2014 Range Rover, Image: Jaguar Land Rover

Last week we took entries for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade. There were certainly plenty of submissions; it’s always easy to dream up crossover criticism (less dream, more nightmare in the case of the Acura ZDX).

This time around, we flip the question: What’s the best utility vehicle of the past 10 years?

2014 land rover range rover lwb long wheel base rear 34

As before, we’re limiting this question to vehicles sold between model years 2008 and 2017. Selected vehicles must have been available in the North American market for consideration.

While sales figures are an indication a particular vehicle is popular, they cannot be used to conclude a utility vehicle is good. A utility vehicle gobbling up market share could simply be a result of factory incentives, suspicious inventory trickery, or fleet sales. Overall, just don’t use sales as primary argument for a best of the breed selection.

So what does make for a “best” utility vehicle, as we seek today?  A few qualifiers to ponder:

  • Substantive cargo area
  • Reliability
  • Affordability to many
  • Fuel economy
  • Flexible seating
  • All-wheel drive
  • Practical size

At risk of being labeled a fanboy, a term thrown around these pages frequently and with indelicate fervor, I’ve made a single selection as example. And it’s not the Range Rover up there — don’t be ridiculous.

2017 Honda CR-V

For 20 years and five generations now, the Honda CR-V has propelled North America away from Home Depot and around the occasional wet or leaf-covered road in relative space, comfort, and economy. The interiors hold up, engines and components are reliable, and resale value is decent or good even for high-mileage examples. It’s not luxuriously expensive from new.

2017 Honda CR-V Cargo Area, Image: American Honda

In upper trims with metallic paint, it can look suitably upscale. Powered via all-wheel drive and CVT, the CR-V is rated 25 miles per gallon in the city and 31 on the highway. It’s more useful than subcompact CUV entries, as it’s not too small. It doesn’t have the third-row seat of larger family haulers that compromises passenger and cargo space 97 percent of the time, when the rearmost row is not in use.

2017 Honda CR-V

It’s relatively a lot of things, to kind of a lot of people. I’m probably wrong though, so tell us your pick for best utility vehicle.

[Images: The Truth About Cars; Jaguar Land Rover; Honda]