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A luxury SUV is a great place to spend your commute. How could you not be happy with leather, premium stereos, nice trim that’s either wood or metal, and enough room in the back to hold all of your luggage? Pretty much all of these SUVs have leather interiors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and their manufacturers’ own suites of safety sensors. But each new luxury SUV has its own plusses and minuses that could make one stand out for less than $40,000.  

2023 Lexus NX: $39,755

A blue 2023 Lexus NX 350h (Hybrid) compact luxury SUV model in Grecian Water color option
2023 Lexus NX Hybrid | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

While the new-for-2023 Lexus RX gets the headlines, don’t miss out on the smaller NX. The Lexus NX 250 starts at $39,500 in front-wheel drive trim. It has a 203-horsepower engine which is a bit overwhelmed by the NX, but it’s not supposed to be a sports SUV. Lexus has integrated a voice-operated system for the Lexus Interface Assistant for controlling many of the NX’s functions. While it’s a smaller SUV, it still holds 46.9 cubic feet of stuff in the back. The NX also earned a Top Safety Pick Plus award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

2023 Audi Q3: $38,700

2022 Audi Q3
2022 Audi Q3 | Audi

For $38,700, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more stylish SUV than a Q3. The Audi looks good, it has ample interior room and high-quality materials, and though the numbers don’t say “big power,” when your right foot goes down, the Q3 scoots. Even at the base Premium trim, you get 18-inch wheels, all-wheel drive, and for 2023 Audi added the cooler S-line styling kit, which was an option last year. Also, since this is Audi, the Q3 is available in some really cool colors, like Turbo Blue and Tango Red Metallic that really show off the pearlized paint.

2023 Mercedes GLB: $38,600

These extra small luxury SUVs include the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class SUV | Mercedes-Benz

Sure, the GLA is the cheaper Benz. But the GLB looks like a proper SUV, like a small G-Wagon. The GLB starts at $38,600 and it comes with a 221-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Compared to others on this list, it’s a bit larger, it has more presence, and who’s to say that giant three-pointed star on the grille doesn’t add a bit of panache?

The GLB, though, shines on the inside. You’re greeted by a steering wheel with so many buttons it wouldn’t look out of place in a Formula 1 race car, and it also uses Mercedes’s latest interior design philosophy, which means turbine ducts and a pair of large screens on the dash, that give it a sleek and sophisticated look others can’t match. But, it will get a facelift in 2024, according to Motor1.

2023 BMW X1: $38,600

The BMW X1 is all new for 2023, so it will stay looking cool for years to come. If you like the BMW look, feel, and the grunt of a nice turbo four-cylinder, it’s hard to beat the X1, BMW’s least expensive SUV and its best-selling vehicle. The $38,600 BMW X1 has some advantages over the others, but they’re mainly cosmetic. It comes in many colors, and the interior options like the black-on-red cloth seats are striking.

2023 Mercedes GLA: 37,500

A white 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLA at dusk.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GLA | Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is the cheapest Mercedes SUV you can buy. It has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and though it only makes only 221 horsepower, it’s tied to a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic. Reviewers from Motor Trend say that the small engine packs a punch, yet stays frugal. The GLA was updated in 2020 and comes with the latest version of the MBUX infotainment system and the Driving Assistance Package that has several clever functions like adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and active speed limit assist that uses its traffic sign recognition technology.

2023 Lincoln Corsair: $36,580

The Lincoln Corsair is Lincoln’s best-selling vehicle, and it’s easy to see why. It brings Lexus and Audi levels of luxury with niceties like a 13.2-inch screen and voice-activated SYNC 4 to operate most of its functions. The base Corsair starts at $38,690 with a 250-horsepower EcoBoost engine. The new Corsair gets a new grille and Lincoln Active Glide is optional, which is Lincoln’s version of Ford’s BlueCruise driving software.

2023 Cadillac XT4: $36,295

The Cadillac XT4 could be a great stylish luxury SUV with lots of great options, plenty of chrome bling, and technology. It’s a bit too large for its 237-horsepower four-cylinder to get it going properly. While it’s larger than the X1 or a UX, its interior is full of hard plastics and upholstery that looks cheap, on the base version. If you want an XT4 that lives up to the Cadillac name, you’ll have to step up to the sport or the Premium Luxury trims, but they blow through our $40,000 limit.

2023 Lexus UX: $35,925

A white 2022 Lexus UX against a white background.
2022 Lexus UX | Lexus

The UX 250h Premium just slips in under the $40,000 barrier, at $39,785 for an all-wheel drive SUV. The base UX is around $35,000, but the premium adds a lot of features that you want, including a large touchscreen. Every UX for 2023 is a hybrid, so you can also expect stellar gas mileage, but not super quick acceleration. Behind the wheel, you should be able to notice that Lexus has re-balanced the suspension for 2023 and added some stiffness and road feel for a cooler driving experience.

2023 Buick Envision: $35,600

2022 Buick Envision
2022 Buick Envision | GM

Don’t overlook the Buick Envision. It’s often overshadowed by the Enclave, which adds a third row, but the Envision packs a lot of value as the luxury version of the GMC Terrain. You can order an Envision in the Avenir package that includes heated rear seats, navigation, and a massaging driver’s seat. The 2022 Envision also offers a full suite of driver safety aids. The base price is $35,600. But even with all-wheel drive it still comes in under $40,000 at $39,165 and it’s earned stellar reliability scores.


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