Don’t Be Fooled by a Cheap Luxury SUV

There is a certain amount of prestige that comes along with owning an driving a luxury car. SUVs are a booming segment, so it’s no surprise that luxury SUVs are also popular. Some are priced in an entry-level range like the 2020 BMW X1 and X2, or the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA. But sometimes the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Don’t be fooled by a cheap luxury SUV.

A great 2020 BMW X1 driving down the countryside
2020 BMW X1 | BMW

It makes sense why people think that buying a luxury SUV in the low $30 grand range might be better than their mainstream counterparts in the same price range. But if you dig a little deeper you’ll find that the yearly cost to own is higher for a luxury SUV as opposed to the mainstream segment. Additionally, resale value tends to be better for many mainstream vehicles when you take depreciation into account.

Cheap BMW SUVs

The 2020 BMW X2 and the 2020 BMW X1 are both entry-level luxury SUVs, according to Consumer Reports. Both of these made it onto the US News and World Report list of cheap luxury SUVs. They are both priced in the appealing mid-30s range. But don’t jump into the driver’s seat of a BMW SUV like the X1 or X2 without doing the right amount of research first. You may find that a mainstream SUV like the Hyundai Kona or the Honda CR-V ticks all the boxes and brings more extras to the table than you’d think.

The BMW X2 on display at an auto show
A BMW X2 on display | Vincent Isore/IP3/Getty Images

The X2 resale value, according to Kelley Blue Book, “is expected to trail competitors.” The Honda CR-V on the other hand has what KBB calls “high resale value” going for it. KBB reports that in terms of 2020 BMW X1 resale value, it’s expected “to hold average values below those of” competitors. “The Hyundai Kona’s resale value is expected to hold up well,” according to KBB.

Maintenance costs, according to J.D. Power, are higher for the BMW SUVs than for the Hyundai or Honda SUVs. According to, the Hyundai Kona’s average yearly maintenance costs $468. The Honda C-RV has a yearly maintenance cost average of $407, according to The BMW X1 has an average yearly maintenance cost of $915. BMWs in general cost up to $1,700 per year in maintenance, according to Motor1.

Honda CR-V compact crossover SUV on display at Brussels Expo
The 2020 Honda CR-V | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

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Mercedes-Benz GLA

Another entry-level luxury SUV, according to Consumer Reports, is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA. This is another cheap luxury SUV priced in the mid $30 grand range. However, this Mercedes SUV is bound to depreciate significantly after it’s purchased. According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2020 Mercedes GLA SUV’s “resale value is not as favorable as” its competitors.

A Honda HR-V on display at an auto show
A Honda HR-V on display

It may have made the US News list of cheap luxury SUVs, but it doesn’t hold its value. Compared with a mainstream competitor like the 2020 Honda HR-V, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA can’t compete in terms of resale value. Kelley Blue Book reports that the Honda HR-V is expected to “retain stronger resale values than” its competitors.

Additionally, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA has a yearly maintenance average cost of $987––according to Conversely, the Honda HR-V costs $301 per year to maintain. The difference is huge.

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Cheap luxury SUV: Consumer Reports customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction ratings are very low for the 2020 BMW X1, The 2020 BMW X2, and the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA. According to Consumer Reports, they all have the lowest score possible. Not only do they cost more per year and lack resale value, but these cheap luxury SUVs also are not making owners happy. Though you may sacrifice in terms of prestige and athletic driving dynamics, mainstream SUVs are far more practical.