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Yes, you can buy a lot of SUV for $40,000. These five prove that you can get a sporty, practical SUV with a premium badge for that money too. The experts at Edmunds picked these five extra small, or as the EPA says, subcompact, SUVs as the best in the class. It’s hard to fault any of these, and they all seem to arrive at a similar answer to the $40,000 SUV question. Which of these is the best small luxury SUV?

The BMW X1 is the best small luxury SUV for 2023

The BMW X1 is the extra small luxury SUV that others are judged by. The littlest Bimmer is also the brand’s best-selling SUV, with what looks like the biggest grille. BMW completely redesigned the little SUV for 2023, and it grew by a few inches in every direction, making it feel much larger inside than the previous version. That extra wheelbase also added to its sporty handling. This is no off-road SUV, but all-wheel drive is standard for bad weather situations.

The 2023 BMW X1 comes with a 241-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gives it a surprising amount of punch. It’s quicker, for example, than the Mercedes-Benz GLB and has a dual-clutch automatic. The X1 now starts at about $40,000.

The Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class just missed out on being the best small luxury SUV

Mercedes-Benz’s smallest SUV packs a lot in and it makes a compelling package for buyers who may not have considered a Benz before. It has a baby G-Class look to it and a lot of the tech that you’d find on the G-Class for about a third of the price. The baby Benz comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 221 hp, and it can feel downright quick, thanks to its quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The small 2023 GLB has great resell value and offers one thing that others on this list of compact SUVs don’t: It has an optional third row. While that third row with two seats is tight, it does give this luxury SUV an extra ounce of practicality. The GLB250 starts at less than $40,000, but all-wheel drive and other options can quickly send the price to $45,000.

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is up there on the list

White 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV, one of the best small luxury SUVs.
White 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class SUV | Mercedes-Benz

While the folks at Edmunds consider the GLA an SUV, many of you are probably scratching your heads. You see, the GLA comes in a sedan or a tall SUV version. The GLA Coupe, or four-door, is the smallest and cheapest Benz, while the SUV holds down the $38,000 price point on the SUV side. Unlike the GLB, it’s more of a tall car, and it does provide a higher seating position and some extra room under its hatch.

Though the GLA isn’t as luxurious as other Mercedes-Benz SUVs, and its interior is a bit spartan, it still feels like a high-quality SUV.  

Don’t forget about the Audi Q3

2022 Audi Q3 in blue. The Q3 is one of the best small luxury SUVs available.
2022 Audi Q3 | Audi

Since 2017 the Audi Q3 has been Audi’s top-selling vehicle of any kind. It’s peppy, stylish, spacious, and it drives more like a sporty car than a tall SUV. It hasn’t changed much since its 2017 introduction, but that’s OK because this $38,000 extra-small luxury SUV packs a lot of value. It comes with a four-cylinder with 184 hp or 228 hp, and though the bigger engine is more fun, you have to give the turbo a second to catch up to your right foot.

The Volvo XC40 fell down the list a bit

Affordable used SUVs with the most technology include this Volvo XC40, pictured in gray against a silver backdrop. The XC40 is top 10 on the list of the best small luxury SUVs.
The Volvo XC40 | Volvo

Ranking at No. 5 for 2022, the Volvo XC40 fell to No. 9 this year. Still, it ranks highly for different reasons than the others on this list. Sure, it starts at about the same $38,000, and it has a competitive 194-hp engine or a powerful 247-hp four-cylinder engine. It takes its Swedish heritage seriously and looks like a rolling mid-century sculpture. Volvo, though, knows its buyer better than most: the XC40 is full of clever touches like a hook for takeout bags on the dash and a removable trash bin in the center console.

Any of these options among the best small luxury SUVs under $40,000 offer incredible value and are worth a look.

Related 5 of the Best Small SUVs for 2023

5 of the Best Small SUVs for 2023