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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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