The Best and Worst Compact Luxury SUVs of 2023 main image
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The Best and Worst Compact Luxury SUVs of 2023

16. 2023 Cadillac XT5

16. 2023 Cadillac XT5

The 2023 Cadillac XT5 offers virtually no changes from the previous year and that is definitely a bad thing to be clear.  It has a low base price, but things rise quickly once you leave the entry-level option. As is a common theme in many SUVs, the larger they get, the more the handling and driver feedback suffer. That rings true with the XT5, though its interior cabin is poshly designed and airy.

The XT5 has a decent fuel economy but that doesn't save it from its ultimately mediocre performance. The quality of the ride is lacking, feeling rough at every turn. Its base engine is a 235-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It gets 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Standard features are somewhat lacking for a vehicle in its class as you can find many of them in a much more affordable SUV. 

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15. 2023 Land Rover Discovery Sport

15. 2023 Land Rover Discovery Sport

The 2023 Land Rover Discovery Sport's boxy dimensions allow it to be airy and roomy inside the cabin. Thus, it offers plenty of cargo space. And being a Land Rover, it is more than comfortable heading off-road. What dragged it down to the bottom of our list, however, was the poor reliability ratings and fuel economy.

This compact SUV will cost you more in the long run with its 19 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway fuel economy. Drive handling could also be improved, as well as the weak powertrain. On the bright side, it does offer an updated list of standard features including a new 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

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14. 2023 Lexus NX

14. 2023 Lexus NX

We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Lexus infotainment systems are finicky and unintuitive. That being said, the NX has one of our more preferred interior layouts of any Lexus vehicle we've driven. This year, the Lexus NX has been fully redesigned but it carries some of the same problems from the previous year. 

For one, its passenger room and cargo area are a little tight compared to other rivals. Its base engine is on the weak side - a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a mere 203 horsepower.  One positive, however, is the gas mileage. With any engine option, you'll get an impressive fuel economy. The base engine gets 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. On top of this, it offers a wide variety of standard features including a 10-speaker audio system, a 9.8-inch touchscreen and automatic climate control.

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13. 2023 Jaguar F-Pace

13. 2023 Jaguar F-Pace

In the middle of the pack is the Jaguar F-Pace. It has strong engines with taut, responsive handling. The base engine is a 246-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder but you'll have plenty of other engine options too such as two different V6 engines. There's even a supercharged V8 engine option that generates a whopping 542 horsepower. Don't expect good fuel economy ratings on that V8 though.

When it comes to luxury,  the interior materials don't quite match up to more upscale competitors.  This is the compact luxury class after all. We also found the infotainment system to be a bit buggy. At 11.4 inches, the touchscreen is bigger than many of its competitors but that doesn't make it better. Its 12-speaker audio system is not even a premium stereo and navigation is not standard.

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12. 2023 Infiniti QX50

12. 2023 Infiniti QX50

Infiniti's QX50 has lots of cargo space and a spacious, open cabin. The seats are supportive and comfortable. Unfortunately, the driving experience is just ho-hum. Handling is middle-of-the-road, and engines don't inspire you to press the metal to the floor. But for some people, that's all they want. Something that gets them reliably from point A to point B in comfort. We found the infotainment setup to be a little strange, as well.

It does offer at a low base price of around $41K, but does that save it from being a pain to drive? Not really. It also comes with standard Apple CarPlay and ProPilot assist. features. You can also get heated rear seats, but those are only optional which means you have to pay more, of course.

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11. 2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

11. 2023 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

You can always count on Alfa Romeo to have some powerful engine options and sports-car-like handling. But when it comes to the Stelvio, the cabin quality is disappointing, especially at such high price points. This is a driver's machine, therefore, other passenger comforts received second thought. Rear seats are stiff and cargo space is below the average for the class.

if you don't care about comfort, worry not, because you won't get it here. The seats are spacious enough but are firm, which if you are talking about a mattress would be fine but we are talking about a car where comfort is really essential to prevent driver fatigue. The engine is stellar though, generating 280 horsepower with the base four-cylinder. An optional twin-turbo V6takes an even bigger leap with 505 horsepower. Another positive note is that you'll get more standard safety features with this year's model.

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10. 2023 Buick Envision

10. 2023 Buick Envision

The Buick Envision is roomy with comfortable seats. It also features Buick's trademark intuitive infotainment system. It's simplistic without being plain or lacking in tech options. The engine, on the other hand, will get you where you need to go but is by no means inspiring. Handling, also, is muddy with little feedback. 

The Envision may not be as expensive as some of its other competitors, but its interior finishing materials also aren't as nice as competitors either.  Cargo space is lacking as well, making the Envision somewhat pointless as an SUV. While you'll get many features for your money, you could get the same with a less expensive car. It seems the Envision really suffers from a lack of vision.

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9. 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class

9. 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class

First the bad. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class has a not-so-great voice recognition system. Sportiness isn't its forte, either. But this brand-new Mercedes model gets everything else right. It's surprisingly roomy for the compact size, thanks in part to its boxy proportions. It also has good fuel economy, a luxurious cabin, and solid driving dynamics.

The 2023 model is basically the same as the 2022 model, so if you have that one, you can expect more of the same with 2023. The cabin really doesn't save you from the experience of driving the GLB-Class. The bulky SUV features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates only 221 horsepower. An available engine pumps that number up to 302 horsepower but you have to pay extra. 

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8. 2023 Lincoln Corsair

8. 2023 Lincoln Corsair

The 2023 Lincoln Corsair takes over for the former MKC in 2020. (Lincoln is moving away from the lettered naming scheme.) The Corsair has an affordable base price; even some nice add-ons don't raise the price to astronomical numbers. It also floats down the road on a cushy suspension. 

As for the cons, cargo space is below some competitors, driver feedback is somewhat muddled, and it missed the mark on rear-seat room and comfort. After having tested the Corsair, we found the transmission to be rather clunky and found it rather lacking in terms of agility. Packages have been reshuffled this year but they all mark up the price exponentially.

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7. 2023 Acura RDX

7. 2023 Acura RDX

There is a distinct lack of engine upgrades on the Acura RDX, but a sure-footed driving experience makes up for it. The RDX offers driver feedback with a cushy ride and follows where you want it to go. There are plenty of tech options and packages to choose from at great price points. 

This is one of the better bangs for your buck among the compact luxury class. The Corsair offers a ton of features including an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, two USB ports and 10-speaker audio. Additionally, you'll get dual-zone climate control, synthetic leather upholstery and the Lincoln Co-Pilot360 suite of safety features.

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6. 2022 Audi Q5

6. 2022 Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 compact crossover is a sweet deal. The interior is well laid out and features an array of standard offerings and helpful tech. The comfortable driving dynamics are powered by dynamic and energetic engines. It honestly feels like a smaller vehicle than it is. The only drawback is that it's a little pricey when comparing it to others.

The 2023 Audi Q5 is somewhat lacking in terms of cargo space but it's not terrible by any means. It also has a higher base price than other vehicles in its class. Nevertheless, the Q5 boasts a larger battery capacity for its plug-in hybrid model, and a more intuitive infotainment system than ever before.

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5. 2023 BMW X4

5. 2023 BMW X4

The X4 is stylish to look at with its couple-like sloping roofline. But if you want a sports car, get a sports car. In an SUV, this styling drastically limits rearward visibility, and it makes the cabin feel cramped, especially in the rear. Obviously, this eats into cargo space as well. With excellent handling and powerful engines, the X4 is fun to drive. 

The cabin, however, seems a little low-key for the price point but that is rather typical for a BMW since most of what you pay for is the performance and the exterior.  The refreshed exterior and interior provides the X4 with s sportier crossover look but it's still pretty barren with the base trim. What has been upgraded is the infotainment interface which is more user-friendly than before.

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4. 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

4. 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

First with the bad. The infotainment system takes some getting used to, and the coupe models have small cargo capacity (which, honestly, is expected). But overall, the GLC-Class has a truly luxurious cabin environment. The driving experience is smooth and comfortable, and there are plenty of standard features along with an extensive list of add-ons.

New for the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class are automatic highbeams and rear USB ports. Other features among the GLC's array of standard features are  synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25 inch infotainment touchscreen. Standard driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, forward automatic emergency braking, and rear cross traffic alert.

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3. 2023 BMW X3

3. 2023 BMW X3

As with the mechanically identical X4, the interior seems like somewhat of an afterthought, which is surprising from BMW. They don't usually phone it in. But when it comes to driving dynamics, they are at the top of their game with the X3. It's agile and responsive while simultaneously feeling roomy and spacious on the inside. 

This is the standard-bearer of BMW SUVs (though they call them Sport Activity Vehicles or SAVs). The X3 has been refreshed on the inside and outside this year, much like the X4. Features have been shuffled around as well but you get a decent amount for your money, including a digital gauge cluster, 12-speaker audio, navigation and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Several driver assistance features come standard as part of BMW’s Active Driving Assistant suite.

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2. 2023 Volvo XC60

2. 2023 Volvo XC60

Being Volvo, safety is key. There are a plethora of standard safety and driver assistance features that come standard, even more so on the upper trims. The interior layout, particularly the infotainment dash, is minimalist and clean. Seats are comfortable and now feature synthetic leather for all you vegan and animal welfare buyers. (For those that aren't, it's claimed to be easier to maintain and clean). 

It's a solid driver, but not as peppy as some other options. The 247-horsepower engine is the base option but you can also opt for a supercharged four-cylinder engine that generates 295 horsepower. A plug-in hybrid model is also available that combines the supercharged engine with two electric motors, generating a total of 400 horsepower.

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1. 2023 Porsche Macan

1. 2023 Porsche Macan

The Porsche Macan may have smaller-than-average rear seats and cargo space, but when it's this fun to drive, you can afford to overlook some week points. Handling is dynamic and pinpoint-precise. Powerful engines will have you revving all around town, and the interior is the definition of premium. If you want that newer turbo V6, however, you're going to have to shell out for it.

The 2023 Porsche Macan twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 generates 434 horsepower. All-wheel drive is standard with this trim. And while you'll get some pretty outstanding performance, you'll be sacrificing fuel economy as the Macan gets 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Nevertheless, it's still our top pick for 2023!

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