part of the Advance and Entertainment package. MDX pricing starts at $49,040 with the Technology and Entertainment package.
BMW’s X5 was the first crossover SUV to demonstrate driving pleasure could indeed be among the assets of this class of vehicle. If agility is as high a priority as practicality for you, the BMW X5 is worth a look. BMW offers two gasoline-powered engines for the X5—as well as a diesel powerplant. Power output ranges from 255 horsepower and 413 ft-lbs for the diesel; to 445 horsepower and 480 ft-lbs for the gasoline fired V8. An eight speed automatic transmission is standard. The BMW X5 offers a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with two 9.2-inch monitors as a standalone option for $2,200. For 2015, X5 pricing starts at $53,200.
If versatility and outright capacity are the metrics by which a family crossover SUV is to be measured, Chevrolet’s Traverse certainly ranks as one the best of the best. Traverse offers eight-passenger seating in three rows; plus, with the middle and third rows folded it will carry 116.3 cubic feet of cargo. Power comes from a 3.6-liter V6 capable of 288 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque. Front-drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional, and a six-speed automatic is the only transmission choice. Other standard features include automatic headlights, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface for secondary controls. The $2,035 rear-seat DVD entertainment system can be had as an option with any trim level. Traverse pricing starts at $30,995.
Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? One of the oldest SUV nameplates on the market, Ford’s Explorer started life as a Truck-based SUV and has evolved into one of the most car-like crossovers on the market today. Available with either front-, or all-wheel drive, power output ranges from 240 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque, to 365-horsepower and 350 ft-lbs of torque. Standard features include a six-speed automatic transmission, automatic headlights, and full power accessories. Options include self-parking. The $1,995 rear-seat video entertainment option is offered with XLT or higher-trimmed Explorers and features dual front headrest-mounted monitors. Ford Explorer XLT pricing starts at $33,000.
Universally praised for its comfortable ride quality, eight passenger capacity, and of course Honda’s legendary reliability, the Honda Pilot is a strong contender in the family crossover/SUV category. Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 with 250 horsepower and 253 ft-lbs of torque. Front-wheel drive and a five-speed transmission are standard; all-wheel drive is an option. Other standard features include tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and an eight-inch touchscreen interface for secondary functions. Options are grouped by trim level. To get the Pilot’s rear-seat video entertainment system you have to order the EX package or better. Honda Pilot EX pricing starts at $32,120.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The stylish Jeep Cherokee offers a handsome exterior plus a nicely designed interior treatment along with Jeep’s legendary go-anywhere capability. Power output ranges from 240 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque for diesel-powered models, to 475 horsepower and 470 ft-lbs of torque for the Grand Cherokee SRT. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for all. Other standard features include keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, and automatic headlights. A $1,995 Blu-ray based video entertainment system is offered as an option for Grand Cherokee Limited models and above. The system features a pair of front seat-back mounted monitors plus HDMI and RCA inputs. Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited pricing starts at $36,795.
Lexus RX 350
Credited with inventing the luxury car-based crossover SUV category, the Lexus RX 350 is one of its most popular models. Power comes from a 3.5-liter V6 producing 270 horsepower and 248 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard with the base model—as is front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is an option). If you choose the more performance-oriented F Sport, you’ll get an eight-speed and all-wheel drive. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, keyless entry and ignition, and a seven-inch touchscreen interface. The video system is part of the $4,060 Rear-Seat Entertainment and Navigation Package offered for RX 350 AWD. Pricing for that model starts at $43,295.
Mazda’s largest crossover SUV is fun to drive, despite its size. With responsive steering and agile handling, it’s also quite capacious—being capable of transporting up to 101 cubic feet of cargo. Power comes from a 273-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 with 270 ft-lbs of torque. Offered with front- or all-wheel drive, the transmission is a six-speed automatic. Standard features include three-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and Pandora Internet radio capability. The $3,245 rear seat video entertainment system is bundled with satellite radio and a Bose surround audio system. The package is offered as an option for the CX-9’s Grand Touring trim level. Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring starts at $35,035.
Over the years, Nissan’s Pathfinder has evolved from a trail-ready SUV into a supermarket friendly crossover SUV. With room for seven, and host of carlike convenience features, we’re looking at a kinder, gentler Pathfinder these days. Power is supplied by a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with 240 ft-lbs of torque. A continuously variable transmission feeds power to either the front wheels, or optionally, all four. To get the dual-screen rear-seat video entertainment system, you’ll opt for the $1,700 Family Entertainment package available for the Pathfinder Platinum, whose pricing starts at $41,410.
Toyota’s Highlander offers seating for up to eight, a comfortable and quiet ride, as well as up to 83.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Power comes from a choice of two engines; a 185-horsepower 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with 184 ft-lbs of torque, or a 3.5-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and 248 ft-lbs of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed automatic. Other standard features include automatic headlights, a rearview camera, and a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface. To get the $2,085 Blu-ray based rear seat video entertainment package, you’ll go with Highlander XLE or Limited. For 2015, Toyota Highlander XLE pricing starts at $37,520