When you find a product that does a good job of serving two very different purposes, it’s like getting two products for the price of one. It gives you the pleasure that comes with knowing you’ve made a smart choice. And, best of all, it saves you money.
That’s the way it is with high-performance family crossovers. When enthusiasts start families, it’s common for them to maintain two vehicles: one for family use and another that’s designed for pure driving entertainment. But when you consider things such as car insurance and registration, maintaining two cars can be expensive.
For this reason, investing in a high-performance family crossover makes sense. These vehicles have the roominess and amenities to serve as comfortable family transportation, ferrying your young ones to Little League games and accommodating your brood on holiday road trips. And for those moments when the family’s at home and you want to cut loose and enjoy the open road, these crossovers have the skills to deliver performance that keeps you grinning.
Below are our three picks for drivers seeking a used high-performance family crossover, listed in alphabetical order. Each of these models bundles family-friendly features and thrilling driving dynamics in one compelling package.
1. 2013-2017 Ford Explorer Sport
Just as the Toyota Prius is viewed by many as the prototypical hybrid, the Ford Explorer is seen as the prototypical crossover SUV. This model has been a top choice for families seeking capable transportation since its introduction in the early 1990s. The current generation of the Explorer debuted in 2011.
But we’re not talking about the ordinary Explorer here. We’re talking about the Sport trim, a high-performance variant introduced for the 2013 model year. Think of the Sport as an Explorer on steroids. It comes with an engine that’s more muscular than those found in most other trims: a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 good for 365 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque. The Sport’s performance upgrades also include four-wheel drive and a sport-tuned suspension.
Of course, all the Explorer’s usual family-friendly amenities are also on board. This means you get third-row seating, roughly 80 cubic feet of maximum cargo space and access to optional driver-assistive features such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. Additionally, the Explorer Sport comes standard with MyKey, a feature that parents can use to monitor teen drivers.
2. 2015-2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is known for its ruggedness. This is the SUV you choose if you want a vehicle that’s refined enough for the suburbs and sturdy enough to tackle mountain trails.
This model’s SRT variant adds a high-performance twist to this mix, and it’s armed with a 6.4-liter V8 that’s the most potent engine in the Grand Cherokee’s range. For maximum power, we’d recommend sticking with a 2015 model or newer, since the SRT’s V8 got a boost in output for the 2015 model year. This upgrade allowed the V8 to generate 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.
SRT models also add performance features such as Brembo brakes, an adaptive suspension and performance-tuned steering. And with almost 70 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, a roomy cabin and a long list of available driver-assistive technology, the SRT is ably equipped for family duty.
3. 2014-2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
When Porsche introduced its first SUV, the Cayenne, over a decade ago, the idea of this legendary sports-car automaker entering the SUV market was seen as blasphemous by some. Years later, Porsche has a hit on its hands with the Cayenne, a luxury SUV that instantly became a segment leader in performance.
Truth be told, there probably isn’t a Cayenne in the lineup that will disappoint enthusiasts. But for maximum thrills, we’d recommend the Cayenne Turbo S, a trim that’s equipped with the most athletic engine in the model’s lineup.
The second generation of the Cayenne ran from 2011 to 2017, and the Cayenne Turbo S variant wasn’t introduced in this generation until the 2014 model year. With Turbo S models, you get a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 good for 550 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. This variant also brings performance upgrades such as an active antiroll suspension system and a torque-vectoring rear differential.
Cayennes come with spacious cabins, roughly 60 cubic feet of cargo space and an options list that includes running boards, adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot warning system.
If you’re an enthusiast, high-performance family crossovers offer versatility that suits your lifestyle.
The picks listed above give you the utility you need to transport your family, along with exciting handling that adds spice to time spent behind the wheel.