Skip to main content

The small SUV class is hyper-competitive. Then, when you want to toss in a luxury nameplate, it gets even more competitive with every manufacturer trying to out-gun, out-fun, or out-pace each other. These are the best small luxury SUVs you’re most likely to see in the pickup line at the local private school. These SUVs offer the best from these five manufacturers, including lots of technology, speed, luxury, and good looks, in a slightly larger package than their smaller cousins.

Which five do the experts at Edmunds say are the best for 2023?

No. 1: The Genesis GV70 is the best small luxury SUV out right now

A lot of people are still unfamiliar with the Genesis nameplate. Like Acura is Honda’s upscale brand, Genesis is Hyundai’s. Genesis made a huge splash in 2021 with the larger GV80, and the slightly smaller GV70 aims to do the same. The GV70 packs a turbocharged four-cylinder or a twin-turbo V that gives it some serious pace and a luxurious interior that sets it apart from others on this list.

With the GV70, Genesis came to show other manufacturers that it can craft a small luxury SUV that, for $45,000, has all the pace and grace of a much more expensive SUV.

No. 2: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

Mercedes-Benz recently redesigned the GLC-Class. Not that the old one needed much of a boost, as it was the brand’s best-selling vehicle ever. However, for 2023 it gets a mild 48-volt hybrid booster, as well as some cool tech and a styling upgrade. Unlike others on this list, the new GLC has some off-road chops and features like a trail camera that help it stand out among the mall crawlers.

The new 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC should start appearing at dealers soon for about $45,000. But, even if you settle for a 2022 model, you’ll find the GLC more than capable. Edmunds ranked the 2022 version as the No. 2 SUV for 2023, and the reviewers will likely update the list after they review one.

No. 3: Acura RDX

A blue Acura RDX parked in front of a snowy mountain. The RDX is one of the best small luxury SUVs.
Acura RDX | Acura

The new but reliable Acura RDX may not offer the plush leather or the nicer plastics of the Mercedes GLC, but that’s not this SUV’s mission. Instead, this SUV was designed to handle twisty roads and feel more like a tall sporty SUV. It’s quick, and with the A-Spec SH-AWD, which is Acura’s all-wheel drive system, it sticks to the pavement better than most. The dash looks complicated, and it has any number of buttons, switches, and even a trackpad to control the screen.

It starts at about $43,000. But, at $45,000, the Technology package is the one to buy with the upgraded stereo and navigation.

No. 4: Porsche Macan

A red 2023 Porsche Macan, one of the best small luxury SUVs, parked on display.
The 2023 Porsche Macan | Porsche

Let’s get the price out of the way on the Macan. At $59,000, it’s the most expensive SUV on this list. But Porsche’s best-selling vehicle packs more performance and fun than the others on this list, especially when equipped with the twin-turbo V6 in the S and GTS versions. Porsche models have a distinct feel that caters to the driver, but passengers do get to see and feel Macan’s premium materials.

We love the powerful S version with 434 hp, but that upgraded engine pushes the price of this compact SUV to about $70,000.

No. 5: The BMW X3 is still one of the best small luxury SUVs

A gray BMW X3 on a twisty road. The X3 is one of the best small luxury SUVs on the market.
2023 BMW X3 | BMW

BMW’s X3 set the standard years ago. It got a small styling update for 2022 but remains a solid, practical five-seater with sporting character. Sure, you can step up the M version and get a lot more power and performance that would embarrass many sports cars. It’s no Porsche Macan, but in the M40i version, you do get a 0 to 60 mph time of about 4.0 seconds.

The BMW X3 starts at about $47,000, with the M40i package adding $14,000 to the bottom line.

Related Everything Wrong With the Cheapest New Small SUV for 2023 

Everything Wrong With the Cheapest New Small SUV for 2023