Every Compact Luxury Crossover and SUV Ranked
As far as luxury vehicles go, the compact SUV has become the staple of the market. Almost every luxury brand has one of these perfect fit, five-seat crossovers or SUVs. Combining an elevated seating position with wagon-like utility, deluxe interiors, and available or standard all-wheel drive, it doesn’t come as a shock that compact crossovers (which really aren’t as compact as they sound) have become so popular. For families in Palm Beach that don’t need a third row, the compact category is a great place to start.
Cadillac’s XT5 is a direct competitor with one of the more popular choices in this list, the Lexus RX 350. Its angular styling and boxy profile are built for suburbia. The minimalist interior is handsome and practical. A mild refresh for 2020 updates the exterior styling with a new grille, bumpers, and wheels. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 237 horsepower is now the standard engine while a 310-hp V-6 remains an option. All-wheel drive is optional with either engine. The V-6 is admirable if not exciting, and the suspension does a good job of keeping this SUV connected to the road. Upgrades to the interior, such as a digital instrument cluster and nicer materials, improve the overall appeal. Spacious passenger accommodations and solid cargo room make the Cadillac XT5 a practical choice.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Unlike most of the vehicles in this list, Land Rover’s Discovery Sport offers seating for seven and delivers some actual off-road capability. It has a four-mode Terrain Response system with settings for sand, snow, rocks, and mud, as well as standard all-wheel drive. A slight change in the 2020 model adds some styling updates along with an optional hybrid trim. A turbocharged, four-cylinder engine provides 246 horsepower on all models except the new hybrid, which is rated at 286 horsepower. Unfortunately, the Discovery Sport’s interior is smaller than most competitors, so while it offers a third row of seating, don’t expect adults to fit back there. Modern technology such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a mobile hotspot assure you’ll be able to stay connected, while the stylish interior design makes the Discovery Sport feel like a proper Land Rover.
Not only is the Infiniti QX50 eye catching, it boasts a revolutionary new engine design. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine is capable of changing its compression ratio on the fly, which adds power under certain circumstances while saving fuel in others. In our testing, we saw 27 mpg on the highway, and the 268-hp four-cylinder engine provides satisfyingly quick acceleration. Around town, the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) can soak some of the life out of the otherwise strong engine. The QX50 handles well with nicely balanced steering and a comfortable ride. The interior features ample passenger room and high-quality materials on the upper trim levels. The dual touchscreen user interface isn’t the most intuitive system, but recent updates have added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
Land Rover Range Rover Velar
From its sleek, rectilinear sheetmetal to its nearly entirely touchscreen-controlled interior, Land Rover’s Range Rover Velar exists purely to wow. Unfortunately, the gorgeous design is as good as the components about the Velar get. The base four-cylinder engine struggles to move its substantial heft while the optional 3.0-liter V-6 is more powerful, but you pay the price at the pump. An optional V-8 puts the Velar in territory inhabited by much better all-around performers. On the plus side, the interior feels as fancy as the exterior looks. The boxy shape also leaves a good amount of passenger and cargo room, so it’s actually quite practical.
Aiming at the sportier end of the compact-luxury-crossover category, Acura’s RDX has a 272-hp turbocharged inline-four engine, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, and pointy looks that are anything but staid. Tellingly, among the RDX’s selectable drive modes, which include Comfort and Sport+ settings, Acura programs the middle Sport option as the default when you fire up the engine. The RDX backs up its sporty demeanor with tight handling—although we prefer the adjustable dampers that come with the Advance package. The cabin is awash in standard features, yet it still doesn’t feel as premium as some competitors.
The Lexus RX helped start this vehicle class some 20 years ago, and it remains a popular offering to this day. Like the original, today’s RX places a priority on comfort; unlike the original, the styling is flashy. A non-turbocharged V-6 is standard in the RX 350, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional, and customers can opt for a hybrid variant dubbed the RX 450h. Although it’s hard to tell, the RX got a refresh for 2020 that includes minor exterior enhancements. More importantly, the interior now features a touchscreen interface that almost makes us forget about the awful touchpad setup.
The Lincoln Corsair is an all-new entry in the compact segment. It replaces the previous Lincoln MKC and shares some basic elements with the Ford Escape, which was also redesigned for 2020. The new design is similar to Lincoln’s larger Aviator, although the smaller proportions don’t look quite as elegant on the Corsair. There are two four-cylinder engines offered: a base 2.0-liter turbo with 250 horsepower and a 2.3-liter turbo with 295 horsepower. Both are smooth, punchy off the line, and reasonably fuel efficient. The interior of the Corsair is also impressive with plenty of soft touch materials and a sharp design. There are several high-end options as well, such as a digital gauge cluster, 24-way adjustable seats, and an adaptive suspension.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is a newcomer to the electric-vehicle market. 90 percent of its body structure comes from the gas-burning Mercedes-Benz GLC-class, which simplified manufacturing and kept the overall cost in check. Its dual electric motors produce a combined 402-hp and 561 ft-lb of torque to help move the 5500-lb EV.
Although the Mercedes-Benz GLB-class sits tightly between the GLA- and GLC-class crossovers, it’s the only one that has an optional third row. Available in just a single trim, the GLB-class comes standard in front-wheel drive with a 221-hp 2.0-liter turbo inline-4; the all-wheel drive 4MATIC is also available. The GLB-class offers a spacious cabin considering its compact size.
Porsche Macan / Macan Turbo
Slightly updated in 2019, the Porsche Macan remains remarkably sporty. Of course, that means it’s somewhat compromised in spaciousness and practicality, but the athletic moves more than make up for those drawbacks. Few crossovers on the road deliver the kind of predictable handling, precise steering, and stunning acceleration in a package that’s otherwise so tame. The GTS trim returns this summer for those who want something a little hotter without paying full freight for the 434-horsepower 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 powered Macan Turbo. We think the standard V-6 in the Macan S delivers more than enough punch with a zero-to-60-mph time of just 4.7 seconds. If the Porsche Macan has a weak spot, it’s the spacing of the cabin. The back seat is tight-fitting, and the cargo area is minimal.