If you want a luxury SUV, make the right choice with our best picks.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
You've finally made it. It's time to dive headfirst into comfort and buy a luxury SUV. But which one, exactly? The market is rife with soft-riding sport utility vehicles, so we've compiled this list of our favorites to help guide you on your journey to finding the flashy crossover that's right for you.
Whether you want to keep it affordable-ish or really flex that wallet, there's a luxury SUV out there for you. We've broken down our favorites into a number of categories, so if you want to prioritize performance or efficiency, there's a little something for everyone on this list.
No name is as synonymous with luxury SUVs as Range Rover. Land Rover's fancy-pants flagship has always been one of the best high-end SUVs money can buy, but a new generation for the 2023 model year really ramps things up, taking comfort to the next level.
The 2023 Range Rover's design emphasizes clean, modern lines inside and out, with a fair bit of decluttering inside from generation to generation. It rides like a pillow atop a cloud. You can opt for a Meridian Signature sound system with 35 speakers. Rear-axle steering gives it the same turning circle as a VW Golf. And soon, you'll be able to get a plug-in hybrid variant with some impressive electric range estimates.
The 2022 Lincoln Navigator picked up some slight revisions and one major tech upgrade, giving us even more reasons to love this large three-row luxury SUV.
The Navigator is one of the smoothest large SUVs out there, despite it truck-frame underpinnings. Its Black Label trim really leans on unique luxury, with laser-etched wood trim and true metal throughout the cabin. Tech lovers will find something cool in here, too; ActiveGlide is Lincoln's version of Ford's BlueCruise hands-free driving tech, offering a unique way to relieve some of the stress of long road trips.
In a very short time, Korean manufacturer Genesis has rolled out some seriously impressive luxury cars. The compact GV70 is one such vehicle; it's been a stalwart on CNET's best-of lists for a while now, and for a very good reason.
The GV70 exudes style inside and out, whether it's that slick split-headlamp front end or the two-tone leather interior. It's bright, it's airy and it's not afraid to ditch the traditional conservative getup so many German SUVs still embrace. Its complement of tech is among the best in the industry, and yes, the GV70 is also a hoot and a half to drive. It's the whole package, and Germany should take notice.
Oh, look, Genesis is back. The GV80 is also a constant star in our best-of lists, because it's one of the best midsize luxury SUVs in the US.
In fact, we've waxed poetic about the GV80 so often that we're running out of ways to describe it. It takes the slicker silhouette of the GV70 and adds some rectilinearity, giving it a slightly more macho appearance. But make no mistake, the interior remains mighty sumptuous and filled with quality cabin tech. Throw the 3.3-liter V6 under the hood, and this SUV will scoot, too.
In the car world, it's not very hard to have your cake and eat it, too. Of all the largest luxury SUVs on the market, none exemplifies that as well as the Alpina XB7.
Alpina is BMW's resident zhusher-upper. Starting with the BMW X7 as a platform, Alpina massages the three-row SUV until it's even more luxurious and even more powerful. Its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 612 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, yet it still rides better than most vehicles, even with some honkin' wheels and thin tires. Slap it into Sport mode, and the XB7 will do a better impression of a sports car than some actual sports cars. It's a hard act to top, truly.
Porsche has long had a lock on the performance luxury SUV market, producing some properly prodigious models. But none is quite as wild as the Cayenne Turbo GT.
The Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is the first SUV to carry Porsche's vaunted GT badge, which is reserved for its highest-performance vehicles. There's a twin-turbo V8 underhood making 631 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque, enough to shove this large SUV to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. But the Turbo GT is no drag-strip dandy; it has the suspension chops to carve canyon backroads with anything else wearing that GT badge on the back. You'd have a hard time finding this kind of performance envelope in most other manufacturers' non-SUV lineups.
Toyota and Lexus have a long, strong history with hybrid-electric powertrains. Throw a radically revised SUV into the mix, and you have the 2022 Lexus NX, which rocks.
The 2022 NX brings some cleaner looks outside, but what matters most is tucked away in the cabin. It's the first Lexus to utilize Lexus Interface, an in-house redesign of Lexus' formerly terrible infotainment system. The NX is also loaded with every bit of safety tech its parent company has to offer. The NX 350h gas-electric hybrid makes 239 hp, nothing to shake a stick at, and it's quite the smooth operator.
Plug-in hybrids allow people to drive small distances on electric power alone, with a gas engine operating as a backup when the juice runs out. But with the BMW X5 xDrive45e, even medium-length commutes may fall within this SUV's prodigious electric-only range.
The X5 xDrive45e uses a 24-kilowatt-hour battery, granting this SUV an electric-only range of 30 miles. Longer-range luxury PHEVs are in the works, but they're not out quite yet, so the BMW retains its crown. Thankfully, there's more to like about this car, as well, like its net output of 389 hp and 443 lb-ft, as well as the fact that it drives really nicely.
Even a year ago, we probably wouldn't have known what to put down as the best electric luxury SUV on the market. But since then, Genesis has created one of the best small luxury SUVs in existence, and it just so happens to be an all-electric affair.
The 2023 Genesis GV60 is marvelous. Riding on the same platform that underpins the also-excellent Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, this compact EV is loaded with luxurious trimmings, whether it's the intricate knurling on the switchgear or the fact that the shift dial turns into an orb (for pondering) when the vehicle is turned off. It's no technological slouch, either, with available biometrics that allows you to start and drive the vehicle with nothing more than your face and fingerprint.
Jeep's most luxurious model to wear the badge just so happens to be one of the most capable when it comes to hauling around a bunch of stuff.
The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer -- which is still large, just not as large as the Grand Wagoneer -- has a max tow capacity of 10,000 pounds. That bests competitors like the Lincoln Navigator by over 1,000 pounds. Heck, the Grand Wagoneer can also tow a whole bunch, but at 9,850 pounds, it's a hair below its slightly smaller sibling.
You may only ever see a Mercedes-Benz G-Class parked outside of a high-end mall, but rest assured, if owners had to hit the dirt in a hurry, they'd be glad they bought the G-Class.
The G-Class's boxy aesthetic harkens back to the vehicle's military roots, where ruggedness wasn't just a perk, it was a requirement. These days, the G-Class is a little softer around the edges, but with locking differentials aplenty, ample approach and departure angles, potent four-wheel drive and more, the G-Class is ready to handle just about anything. And it'll coddle you in soft leather the whole way there.
Jeep went all-out when creating the full-size Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, after letting competitors like Ford and GM run rampant through the segment for years without a fight. But now that the three-row Grand Wagoneer is here, it's already making a mark, and a good one, at that.
No matter how you measure luxury, the Grand Wagoneer stacks up with the best of 'em. There is tech aplenty inside, whether it's the multiple high-resolution displays on the dashboard or the 1,375-watt, 23-speaker McIntosh sound system. The interior is thoughtfully designed and relies on some very nice materials. It's also quite the smooth operator on the road. If you need to move three rows' worth of whatever -- people, animals, cargo, you name it -- there aren't too many cushier ways to do it. Oh yeah, and it'll tow nearly 10,000 pounds.
After taking an early spin in Cadillac's first battery-electric SUV, I have to say that tech aficionados will be all over this thing like white on rice.
The Cadillac Lyriq is a technological tour de force. Its massive single-piece screen covers most of the dashboard and features Google integration, Unreal Engine graphics and some of the best menu layouts we've seen in a car to date. It also packs Super Cruise, the best hands-free highway driving assistant on the market, sailing effortlessly over pre-mapped stretches of highway. It's also extremely compliant on the road, really hammering home that luxury-car vibe. It's the best non-performance car Cadillac has built in decades, and it should stay at the cutting edge of in-car tech for some time.
For this category, we turned to the safety wizards at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which puts cars through a battery of crash tests that go above and beyond what the federal government uses in its five-star ratings system. Of all the luxury SUVs to earn the IIHS' Top Safety Pick Plus award, the nonprofit's highest honor, the 2022 Acura RDX is at the top.
Now, a number of luxury SUVs have earned Top Safety Pick Plus and achieved the best scores in all the Institute's major categories, so we have to dig a little deeper into the scoring. The RDX performed the best out of any luxury SUV in every sub-category rating, with a score of Good in every single place it was measured. Competitors may have had similar overall scores, but a couple Adequate ratings in areas like leg protection put them behind the Acura.
Exotic-car manufacturers are largely still hard at work on their forthcoming SUVs, but a couple have snuck through early. And, of that group, the Aston Martin DBX is the least heretical and the most fun.
A Mercedes-AMG-sourced twin-turbo V8 provides motive force to the DBX, but the vehicle hardly feels like Aston copied Germany's homework across the board. The DBX is a hoot and a half to drive, but when it's time to sit back and luxuriate, it'll do that pretty well, too. The interior is befitting for Aston Martin -- except the infotainment, but you'll be too busy having fun in the switchbacks to notice how old that tech is.
Try as it can, the Bentley Bentayga just can't hold a candle to the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. It is, without a doubt, the finest SUV that humanity builds.
Whether you opt for a standard spec or the more driver-oriented Black Badge version, the Cullinan is a delight. It's loaded with features, it has a V12 under the hood and its styling is chic without going over the top -- unless you choose some truly weird colors while designing it. The Cullinan is great to drive, but it's even better to be driven in, when you can sit back and relax and really take in all that luxury.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS is an extremely good electric luxury sedan -- in fact, it's the best one available right now. So, it stands to reason that adapting that goodness into an SUV body will generate an equally excellent creation.
We'll be taking our first spin in the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV later this year, but we're already excited, and we're optimistic that it'll capture the same charm as the EQS hatchback. The interior carries all the same tech, including the dashboard spanning Hyperscreen. Its 107.8-kilowatt-hour battery should provide hundreds of miles of emissions-free cruising, and it'll be available in two different flavors to start, with the more potent version producing an impressive 536 hp and 633 lb-ft. We're stoked.
By driving them, of course! Every year, CNET's editors spend countless hours behind the wheel of as many vehicles as we can get our hands on. This gives us the experience we need to help you find the luxury SUV that best fits your individual needs.
Of course, everybody is different, so don't take this list as immutable canon. Instead, treat it as a guide to help hone your decision making. A car is only good if you think it's good, so don't forget to test drive as many as you can to truly get a feel for what will best fit into your life.
For CNET, the top luxury SUVs are the 2023 Land Rover Range Rover and the 2022 Lincoln Navigator. But, every outlet -- whether it's us, J.D. Power or anyone else -- uses different metrics for ranking vehicles. Scores should never be taken as absolutes, but rather as guides that help you discover exactly what works best for your specific situation.
What is the most luxurious SUV for the money?
Right now, Genesis is producing some of the most interesting luxury cars on the market, at prices that can come in thousands below equivalent German luxury SUVs. No telling how long that price delta will continue to exist, but as long as it does, it's hard to maximize bang-for-your-buck beyond how Genesis does it.
What is the sportiest luxury SUV?
There's a reason Porsche is synonymous with sports cars, and that pairing hasn't changed as the market has moved toward SUVs. Whether it's the smaller Macan or the larger Cayenne, there are a wide variety of performance-forward variants that are absolute blasts to drive, yet they don't come off as punishing in daily use. You'll have to pay to play, of course, but you won't regret it if you do.
Which luxury compact SUV is most reliable?
Reliability is a tricky metric to nail down. Everyone will have different experiences, and the majority of press loans that CNET Cars receives are only for a week, which makes it difficult to track reliability over longer stretches of time. Looking at J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability Study, which ranks vehicles after three years of ownership, the group lists Genesis, Lexus and Porsche as the top three most reliable premium vehicle brands. However, while the study is comprehensive, it does not break it down by individual model, so a model-level answer is harder to pin down.