10 min read
30 Sep

American brands aren’t just among the roll-call of the world’s fastest SUVs. The FF19, an all-electric performance luxury C-SUV created by American EV startup Faraday Future, is, in fact, the fastest SUV in the world right now, with enough oomph to wake to 60 mph in a little over 2 seconds. Speed and power often steal the spotlight when time comes to claim bragging rights in automotive excellence. 

It's no different with SUVs. Bucking the conventional perception of these family-friendly vehicles, a select group of American automakers have engineered SUVs that are nothing short of speed demons on four wheels. 

Today, we invite you to step into the realm of high-performance vehicles as we unveil the top 12 fastest American SUVs in 2023, arranged from the least to the greatest. These remarkable machines combine the versatility and practicality of SUVs with the heart-pounding thrill of acceleration. So fasten your seatbelts for a journey through the fastest SUVs born right here in the United States

Related Reading: Leisure Redefined: The 10 Best Luxury SUVs On The Market You Can Buy In 2023 Without Breaking The Bank 

12. 2022 Ford Expedition Stealth Performance 4X4

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.9 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 13.7 Seconds
2022 Ford Expedition Stealth Performance.

The refreshed 2022 Ford Expedition introduced several exciting additions and improvements to its lineup, including two new variants: the Timberline and the Stealth Edition Performance Package. 

With the Stealth Edition Performance Package, the full-sized SUV blew our collective minds out of the water with its remarkable performance capabilities. Car and Driver conducted a comprehensive test of the Expedition Stealth Performance and came away with impressive results, particularly in terms of speed. 

Accelerating from zero to 60 mph in a mere 4.9 seconds, this spirited SUV utilizes Ford's high-output 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine, boasting an impressive 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. 

However, the magazine noted that despite its muscular performance, the Expedition Stealth Performance retained some of the handling characteristics of its Expedition counterpart. 

Additionally, it's worth mentioning that the Performance Package comes at an additional cost of nearly $10,000. It’s probably very fitting for certain unpopular politicians. 

11. 2018 Callaway Tahoe Premier RST SC560 4X4

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.8 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 13.1 Seconds
2018 Callaway Tahoe Premier RST SC560.

The 2018 Callaway Tahoe Premier RST SC560 4X4 is a modified version of the Chevrolet Tahoe, enhanced and customized by the American tuning company Callaway Cars. The "SC560" in the name indicates that this vehicle has undergone significant performance upgrades. 

The original engine is typically a 6.2-liter V8, and Callaway has tuned it to produce around 560 horsepower (hence the "560" in the name). This enhanced engine performance results in improved acceleration and overall driving dynamics. 

The "4X4" designation indicates that it features four-wheel drive, making it suitable for various off-road and on-road conditions. The "Premier" trim level typically represents the highest level of luxury and features available in the Chevrolet Tahoe lineup. 

It includes premium amenities, high-quality materials, and advanced technology features. Chevrolet's "RST" (Rally Sport Truck) package adds sportier styling elements to the Tahoe. This can include features like blacked-out trim, unique wheels, and sportier interior accents. 

Callaway Cars is known for customizing vehicles to meet specific performance and design preferences. They often enhance not only the engine but also the suspension, exhaust, and other components to create a unique driving experience. 

So, if you're thinking that Motor Trend should've given the Genesis GV60 the Callaway treatment instead of complaining about the SUV's road manners, you've got a point. We'll tell you all about it later. 

10. 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 4.3 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 12.7 Seconds
2023 Cadillac Escalade-V.

Technically, this isn’t the fastest Escalade, as that honor goes to the Hennessey-modified 2020 Escalade HPE800, capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, mirroring the performance of its 2016 model. 

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V is on this list because it's probably the most accessible of the top 10 fastest American production SUVs. In any case, the Escalade-V distinguishes itself from the regular Escalade with its powerful supercharged V8 engine. 

Not only does it offer enhanced speed, but it also emits an audacious and captivating sound consistently. 

As is customary for Cadillac, the "V" designation signifies the high-performance nature of this model. Following this tradition, the new Escalade-V uses a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that generates an impressive 682 horsepower and 653 lb-ft of torque. 

This robust power enables the large SUV to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, according to Cadillac. The supercharged V8 engine is this SUV's defining characteristic, making its presence known audibly before it even comes into view. 

This distinctive feature aligns with the overall appeal of the Escalade-V. The luxury SUV boasts an array of advanced technology, including GM’s hands-free Super Cruise system. While Hennessey's are rare limited-production variants, the Escalade-V is yours for the taking if you are quick on the draw. 

9. 2019 Hennessey Chevy Suburban HPE800 (6.2L)

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 3.7 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 11.7 Seconds
2019 Hennessey Chevy Suburban HPE800.

The 2019 Hennessey Chevy Suburban HPE800 is a Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE)-customized high-performance version of the Chevrolet Suburban. 

The original 6.2-liter V8 engine is tuned and upgraded to produce an impressive 800 horsepower, providing substantial power and performance gains compared to the standard Suburban. Hennessey typically customizes the exterior and interior of their vehicles to give them a unique and more aggressive appearance. 

This Suburban features special wheels, body enhancements, and Hennessey badging to create a distinctive look. While the primary focus is on performance, Hennessey often offers interior customization options to enhance comfort and luxury. Expect premium materials and upholstery upgrades to provide a more upscale cabin. 

Vehicles modified by Hennessey, especially those with such significant power upgrades, are usually produced in limited quantities. This exclusivity adds to their appeal among automotive enthusiasts. 

Hennessey typically offers a warranty for their modified vehicles, but we still encourage potential buyers to thoroughly research and understand the modifications and warranty terms before buying. 

8. 2020 Hennessey Chevy Tahoe RST HPE800 (6.2L)

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 3.7 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 11.7 Seconds

The 2020 Hennessey Chevy Tahoe RST HPE800 is a highly modified and performance-enhanced version of the Chevrolet Tahoe. As its name suggests, the modifications are the handiwork of American tuning company Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE). 

The "HPE800" in the name signifies that this Tahoe has undergone significant engine modifications. Hennessey upgraded the original 6.2-liter V8 engine to produce an astounding 800 horsepower, resulting in substantially increased acceleration and overall performance compared to the stock Tahoe. 

With 800 horsepower under the hood, the HPE800 Tahoe RST could sprint from a standstill to 60 miles per hour in a very short 3.7 seconds, completing the quarter-mile run in a mere 11.7 seconds. 

In other words, Hennessey's touch left the full-sized Chevy Tahoe with similar performance capabilities as the 2022 Audi R8 supercar. 

Now that we've woken your hunger, we take it upon ourselves to remind you that Hennessey vehicles like the HPE800 Tahoe RST are typically intended for enthusiasts who seek extreme performance and are willing to invest in these customizations. 

7. 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 3.6 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 12.0 Seconds
2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.

The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat high-performance SUV combines the spaciousness and utility of a traditional SUV with the incredible power and performance of a sports car. It uses a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine producing a whopping 710 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque. 

It shared this engine with some of Dodge's high-performance muscle cars, making the Durango one of the most powerful SUVs on the market. 

Thanks to its potent engine and other performance enhancements, the Durango SRT Hellcat can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just around 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of approximately 180 mph. It also offers various driving modes, allowing drivers to tailor the vehicle's performance to their preferences – street or track. 

The SUV has a sporty and menacing appearance distinguishing it from the standard Durango models, including a unique front grille, larger air intakes, and distinctive badging. Since it can seat up to seven people across its three rows, the Durango SRT Hellcat is just the sort of family SUV for certain types of families. 

Related Reading: Top 10 Road-Going Highest Horsepower Cars For Rich People

6. 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 3.6 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 12.1 Seconds
2023 Genesis GV60 Performance.

The guys at Motor Trend sounded somewhat disappointed in the GV60’s performance as they fished for the best candidates for its annual Performance Vehicle of the Year award. However, the GV60 is far from an underperformer. 

The magazine’s editor admitted that the GV60 top trim’s "Performance" nomenclature left them with too high expectations from a factory SUV. As the editor wrote, “I honestly expected more from this car. I thought this was supposed to be pretty darn sporty, but it's not there yet.” 

Well, the 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance may not be "pretty darn sporty," but it is certainly in the top ten fastest American SUVs right now. There's no denying that honor from an SUV that can wake to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. 

MotorWeek subjected the SUV to a speed test and reported a quarter-mile run in 12.4 seconds while traveling at 112 mph. Even the ‘disappointed’ Motor Trend agreed the GV60 Performance’s forte lies in straight-line acceleration. 

They duly noted the excessive body roll, discomfiting seat belt tensioners, and poorly Michelin Primacy tires (which they blamed on the automaker, not the tire maker) but gave the SUV high points for its impressive powertrain. 

Equipped with a 77.4-kWh battery pack energizing electric motors at both the front and rear axles, the GV60 Performance boasts an impressive power output of 429 hp and a substantial 516 lb-ft of torque. When you think about it, don’t you think they’re a little too harsh on a 4,863-lb C-SUV that manages to cut through to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds? 

5. 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 3.4 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 11.8 Seconds
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk high-performance SUV is often considered one of the most powerful SUVs in the world. It gets propulsion power from the same 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine powering the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models

In the Trackhawk, this engine produces a staggering 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, routed to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

With its supercharged V8 engine, the Trackhawk can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of approximately 180 miles per hour. This level of performance puts it in the company of high-performance sports cars. 

Unlike some high-performance SUVs that use rear-wheel drive, the Trackhawk comes with all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard. Apparently, Jeep recognized the importance of this AWD system to provide better traction and stability, especially when launching the vehicle with its immense power. 

Additionally, the Trackhawk uses adaptive suspension and high-performance Brembo brakes to handle its speed and power while maintaining control and stability. While it looks just like a typical Grand Cherokee, the Trackhawk features subtle design cues to distinguish it from other Grand Cherokee models. 

Inside, it offers a comfortable and well-appointed cabin with premium materials and modern technology features. Despite its incredible performance, the Trackhawk retains some of the practicality of the Grand Cherokee lineup, as exemplified by its 7,200 pounds max towing capacity. 

Here’s the damper. The Trackhawk's immense power comes at the cost of fuel efficiency. It's not known for being particularly fuel-efficient, especially when driven aggressively. 

4. 2017 Tesla Model X P100D 'Ludicrous'

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 2.8 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 11.33 Seconds
2017 Tesla Model X P100D 'Ludicrous'.

The 2017 Tesla Model X P100D with Ludicrous mode is a high-performance electric SUV known for its incredible acceleration and cutting-edge technology. The Model X P100D is powered by a dual electric motor all-wheel-drive system. It features a 100 kWh battery pack, one of the largest and most advanced battery packs available in 2017. 

The 'Ludicrous' mode is a feature that allows the vehicle to maximize power and acceleration for quick bursts of speed. It enables the Model X P100D to achieve astonishing acceleration, vrooming from rest to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and finishing the quarter-mile run in 11.33 seconds while traveling at 116.84 mph. 

With such performance figures, the Model X quickly became one of the fastest SUVs in the world at the time. Thanks to its large battery pack, the Model X P100D offered an impressive electric range of approximately 289 miles on a single charge, which was among the highest available in electric vehicles then and now. 

Notably, the Model X came equipped with Tesla's Autopilot hardware with semi-autonomous driving capabilities. Over time, Tesla continued to develop and improve its Autopilot system through software updates. 

3. 2020 Tesla Model X Performance "Ludicrous+"

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 2.6 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 11 Seconds
2020 Tesla Model X Performance "Ludicrous+".

The 2020 Tesla Model X Performance is powered by a dual electric motor all-wheel-drive system similar to other Tesla Performance models. It features a high-capacity battery pack responsible for its strong acceleration and impressive electric range. 

The Model X Performance is capable of a breathtaking acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just around 2.6 seconds. This rapid acceleration is thanks to Tesla's "Ludicrous" mode, which temporarily unlocks the maximum power of the electric motors. 

As Tesla explained, “Ludicrous+ increases peak torque by approximately 60 percent (available on Performance All-Wheel Drive vehicles equipped with the “Ludicrous” upgrade) while also immediately heating the battery to its ideal operating temperature to ensure access to 100% of available power.” 

While selecting either the "Insane" or "Ludicrous" modes instantly unlocks additional power, the absolute peak of performance comes from the "Insane+" or "Ludicrous+" modes. 

As the battery undergoes the heating procedure, the touchscreen provides a status message, offering an estimated waiting time and indicating when the added power will be accessible. 

Beyond just heating the battery, both Insane+ and Ludicrous+ modes' designs maintain the battery within an ideal temperature range. Consequently, during spirited driving, you may observe the "Cooling" status for a few minutes until temperatures stabilize. 

Once you engage either Insane+ or Ludicrous+, the Model X remains in the selected mode for three hours, even if you exit the vehicle. After these three hours, the feature automatically disengages, returning the vehicle to its standard performance settings. 

The 2020 Model X Performance offered a competitive electric range, typically exceeding 300 miles on a single charge, depending on various factors like driving conditions and battery size. 

2. 2018 Hennessey Jeep Trackhawk HPE1000

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 2.5 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: 10.2 Seconds

The 2018 Hennessey Jeep Trackhawk HPE1000 is a highly customized, performance-enhanced version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. 

The "HPE1000" in the name signifies that the original 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine is significantly tuned and upgraded to produce a staggering 1,000 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful SUVs in existence. 

The extensive engine enhancements propel the Hennessey Jeep Trackhawk HPE1000 from rest to 60 mph in a reportedly insane 2.5 seconds and a remarkable quarter-mile time of a little over 10 seconds. 

When Top Gear took the SUV to the track to see for themselves what the Trackhawk HPE1000 could really do in the real world, the SUV ended up exceeding the publicized performance numbers by vrooming from 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds. 

They say John Hennessey of Hennessey Performance looked at the Jeep Trackhawk and thought, “That’s nice. Shame it doesn’t have a bit more power.” Note that the Trackhawk already made impressible figures in stock form, reaching 60 mph in a speedy 3.5 seconds. 

But Hennessey thought it should “have a bit more power." The engine upgrade included pistons, rods, ported cylinder heads, camshaft, long tube stainless steel headers, and a bigger 4.5-litre supercharger. 

1. 2018 Faraday Future FF91

  • 0–60 Acceleration: 2.4 Seconds
  • Quarter-Mile Time: Unavailable
2024 Faraday Future FF91.

The 2018 Faraday Future FF91 was a highly anticipated electric SUV from the American EV startup Faraday Future. Introduced in 2018, the FF91 has finally entered production in 2023. 

The FF91 is an all-electric uber-luxury SUV featuring a robust electric powertrain with a claimed output of over 1,000 horsepower. According to the automaker, the FF91 is capable of an impressive electric range of over 380 miles on a single charge. This range is possible thanks to a large battery pack and advanced energy management systems. 

With enough oomph to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 2.4 seconds, this SUV is effectively in the same league as high-performance sports cars. The FF91 has its sleek headlights set on the premium electric vehicle market, challenging established automakers like Tesla. 

Despite Faraday Future’s financial challenges, delays in bringing FF91 to the market, and the uncertainty over the company's ability to mass-produce the hi-tech SUV, the bleeding-edge technology this SUV has to offer is well worth the wait and the over $300,000 price tag.

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