First off, we’re gonna defend our choice of putting a Hyundai in the “luxury” category. Not only is the Nexo at the price point of a luxury SUV, it also has something a little different common compact SUVs lack. The Nexo is the only hydrogen fuel-cell SUV sold in the United States, but it can be tough to find stations unless you live in California.
As for other aspects of the SUV, it has an impressive cruising range that’s much better than electric vehicles. You can expect to get around 380 miles, depending on your driving habits. It also has a pretty spacious interior. Unfortunately, the Nexo is made well, but it’s also expensive, and fuel can be challenging to find. That means we had to put it at the bottom. The starting MSRP of the Nexo is $59,435.
Our first thought with the Porsche Macan is that it’s small – like, really, really small. That being said, that’s precisely what you want when you want something speedy and responsive on the road, right? If the base 248-horsepower engine isn’t enough, you can always upgrade to the 348-hp turbocharged V6. Of course, it’s stylish on the inside.
Still, it’s small on the inside too. The backseat is more of extra cargo space than passenger space. Most people will feel cramped, so it’s tough to call this an SUV. Why get an SUV at this point? Everyone ranks it highly, but we just don’t see the point. It does have some cargo space, but it’s pretty small. If you want a little extra cargo than a sedan, but don’t want to go full into SUV territory, then sure. The starting MSRP is $54,900.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Discovery Sport is Land Rover’s attempt to break into the compact SUV market. Is it great? Well, it’s certainly not the best out there, but it has some things other luxury SUVs lack. First, it has outstanding off-road capabilities, something that’s rare for luxury SUVs. Off-road is something Land Rover does well. The inside is also comfortable and has great cargo space.
There are some places where it doesn’t meet expectations. The powertrain is fine at best, and it lacks in the handling department. At the end of the day, it just isn’t as agile and smooth as competitors. The fuel economy is also pretty terrible at 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros for this SUV. The Discovery Sport has a starting MSRP of $43,300.
BMWs are known for their powerful engine performance and responsive handling, and the X4 follows the same pattern. There are plenty of engine options, including one that goes all the way up to 503 horsepower, but those naturally have a higher price tag. For some, however, it’s certainly worth it to feel that power at the wheel.
For those that don’t want something race-ready, the BMW X4 is still really enjoyable to drive. The interior is handsome, but we do have to admit the headroom in the back is…snug, to say the least. Passengers in the back will bang their head more than once. The cargo space is also lacking. The starting MSRP for the X4 is $53,400, so that’s also something to consider.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
One thing we can say about the Alfa Romeo Stelvio: it’s unmistakably Italian even from a distance. For that reason, we’re going to say that it’s smaller than others on the list and provides a tight cargo area. Plus, you’ll have to pay more for that extra luxurious feel, as the basic trim lacks this. We’re going on about the bad, but the Stelvio does stand out in some areas.
One word: power. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is super powerful with a gutsy turbocharged engine. Couple that with lively handling, and you have something that’s more than fun to drive. Honestly, it’ll be hard to get out of it once you first start driving. It’s a compact SUV, but it doesn’t feel like it behind the wheel. The starting MSRP is $46,200.
The Buick Envision would be a great compact SUV if it weren’t a luxury vehicle. It has good engine options, so those that want a little extra oomph can get the power they want. It also has a great infotainment system and includes tons of standard features like a hands-free power liftgate, heated seating, and more.
That’s great and all, but some think it’s not really worth the price. The starting MSRP is $33,400. On top of that, the base engine can feel dull and sluggish. We also want to bring up the fact that it has less space than cheaper competitors. It’s not bad, but it’s possible to get more for the money.
If you want cargo space, look no further. The Infiniti QX50 will scratch that itch while others on the list leave you wanting. If that doesn’t do anything for you, the QX50 has a super unique engine that’s one-of-a-kind. It uses variable compression, which helps solve problems like excessive heat and pressure. The engine effortlessly swaps between high compression during cruising and low compression during hard acceleration.
You’d think this engine would jack up the price, but nope! It’s as low as $40,300 starting MSRP. Now, there is a downside to think about. The engine can be pretty noisy, which is going to take some getting used to. Also, some also say that the new engine could cause issues down the line for repairs, so we can’t attest to the reliability of this new compact SUV.
We’ll start by saying the Acura RDX is one of the cheaper choices on this list, but it’s pretty obvious on the inside. The interior doesn’t feel like an upscale model, but it doesn’t feel quite as cheap as something you might get from less-expensive brands. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t feel as responsive as we want, thanks to the clumsy transmission shifts and bad brake-pedal feel.
It isn’t all bad! The RDX is strong in some categories. The value is certainly there, and with a starting MSRP of $40,600, you can’t go wrong. Overall, it feels a lot better than its predecessor, even with the cons we listed earlier. Thanks to all the features and sharp steering, it’s easy to look past the clumsiness, but it’s something to still keep in mind if that kind of thing is important to you.
Lexus doesn’t carry the same price as other luxury brands, so there will be some sacrifices. That being said, it isn’t bad for the price. The best thing about the NX is its space. There’s tons of room in the cabin with super-comfortable seating. On top of that, there’s plenty of cargo space to carry whatever you need.
Speed is something else. It has enough power for the casual driver, but it can seem slow during acceleration. That’s the biggest sacrifice. The interior and exterior are alright, but the style looks a little older, so maybe it’s time for a redesign as far as that’s concerned. Basically, it isn’t bad for the casual driver who needs tons of room for cargo and passengers. The starting MSRP is $38,350.
The BMW X3 has a lot going for it. The handling is more than reliable, and the powertrain goes above and beyond. Needless to say, it has great acceleration thanks to these perks, but we were surprised to see the fuel economy. It gets 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
Another huge surprise for us – no Android Auto. What’s up with that? Another concern: it also has smaller mirrors. Safety may not be important for some, but visibility is pretty essential when you’re whipping around curves. That’s a big reason why it ranked lower than others on the list. This BMW feels a lot more like a sports sedan with a little extra cargo. The starting MSRP is $45,400.
The Lincoln Corsair is new to the lineup, replacing the MKC, and it’s clear that Lincoln came out swinging. The Corsair has a beautiful, shapely design and is confident when driving on the road. It feels butter-smooth even when driving over rougher roads. Then, the interior feels ultra-refined with plenty of tech options.
The Corsair does have a few things we want to mention that may deter buyers. There are a few driving modes, but they don’t feel much different (other than Excite, which feels a little sharper). Also, the few engine options don’t add enough customization, especially since they’re basically a wash in performance. The starting MSRP for the Corsair is $38,690.
The Jaguar F-PACE really shines where others fall short. Specifically, we want to bring up the cargo room. It has much more than others on the list, which is partially thanks to the 40/20/20 split-folding rear seats to a flat position. By doing this, you can carry 22 suitcases – we’re not even kidding. That doesn’t mean the F-PACE isn’t enjoyable to drive, however.
Jaguar spared no expense as they added a speedy V-6 engine and focused on sharp driving responses. However, we do want to mention that the big wheels do hurt drive quality. Things can feel a little bumpy on roads with more texture. Still, the F-PACE is a great choice. It has a starting MSRP of $52,400.
The Volvo XC60 is pretty great. We won’t beat around the bush there. The interior is incredibly comfortable, and it feels luxurious. Naturally, it comes with tons of standard driver assistance features like many top-tier brands do. The Volvo also has an exceptionally smooth ride, but it does lag behind competitors in a few ways.
The most obvious stand-out con is that the Volvo XC60 just isn’t as fun to drive as some others on the list. The engines available get the job done, but that’s honestly all we can say. The Volvo seems more like a family SUV, and for those that need something with a butter-smooth drive. The starting MSRP is $43,450.
Electric vehicles are becoming more and more common, so Jag wanted to get in on that action. The I-PACE could set the bar. Unlike some electric autos on the market, the I-PACE offers an engaging and speedy driver experience, busting the idea that electric means sluggish. It also has a unique design that stands out.
The range of the I-Pace is currently 292, with up to an 80% charge in 45 minutes. While this is better than competitors, some critics claim that this is a little optimistic. Car and Driver specifically stated that it was hard for them to achieve that range, and regular charging was still on the slow slide. It’s also the most expensive on this list, with a starting MSRP of $71,300.
The Audi Q5 is one of the best on the list, and we’ll explain why. The high-tech options make it ideal for the techie fan who wants a little more from their SUV. It’s also got a lot of get-up-and-go thanks to the peppy powertrain. The inside of the Audi Q5 feels suave and respectable without going too far. Overall, there’s a lot of good stuff about this one.
Granted, it isn’t perfect. The Audi Q5 has less cargo space than some will want, but that doesn’t diminish from all the plus sides. What we liked most about the Q5 is the fact that the ride is smooth, even over pockmarked asphalt. The starting MSRP for the Audi Q5 is $43,500.
The GLC-Class is a great compact SUV. The engines are really responsive and have serious get-up-and-go. That isn’t to say it’s tough for new drivers. The handling is smooth and responsive so that anyone can drive it. The interior also feels incredibly posh – definitely on-brand.
Overall, this luxury, compact SUV is a great buy for those who can afford it. The new 2023 models have more standard features available, too, so upgrading is also an option. The only thing to keep in mind is that you won’t get great fuel economy with a powerful engine. Estimates have it at 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The starting MSRP is $54,700.