With so many SUVs out there, automakers are doing everything they can to help make their models stand out. One of the most effective ways to make a good first impression on buyers is a snazzy exterior. While performance and comfort are important, crafting a look that doesn’t get lost in the pack is a requirement for the most successful SUVs these days. However, there are tons of different ways automakers approach styling their SUV lines.
For example, if you walk into a Chevy SUV dealership, you’ll see a cohesive exterior design strategy across all its SUV models, creating a very recognizable aesthetic. Other brands strive to give each of their vehicles its own unique look, while others still focus their efforts on special editions and appearance packages. Which formula is the best is a matter of opinion. There are vehicles on this list from each school of thought, and all of them look good in their own way. One thing is for certain; there is no shortage this year of SUVs that are pleasing to the eye. However, these next eight are my personal favorites.
#1 – 2023 Chevy Bolt EUV
The 2023 Chevy Bolt EUV is the smallest SUV on this list, and it’s also the only fully electric model. EVs tend to look pretty different from traditional gasoline vehicles since they don’t need the grilles that often serve as the focal point of a vehicle’s front fascia. In spite of this, the Bolt EUV still looks very much like a Chevy, gasoline-powered or otherwise. Its front end is contoured in a way that mimics the double-decker grille found on several Chevy vehicles, and it has familiar hawkish headlights that give this friendly little SUV a bit more edge. The new Redline Edition adds red accents around the exterior, including pinstripes on the wheels and mirrors, and has a jet-black interior with red accent stitching. This appearance package can be paired with Summit White, Silver Flare Metallic, or Mosaic Black Metallic paint options, with the last being the clear choice, in my opinion.
#2 – 2023 Chevy Blazer
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include two Chevys on this list, as no automaker does a better job of creating a homogenous look across so many different vehicles. In my opinion, any Chevy SUV is attractive enough to be here, but the Blazer’s styling is a cut above. It sports a new look in 2023 that includes a more intricate grille and modern LED headlamps and taillights. It also gets three new paint options: Radiant Red, Sterling Gray Metallic, and Copper Bronze Metallic. The Blazer looks slick from every angle, and everything from its wheels to its roof rails adds to this SUV’s sporty style. It looks like it was born to drive around the city at night.
#3 – 2023 Ford Bronco
The Ford Bronco has a storied past that it honors in 2023 with the new Heritage and Heritage Limited editions. The former features white wheels and plaid cloth seats, while the latter has black and white dog dish wheels and a brown leather interior with a plaid design, which looks better than it sounds. Both Broncos have white grilles that spell “FORD” instead of “BRONCO” and a two-tone paint job featuring some throwback colors, like Robin’s Egg Blue. The Heritage and Heritage Limited look like they were plucked straight out of the 1960s in the best way possible. This nod to vintage Broncos is both appreciated and a surefire way to make modern Broncos look unlike anything else on the roads today.
#4 – 2023 Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is all fresh and new for 2023, starting off its sixth generation right. While last year’s model was pretty indistinguishable from the other models in its segment, the new CR-V has revamped styling that gives it a little more personality and matches some of the other newer models from Honda. The front end is squared-off and features a big, bold grille which creates a more aggressive look. It also has several black accents and black wheels on certain trims, making the CR-V feel pretty sporty.
#5 – 2023 Kia Telluride
Automakers like Chevy and—increasingly—Honda strive for consistent styling across model lines, but with Kia, every model feels like a wild card. Aside from badging, there are precious few cues that indicate a car like the Soul is made by the same manufacturer as the Sportage. This strategy really pays off with the 2023 Kia Telluride and its entirely unique styling. It lacks many elements commonly found on other SUVs, like oversized grilles, and its headlights resemble eyes, open and alert. Both work to make the Telluride look friendly and approachable, but its blocky body type helps to maintain its SUV coolness.
#6 – 2023 Mazda CX-50
The 2023 Mazda CX-50 is the new kid, debuting for this model year. Like all Mazdas, its sleek and clean styling makes it look more expensive than it is. Its long hood slopes gently, with some overhang capping the grille nested in the front fascia. There’s very little noise to the CX-50’s design, making it look incredibly sharp despite an abundance of soft lines. All of the paint options speak to the vehicle’s refinement, like Ingot Blue Metallic and Zircon Sand Metallic. Its body style and high-shine paint options work together to bend light in an intentional way. Every last detail feels well thought out.
#7 – 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan
The 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan isn’t going for the rugged, utilitarian look that many American-made SUVs have honed in on. Instead, it opts for a polished design that feels very European and has a gentler silhouette than some of the boxier SUV models. One of its coolest styling features is a thin light bar that spans from headlight to headlight across the grille. As more EVs are coming out, we’re seeing automakers get creative with lighting, adding light bars like the Tiguan’s and other illuminated accents. It’s not all that common on gasoline vehicles, however, so it’s a nice touch for the Tiguan.
#8 – 2023 Toyota Sequoia
The redesigned 2023 Toyota Sequoia is a chameleon of sorts, able to be dressed up or down in several different ways depending on the driver’s taste. The off-roading TRD Pro trim looks positively rugged, while its line-topping Capstone trim fully captures the luxury SUV aesthetic with lots of shiny chrome. The Sequoia can also be had in 11 different colors, including a fiery orange and a smoky shade of brown. Aside from these extras, the Sequoia just has good SUV bones. It’s big and bulky, unafraid to take up space.
When Judging a Book by Its Looks Is Okay
SUVs seem to get more popular by the year, and their appearance is surely a part of their appeal. As the segment has grown, designs have become more specialized, serving different niches of the market––just look at Chevy and its seven distinct SUV models. This applies not only to performance but also to style. Modern SUVs can be so different aesthetically, looking anything from suave and graceful to rugged and formidable. All that glitters isn’t gold, and cars are certainly no exception to this rule. However, the SUV segment is so highly saturated with capable vehicles that having an exterior styled to your liking might be the tiebreaker. Go ahead, judge that glittery SUV by its looks. Chances are you’ll strike gold.