Gone are the days when you could sleep in until 1:00 PM, wake up, and drive around in a sporty two-seater. Ah yes, you have grown, and so has your family. But just because you have kids doesn’t mean you’re relegated to the dreaded “minivan” state.
Thanks to high demand, many auto manufacturers now make a number of sporty, and luxurious, SUVs. As such, the real problem might be choosing which luxury SUV is the best. To help take the guesswork out of it, here are three top luxury SUVs that are anything but boring.
1. Best Luxury Compact SUV: 2016 Porsche Macan
When it comes to luxury compact SUVs, U.S. News rates the 2016 Porsche Macan as the best of the best with an overall score of 9.0 — and it’s not hard to see why. Available in two models, the Macan S and the Macan Turbo, the base model has a starting MSRP of $52,600 and sports a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, which generates 340 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. This allows the Macan S to sprint from zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds, and it has a top track speed of 156 miles per hour.
Of course if that’s not enough power for you, then by all means upgrade to the Macan Turbo. It has a starting MSRP of $73,900 and sports a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. This allows it to go from zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds, plus its top track speed is 164 miles per hour. More importantly, Porsche states that these figures set the bar for performance in the compact SUV segment, and Edmunds states that for luxury compact SUVs, the Macan “is the fastest and most rewarding vehicle available.”
Furthermore, though the Macan is an SUV, Porsche doesn’t stray too far from its typical design. It has integrated headlights in the hood, the hood stretches all the way to the wheel arches, and it has the typical “Porsche flyline” (where the roofline slopes toward the rear).
Finally, Edmunds states that the Macan’s interior is sporty, posh, and comfortable; although this styling does result in diminished rear passenger and cargo space, when compared to peers, and if you’re looking for the best luxury compact SUV, the Macan is the one to beat.
2. Best Luxury Midsize SUV: 2016 Volvo XC90
I’ll admit that it took me more than a minute to wrap my head around a Volvo being the top luxury midsize SUV. I mean, yes, Volvos are extremely safe, but they’re frumpy, right? Surely this spot should go to a BMW X5 or a Mercedes-Benz GLE… Let’s take a look.
The fully redesigned Volvo XC90 is not your grandma’s Volvo. In fact, it’s downright sexy. Going back to its Swedish roots, the XC90 has a starting MSRP of $49,800 and is available in three trim levels: Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. All three options come with a 2.0-liter, supercharged, and turbocharged four-cylinder engine that generates 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This allows the XC90 to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.6 seconds — not exactly rocket speed, but hey, the thing also seats seven. Plus, for those that want it, the XC90 will have a 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder Plug-in Hybrid Engine. It produces 400 horsepower, 472 pound-feet of torque, and has an electric-only range of approximately 25 miles.
As far as exterior styling goes, Collin Woodard reviewed the XC90 for Cheat Sheet, and found that while the XC90 didn’t quite meet with the “Swedish supermodel” hype, it’s still a beautiful vehicle — especially in person. The interior, on the other hand, far exceeded his expectations.
Going with a “less is more” approach, the XC90’s interior is decidedly uncluttered thanks to its nine-inch touchscreen, plush leather seats, and distinctive accents like the crystal gearshift lever. Plus, Edmunds describes the XC90’s cabin as “handsome,” and states that its seating is comfortable and spacious, and it also has a generous amount of cargo space.
More important, as far as safety goes, the XC90 gets top marks — in its latest round of tests for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Volvo states that the XC90 excelled in both protective and preventive safety performance thanks to features like an ultra-high-strength steel safety cage, advanced braking system, and advanced restraints. Further, Volvo states that the XC90 is one of the safest vehicles on the road, which is backed by the fact that the XC90 earned a Top Safety Pick+, the highest award that IIHS offers.
Finally, the XC90 was the top pick for U.S. News with an overall score of 9.0. So, if you’re okay with a little less speed and sporty handling, the XC90 is the top midsize luxury SUV to beat.
3. Best Luxury Large SUV: 2015 Cadillac Escalade
Yes, you read the above correctly. According to U.S. News, the 2015 Cadillac Escalade (the 2016 has not yet been reviewed) scored an overall 8.6, and is the top pick when it comes to the best large SUVs.
Available in two trims — Standard and Luxury — the Escalade has a starting MSRP of $72,970 and comes with a 6.2-liter V8 engine, which produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. More impressive is the fact that even with a curb weight of 5,887 pounds, the Escalade can go from zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds and the ride quality is “buttery smooth,” according to Car and Driver.
For styling, the 2015 Escalade is still bold, but gets a facelift thanks to the addition of a larger grille, new headlights, and a somewhat boxier look especially towards the back. For the interior, the Escalade comes standard with a reconfigurable Head-Up display, an eight-inch touchscreen, leather seating, and a 16-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system. Plus, it offers three rows of seating, and copious amounts of cargo space.
Finally, The Car Connection points out that the Escalade is a very well-rounded SUV. “GM makes the Escalade precisely for the folks who want everything of everything. They tow, they trailer, they tailgate, and they do not go quietly,” they state. Simply put, with an impressive amount of space, ample power, a luxurious interior, the ability to tow 8,300 pounds, and a standard Trailering Package, the Escalade is the perfect luxury SUV for well-heeled active families.
Step away from the minivan
It used to be that having a family with a number of children meant you were stuck driving a minivan. Luckily, those days are over, as there are a number of SUVs that are fun to look at and offer plenty of seating, impressive handling, and cargo space. So, if you’re in the market for a new vehicle, and you have littles to consider, these three luxury SUVs are great options.