The term luxury can mean many things to different people. To us, in order to be considered luxury, a vehicle must meet three requirements. They are: a base MSRP of at least $40,000, standard leather interior and a safety or technology feature that would not normally be found on a budget vehicle.
With those in mind, let’s get to the cars.
The BMW X3 starts at $41,000 and keeps climbing.
It does indeed come with standard leather interior. It’s treated with a special spill protection coating to help keep it sparkling for years to come.
Seats can be upgraded to bison leather at special request, though it does come at a very high premium. You can even upgrade to wood trimmed dashboards and cup holders.
BMW’s X3 has a rather average fuel economy, getting 28 mpg highway. While this won’t awe those used to Toyota or Kia’s over the top fuel economies, you have to remember that this is a luxury vehicle. Its consumption is generally higher due to the larger engine.
2017’s X3 comes standard with 360 degree cameras, so you can see all around your SUV while parking. Few small luxury SUVs have this on their base model.
Combined with a variety of drivers alerts, BMW’s X3 main focus is keeping you safe while providing a luxury experience, and it does it better than most if its competition.
Mercedes Benz GLC
Mercedes ranks once again in the best luxury small size SUV category with their 2017 GLC. The GLC beats out the competition across the board, coming in as Motor Trend’s SUV of the year.
The GLC has plenty of power, but does that mean significantly less fuel economy?
No. The GLC gets an average of 27 mpg highway, making it only a single mile less than the smaller and slightly cheaper BMW X3.
For 2017, the leather options are almost endless. Mercedes can even special order camel leather trim, for a price. It’s custom order only, extremely limited and only briefly mentioned on the Mercedes Benz website. If you’re looking for a wow factor, this might be it.
Other interior options include upgrades to interior lighting and chrome trim along dashboards, doors and ceilings.
In terms of tech features, Mercedes has taken the best of their air ride technology from their larger commercial vehicles, and adapted it for the GLC. Specially equipped for off-roading, it turns even your daily commute into a pillow soft driving experience.
For even more technology features, upgrade your trim and you can custom control your seats with a touch screen console option. Base trims come with a control mechanism on the sides of the seats, but that’s not as fun to operate.
Though it does not have round-the-car cameras, it does have back up collision detection and camera hardware on its standard model to help you avoid fender benders in tight parking spots.
The 2017 Porsche Macan is one of the pricier options on our list. The base model starts at a whopping $50,000. That’s $10,000 above our minimum price for being considered luxury.
Porsche is bringing a lot to the SUV market this year. Especially when we consider that Porsche is so well known for their sports cars, not their small SUV line.
The Macan gets a comfortable fuel economy of 25 mpg highway. Although that’s lower than some of its competition, it makes up for those miles with substantial power.
We’re talking 400 horsepower under the hood of this little crossover, which means it will shoot down the road from 0 to 60 faster than you can blink.
Interior options come in a wide variety of hand dyed fine leathers for all seating and dashboard components. You can customize every inch of leather that goes into your vehicle. If you want lime green seats, you can order them. Orange trim? You got it.
Porsche has a long-standing presence in the market for high safety ratings despite their incredibly high powered vehicles.
Though this particular feature is on the minor side of things, their tire pressure warning system is a new twist on an old favorite. Not only does the vehicle alert you to a low tire, it instantly contacts Porsche’s on-board help system to note a full tire failure.
Through this interface, you can contact the roadside assistance directly and your vehicle will forward them your GPS location.
That means no more trekking to a gas station if you’re out of cell service. Porsche takes care of everything for you.
Audi’s SQ5 is one of the best small luxury SUV crossover options on the market for the 2017 model year.
With the highest trim model starting at $60,000, this is a vehicle you’ll want to spend big bucks on. The upgrades alone are worth nearly $10,000 and well worth the investment.
The SQ5 slacks off a little when it comes to fuel economy, only getting 24 mpg highway driving. With only 350 horsepower, Audi just hasn’t managed to get the fuel economy some of its competitors have.
For the power and the size of this vehicle it’s still a respectable fuel economy, it just loses out to some of the others on this list.
Instead, the SQ5 redeems itself with technology and comfort. With 12-way adjustable sports seating and leather wrapped everything, you may not want to get out of it. It really is that comfortable.
The tech features are a little spotty with the SQ5 but they certainly have their merits.
With light sensing headlights that pop on automatically at dusk, during storms and at night, you’ll never have to worry about accidentally forgetting to turn your lights on again. They also adjust based on how dark it is, whether or not it senses oncoming traffic, and if there is a problem with fog on the road.
These smart headlights really help illuminate Audi’s dedication to safe driving.
Cadillac’s XT5 comes in strong against other small luxury SUV crossovers for several reasons.
It’s 27 mpg highway driving fuel economy puts it second only to BMW’s X3, tying it with the Mercedes Benz GLC.
Each Cadillac XT5 is only available via custom ordering services from a dealership. The only way you’ll see one of these on a lot is if someone cancelled their order after it showed up.
The options are really up to you. Cadillac will gladly show you their upgrades from the base model and then you’re welcome to build your dream small SUV for delivery in around 6 to 8 weeks, on average.
Some of the luxury customizations you can choose from are options like an alpaca leather wrapped steering wheel.
You can also choose voice controlled interior options such as sunroof control, and a wide variety of driver alert systems to keep your vehicle from hitting pedestrians and other vehicles.
The Cadillac XT5 is the only other SUV on this list that also has sensors stationed around the car.
However, they have a good number fewer than the BMW X3. That does mean slightly less visual coverage than BMW, but more than other competitors.