10 Best New Luxury SUVs Under $100K
Luxury vehicles are fun to explore and often dazzling in their presentation. They are the frontier in which automakers are pushing the most impressive innovations, and ultimately it is in this class that the first truly driverless cars will emerge.
As fun as they can be, many luxury cars suffer from a distinct lack of space. If you really want to get into the most features and best improvements on car comfort, you need to look at SUVs. Luxury SUVs are still a relatively new concept to the automotive world, and make huge strides every year.
While 2016 saw some truly impressive vehicles emerge, every boundary has been pushed even further in 2017. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 10 best luxury SUVs on the market this year, and we’ll explore exactly what makes each unique and valuable in its own right.
10. Lincoln Navigator
Starting around $60,000, Lincoln starts off the list. The Navigator is a mainstay in luxury SUV’s and the most modern iteration is full of goodies. Starting under the hood, you can enjoy a 3.5L twin turbo engine. It has plenty of power and zip, and while it isn’t at the top of the leader board for gas mileage, you can still expect better than 20 MPG on the highway. All of it rides on a patented suspension that minimizes the risk of rollover and provides an extremely comfortable drive.
The features of the Navigator are really what makes it a top choice. The command center is completely voice controlled, and it works well with smartphones. Driving assistant tools like rain-sensing windshield wipers integrated navigation make the experience easier, and luxury hits all of the main expectations with power everything (including running boards), a detailed leather interior, multi-point climate control and even parental controls. Basically, the Navigator hits every major point and sets a reasonably high bar for excellence. You can expect the rest of the vehicles on the list to do no less.
9. Lexus RX 350
The Lexus RX family is impressive, but the recently redesigned 350 champions the series as the most value per dollar of the group. The cheapest of the Lexus crossovers, the RX 350 starts at a reasonable $43,000 for a new model. Marketed under “aggressive luxury,” the 350 has more than you can likely imagine. Just some of the top features include dual rear-seat entertainment systems, a 12.3-inch heads-up display and media center and touch-free controls that include starting the car and opening the rear door.
As much as is packed in the 350, it’s real draw is the way it drives. Lexus has completely blurred the lines between SUV and sports car with this one, and once you sit behind the wheel, you’ll never go back. A 3.5L V6 powers the lighter car, and it responds with surprising punch. The improved suspension makes cornering and handling far smoother than any traditional SUV, and anyone who loves the thrill of driving will not be disappointed. Of course, it is all backed by comprehensive safety features that practically drive the vehicle for you, and the service experience is among the best that can be found anywhere.
8. Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar’s hit on the list, the F-Pace, starts at a competitive $41,990. The first thing to note about this bad boy is the innovative architecture. An aluminum alloy permeates the design, creating a stronger and supported body with reduced weight. This improves efficiency, especially when combined with the hybrid or diesel engine options. Despite the emphasis on fuel range, the F-Pace still drives like a Jaguar, responding dynamically to every input and virtually defying physics with such a smooth ride on such a light frame.
As might be expected of Jaguar, the interior focuses on a sport-themed luxury. While it still makes use of a central touch-operated screen, it takes a sporty turn with a windshield-based heads-up display that puts important information right on the glass. This is no more obvious than in how they redesigned the key for the car. The Activity Key is a sport band that functions as a remote and key for the vehicle, providing access to the car in a form that is virtually impossible to misplace, even while enjoying sports or other extreme activities. Even though it isn’t enough to push the F-Pace higher on the list, this is easily one of the coolest innovations to come to a motor vehicle in some time.
7. Porsche Cayenne Hybrid
The next entry is another hybrid. Things get a little pricier with the Cayenne Hybrid, starting at $78,700, but that tag comes with some amazing perks. Let’s talk about performance first. This is a crossover SUV that goes 0-60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. That’s not exactly a world record, but when it comes to SUV hybrids, that’s a difficult number to match. The 416 horsepower engine gives you unparalleled power with an EPA-Estimated 47 MPG. What’s more, Porsche knows they’ve hit a homerun, and they give you the option of an eight-speed manual transmission that really lets you push your Cayenne to the limit. While previous entries have had some impressive numbers with qualifications, this is an SUV that performs with the best. Period.
Of course, there’s more to a vehicle than the engine, and the Cayenne shows deep understanding of this. It has far more storage than other SUVs this size, and that’s only the beginning. Rear-seat entertainment is available with high-end surround sound, and the full range of driving assistance is as good as it gets. The fact that six vehicles rate higher just shows how competitive the industry has become.
6. Volvo XC90
Wait a minute. Volvo beat Porsche?! We were surprised by this too, but the first step in that victory comes in the form of value. The XC90 starts at $45,750, which is very competitive against some of the higher price tags on the list. Another big point is that (perhaps unsurprisingly) the Volvo XC90 scored the highest safety ratings of any of the vehicles we compared. That rating is a culmination of automated features, sturdy design and an extensive commitment to crash testing. Having a frame made of the strongest steel in the world is just the beginning for Volvo.
Under the hood, the XC90 is par for this list. The 250 horsepower, turbocharged engine has good zip and response, but it isn’t the champion. Aside from safety, Volvo pulled ahead by taking customization and control farther than the others. All of the voice-activated and remote systems on the other SUVs are available in a smartphone app for the XC90, making it way more convenient. You can also personalize extremely detailed driver profiles that manage seat settings, mirror adjustments, display settings and even driving habits.
5. Cadillac Escalade
How do you up the ante from here? You return to a classic. Cadillac has all but written the book on luxury, and the latest iteration of the Escalade is up to standard. Starting at $73,395, this is a vehicle for people who want it all. First, it’s worth noting that whether you are driving, a passenger, or filling the vehicle with cargo, your comfort will be unsurpassed. The Escalade is extremely efficient with its use of space, and the highly adaptable configuration makes it the best SUV on this list for hauling large loads of passengers and/or things.
The other reason the Escalade rates so highly is because Cadillac takes simple points of luxury and pushes them to extremes. Instead of surround sound, they use a 16-point system. Instead of an instrument cluster, you get a 12.3-inch customizable screen that integrates with the heads-up display. Instead of a nice backup camera you get a full bird’s-eye view of your own vehicle. Really, this is a full-sized SUV that has it all, and they somehow they packed even more into it, and you’d be hard-pressed to find more luxury in this price range.
4. Audi Q7
The Q7 starts at $49,000. That doesn’t seem impressive until you see just how technologically advanced the vehicle really is. While we’ve all come to expect braking assistance and maybe even automated parking, the Q7 expands these concepts. It handles traffic jams for you, allowing you to relax in what is otherwise the most stressful part of everyday life. It also automatically detects and displays traffic sign information and live road updates. This, of course, is in addition to the assistance packages that are available on the competition.
Besides innovative technology, Audi somehow manages to put an even higher level of luxury per dollar into their vehicle. The maxed out version of the Q7 is only $65,000, and it includes a 19-point surround sound system, virtual cockpit, top view camera and advanced keyless control system. If none of that was enough, they have pushed the accessory game to new heights. Once you fall in love with your Audi, you can get custom gear that ranges from additional entertainment to carrier bags.
3. Land Rover Range Rover
The Range Rover has topped many luxury lists over the years. The 2017 model starts at $85,650 — pushing the price limit for this list — and it still competes a value choice. In fact, Kelly Bluebook ranked the 2016 model as the best value choice on the market. For the price and competitiveness, you can assume that at least a proprietary version of every feature you’ve read so far is included. Let’s talk about how the Range Rover pushes things even further.
Technology add-ons start with Automatic Access Height. This literally changes the height of the vehicle to match curbs and other exit conditions. That same technology is applied on the road for an adaptive response that uses more than 500 adjustments per second to make the smoothest ride possible, even on rough roads. These same principles are also applied to off-road conditions, making it extremely difficult for the Range Rover to get stuck in mud or struggle with rugged terrain. This makes it an impressive off-roading vehicle, despite its luxury status. All of that pales in comparison to the full range of customization available to even the base model Range Rover.
2. Mercedes-Benz GLE
It takes an impressive vehicle to defeat the Range Rover. The GLE SUV is that vehicle. The first thing to note is that the GLE is the top-ranked vehicle in collision prevention. That means Mercedes-Benz is doing automated safety better than anyone else. The GLE is also impressive, because you can choose gasoline, diesel or a plug-in hybrid, and none of them start above $66,300.
In reality, the GLE doesn’t fully outclass the Land Rover in any area. The GLE gets 1 MPG better fuel rating, has a more adjustable headrest and escalates control features with an app that works on smartphones and computers. It’s the fact that it does all of it for $20,000 less than the Land Rover that makes it an unquestionably better choice. It also offers a better range of engines, letting you more appropriately pick your preference among range, efficiency and power.
1. BMW X5
Car enthusiasts almost never agree on which vehicle is the absolute best. The X5, however, easily tops more luxury SUV lists than any other choice. The X5 is such a successful innovation on SUVs that it has sparked talk of an entirely new class of vehicle: the Sports Activity Coupe. Like some of the earlier entries, the X5 combines the best benefits of a sports car and SUV, but it does it better.
First, the X5 starts at $55,500. For an SUV that comfortably seats five (or more with an optional 3rd row of seats), this is an impressive price tag. Second, the X5 blows away all competition under the hood. The hybrid engine uses a V8 3.0L twin turbo engine that delivers 445 horsepower and still gets 56 MPG. In a field of vehicles that are all a delight to drive, this one is the champion.
Then again, we’re talking about luxury, and the X5 couldn’t be number one if it slacked on any aspect of comfort or convenience. This is apparent in customization features that let you have more interior design options than the competition. While it matches entertainment features like dual-rear interactive systems and an adaptable cargo layout, the X5 pushes the envelope with more climate control regions, faster wireless charging and expanded Wi-Fi hotspot range. All in all, this is the SUV with the best performance, widest range of options and best price tag.