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SUVs are a commanding force across the automotive landscape. This is especially true of luxury SUVs, which accounted for 57 percent of luxury-vehicle sales in 2017. Manufacturers continue to introduce new models to respond to demand, which has been stimulated by relatively low gas prices and SUVs' increasingly carlike fuel economy. An SUV also provides special benefits, including an elevated driving position, available all-wheel drive and a large, flexible cargo area. It's no wonder buyers are flocking to luxury SUVs despite the price premium they command over upscale sedans.

Luxury SUVs are distinct from their non-premium counterparts in several areas. Most vehicles in these categories boast upper-crust interior materials and build quality. The best examples offer pillow-soft suspensions that glide over even the most pockmarked streets. Powertrain options run the gamut from fuel-sipping plug-in hybrids to immensely powerful 12-cylinder engines, with all manner of automatic transmissions on offer. And of course, there's the prestige that comes with owning a vehicle that is a clear cut above an everyday SUV.

Best Luxury SUVs for 2018

Our list of top-rated luxury SUVs is the result of hundreds of hours of driving, testing and comprehensive evaluation. We take each vehicle to a private test track, where we measure acceleration, braking and handling performance. Next, we drive it on a 115-mile loop that tests how it performs on city streets, through twisty mountain curves, and in high- and low-speed freeway conditions. Finally, our editors take a turn at the wheel and come to a consensus on an overall rating for the vehicle, relative to its competitive set.

We know that the search for the perfect luxury SUV can seem daunting as nearly 50 are on sale today, ranging from pint-size crossovers to leather-lined, truck-based behemoths. That's why we've whittled down the list to the nine best luxury SUVs according to our test results. Without further ado, here is Edmunds' list of the best luxury SUVs available today.

Best Small Luxury SUVs

A small crossover is the most cost-effective way to break into the luxury SUV segment. Compared to standard SUVs, these high-class crossovers are more customizable, have nicer interiors, offer more features, and are adorned with an illustrious badge, all in exchange for a higher sticker price. We have divided this segment into two classes. The tiny footprint of subcompact crossovers means that they primarily appeal to city dwellers or those who don't often drive friends around town. Compacts are bigger and more accommodating for rear-seat passengers, and they also typically have more upscale interiors. The following SUVs are our top-rated crossovers in the small luxury segment for a variety of reasons — some offer a larger-than-average cabin, for example, while others deliver an unparalleled driving experience.

2018 BMW X1

Edmunds Rating

Even in the luxury class, the subcompact category is rife with vehicles built to a price, not a standard. The BMW X1 bucks that trend, boasting high-quality interior materials, dynamic handling, and a powerful yet fuel-efficient engine. Unlike many competitors, the X1 easily accommodates four adults, and its cargo room is class-leading. We also give the BMW high marks for its sharp handling and nicely weighted steering feel. A bumpy ride and firm seats prevent it from scoring higher, but the X1's numerous strengths give it the edge over any other subcompact luxury SUV. If you're looking for something a little different, the mechanically related X2 trades some of the X1's practical advantages for a more stylish exterior and a higher price tag. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $34,895
Fuel economy: 25-26 mpg combined

2018 BMW X1 Overview and Pricing

2018 Porsche Macan

Edmunds Rating

For some shoppers, practicality is the most important aspect of a compact crossover, even one in the luxury class. With its cozy back seat and small cargo hold, it's clear the Porsche Macan has a different target in mind. Sporty suspension tuning with available adaptive dampers helps make the Macan the best-handling vehicle in the class, even when riding on low-grip all-season tires. Engine choices range from a fuel-efficient — yet still fairly quick — four-cylinder to a thundering twin-turbo V6 with 440 horsepower on tap. And although the cabin isn't terribly roomy, it is trimmed in high-quality materials that will make owners of other luxury compacts jealous. We like this baby Porsche so much that when it was first introduced, we put money on the table and purchased a 2015 Porsche Macan S for our long-term test fleet. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $48,850
Fuel economy: 19-22 mpg combined

2018 Porsche Macan Overview and Pricing

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Edmunds Rating

While the Macan is the best example of a sporty compact luxury SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is the epitome of style and comfort. Mercedes' attention to detail is exemplified by the GLC's exquisitely crafted cabin, which looks like it was taken from a vehicle that costs twice as much. Adults can fit comfortably into both seating rows, and the large cargo area has no problem swallowing suitcases for weekend getaways. The GLC-Class isn't just about cosseting passengers; it can be quite fun to drive, too. This is especially true if you get one of the hot-rod AMG versions, which offer up to 469 horsepower. Or you could go the fuel-efficient route with the GLC 350e plug-in hybrid, which earns a respectable 25 mpg in combined driving. The GLC's downsides include a comparatively high price tag and a cumbersome tech interface, but they don't detract from its overall excellence. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $41,045
Fuel economy: 18-25 mpg combined

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Overview and Pricing

2018 Volvo XC60

Edmunds Rating

The Volvo XC60 has always been a competitive small crossover, but the previous model was on sale for so long that it eventually felt ancient against modern rivals. The fully redesigned 2018 XC60 flips the script, reestablishing this Scandinavian SUV as one of the finest vehicles in its class. The understated interior design is offset by a large central touchscreen and copious amounts of leather, soft-touch surfaces and open-pore wood. The XC60 also sports Volvo's famously comfortable front seats, which offer ventilation and heating along with a class-exclusive massaging function. The ride could be cushier and road and wind noise is noticeable, but these drawbacks shouldn't deter potential shoppers. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $42,495
Fuel economy: 23-26 mpg combined

2018 Volvo XC60 Overview and Pricing

Compare Small Luxury SUVs

Best Midsize Luxury SUVs

Naturally, midsize luxury crossover SUVs are more expensive than their subcompact and compact stablemates. But they aren't prohibitively pricier, and growing families who need extra passenger or cargo room will appreciate the added versatility. Materials and build quality tend to be superior as well, and you'll find high-end features — such as ventilated seats or a synthetic-suede headliner — that aren't available on smaller SUVs. Here are the three luxury midsize SUVs that best represent the strengths of the class.

2018 Audi Q7

Edmunds Rating

Those who want their midsize luxury SUV with all the latest tech toys and advanced safety equipment might begin and end their search with the Audi Q7. Parking sensors, a rearview camera, and forward collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection are all standard, not to mention Audi's legendary Quattro all-wheel drive. And features such as a blind-spot monitor and a 360-degree parking camera are available. On the infotainment front, the Audi Virtual Cockpit replaces the traditional gauges with a high-definition screen capable of displaying maps via Google Earth. Even if you don't order the Q7 loaded to the gills with electronics, we think you'll be impressed by the supercharged V6's quick acceleration and the Q7's superlative ride comfort. A tight cargo area and limited room for small items prevent the Q7 from earning a perfect score. It's also worth noting that the Q7's standard third row is cramped and best reserved for occasional use. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $50,875
Fuel economy: 21 mpg combined

2018 Audi Q7 Overview and Pricing

2018 Lexus RX

Edmunds Rating

There are many reasons why the Lexus RX is the best-selling luxury SUV of all time. Its reasonable starting price, premium interior, smooth ride and plush seats are just a few of its strengths. Although the standard V6 in the RX 350 is perfectly adequate, the RX 450h's hybrid powerplant is much more fuel-efficient and actually performs better, too. A new L variant stretches the wheelbase and includes a third row of seating, further adding to the RX's impressive value proposition. Although, that third row will only impress toddlers with its spaciousness. The RX's main weakness is the unintuitive infotainment display screen with its imprecise mouselike controller. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $44,495
Fuel economy: 21-30 mpg combined

2018 Lexus RX Overview and Pricing

2018 Volvo XC90

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Edmunds Rating

As the higher number in its name suggests, the Volvo XC90 is the XC60's big brother. Cabin design is similar — a credit to the XC60's impressively upscale layout — though the XC90 is more spacious and offers a third seating row. As with the other two midsizers here, the XC90's third row will only appeal to children or small adults, but it's nice to have the added flexibility. Several powertrains are available, but we recommend skipping the T5 model's turbocharged four-cylinder; it just doesn't produce enough power to move the XC90 with any authority. The turbocharged and supercharged T6 is a better starting point, while the T8 plug-in hybrid will appeal to those who want even more oomph (or HOV stickers). Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $47,895
Fuel economy: 23-27 mpg combined

2018 Volvo XC90 Overview and Pricing

Compare Midsize Luxury SUVs

Best Full-Size Luxury SUVs

If you have a large family, frequently travel with friends, or need a vehicle that can tow your weekend watercraft, a full-size SUV is undoubtedly the way to go. With enough space to comfortably seat adults in all three rows and generous cargo storage, these burly land yachts can do just about anything. They are generally more expensive than their midsize counterparts (exotics such as the Bentley Bentayga notwithstanding), a result of their larger size and increased use of premium materials. Here are the two full-size luxury SUVs that stand out above the crowd.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

Edmunds Rating

In the past, we've considered the Lincoln Navigator to be just a slightly more upscale version of the Ford Expedition it's based on. That changed with the debut of the redesigned 2018 Navigator, which has a premium identity all its own and is now one of our favorite full-size luxury SUVs. The Navigator can still leverage its truck-based roots to tow up to 8,700 pounds, but it surpasses expectations when it comes to passenger comfort. All occupants will enjoy a roomy cabin with fantastically supportive seats, while front passengers can optionally lounge in Lincoln's 30-way Perfect Position seats with massage. You'll also find plenty of room out back to store gear, especially if you order the Navigator L, a longer version with additional cargo space. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $73,850
Fuel economy: 18-19 mpg combined

2018 Lincoln Navigator Overview and Pricing

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

It's been a while since we tested a GLS-Class (hence the lack of a rating), but we've had enough seat time with the big Mercedes over the years to know that it belongs among the top-rated luxury SUVs. Open the door and you'll step into a tomb-silent cabin filled with rich leather and genuine wood trim. Hard plastics are virtually nonexistent, save for some on the dated-looking center stack. Many premium features are available, from soft-closing doors to massaging front seats and a sublime air suspension. As expected in a full-size SUV, there's adult-friendly space in all three rows, yet the GLS feels more maneuverable than its rivals on the road. The standard turbocharged V6 offers impressive acceleration in its own right, while those who worship at the altar of speed will be drawn to the explosive power of the AMG GLS 63's twin-turbo V8. Most GLS models get Benz's excellent nine-speed automatic transmission, though the AMG GLS 63 works with a sturdy seven-speed unit prepped for performance duty. Read Full Review

Starting price (including destination fee): $70,545
Fuel economy: 15-19 mpg combined

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Overview and Pricing

Compare Full-Size Luxury SUVs

Best 3-Row Luxury SUVs

Although there are midsize SUVs that offer three rows of seating, third-row headroom and legroom measurements are typically modest at best. If you plan on transporting bigger kids or adults in the third row, it's best to select a full-size SUV. Some even offer an extended-length option that increases the size of the cargo area, which is invaluable for families on road trips.

2018 Audi Q7

There aren't many midsize SUVs with three rows, but we think the Audi Q7 is the best of the bunch. It doesn't have an abundance of room in the back, but cargo room is decent and the seats fold completely flat if you need extra storage. A third row is standard on the Audi Q7; it's optional on many other midsize SUVs.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

There's a big jump in third-row room (and price) between midsize and full-size SUVs. The Mercedes GLS-Class is considerably more expensive than a comparable Audi Q7, but seven adults will have no problem fitting into the big Benz. There's also plenty of room behind the third row; cargo space increases from "sizable" to "gargantuan" as you fold down those seats.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

Like the Mercedes GLS-Class, the Navigator is a seven-seater with comfortable accommodations for adult passengers The third-row seat bottom is raised higher than in some other SUVs, so adults will enjoy a more natural seating position. Although the cargo area is already quite roomy for the class, Lincoln also offers a longer Navigator L with more cargo room than the standard version.

Best Family Luxury SUVs

Thanks to their boxy shapes and easy-to-load cargo holds, SUVs are inherently more family-friendly than sedans. Even so, some utility vehicles are better attuned to family needs than others. We've selected the following luxury crossovers based on the roominess of the back seat, amount of interior storage space and availability of advanced safety equipment.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

You'll want as much space as possible in a compact crossover, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class delivers. Backseat legroom and headroom are excellent for a vehicle of this size, and there are quite a few storage places for kids to keep their gear. The large, square cargo area is always useful, whether you're packing up for a family road trip or simply making a run to Costco.

2018 Audi Q7

There are many luxury midsize SUVs suitable for families, but our favorite is the Audi Q7. Seven seats are standard, but only kids will find the third row truly comfortable (common for midsize crossovers with three rows). More often, you'll keep the third row folded for the extra storage room. A high number of standard and optional advanced safety features helps prevent and mitigate injuries in the event of a collision.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

With its sizable third row, tons of cargo room and an extended-wheelbase option, the Lincoln Navigator is one of the most versatile full-size SUVs. Its substantial tow rating means you can also tow the family boat or a few Jet Skis. Add in first-class accommodations for second-row passengers, and you've got a large SUV perfect for serenely transporting families with an active lifestyle.

Most Affordable Luxury SUVs

The smallest SUVs are also the most affordable, but that doesn't mean they offer the best value. While subcompacts have relatively low price tags, overall refinement may fall below the standard set by their lofty nameplates. With this in mind, we've chosen three smaller crossovers that offer good value in a compact wrapper.

2018 BMW X1

At $34,895 to start, the X1 is one of the most affordable small luxury crossovers, but it's also among the most desirable. Passenger and cargo room are best-in-class among subcompacts, and the X1 is pretty fun to drive, too. Standard features include a power tailgate, power front seats and driver memory settings. The Convenience package is reasonably priced at $2,500 and adds a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, satellite radio and more. Add in metallic paint, and you can get a very well-equipped little crossover for less than $38,000. A great car at a great price, no matter how you slice it.

2019 Volvo XC40

The 2019 XC40 is Volvo's first attempt at an SUV in the subcompact class. And with a low starting price and tons of features, it's safe to say Volvo nailed the value proposition. The XC40, which starts at $34,195, counts LED headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and genuine leather upholstery (most cars in this class come with simulated leather) among its standard features. Being a Volvo, every XC40 also comes with lane departure warning and forward collision warning — safety features you usually have to pay extra for. If you want to buy a car without getting swept up in option packages, the XC40 might be the small luxury crossover for you.

2018 Lexus NX 300

The 2018 Lexus NX 300's base price of $37,180 is quite reasonable given its excellent list of standard features. LED headlights, keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning come standard on every model. Perhaps more importantly, the NX 300's high-quality interior materials stand in sharp contrast to its budget price in the Lexus lineup. Limited cargo space and an infuriating infotainment system mar the experience a little bit, but the NX is still worthy of the Lexus badge.

Luxury SUV Features

While many luxury SUVs are well-equipped to begin with, they all offer myriad options and features for a somewhat custom feel. Look for frills such as leather upholstery, keyless entry and a sunroof for a true luxury experience. Heated and ventilated seats are another must-have for many shoppers but aren't always available on smaller luxury SUVs. Modern safety features, including 360-degree parking cameras and blind-spot monitoring, are essential for easily placing large SUVs on the road.

Choosing the Right Luxury SUV for You

There are dozens of luxury SUVs spread over four size classes, so it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Subcompact and compact crossovers offer a strong value statement to city dwellers, empty nesters, and those who simply want something that stands out from a typical SUV. Small families who need a bit more passenger and cargo space will likely find an appropriate vehicle in the midsize class. Full-size SUVs are perfect for growing families or, again, individuals who just want to make a statement. No matter which class appeals to you the most, Edmunds has the tools to point you in the right direction in your search for the perfect luxury SUV.

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