Luxury On a Budget: Consumer Reports Recommends These Entry-Level Premier SUVs

If you’re in the market for a small SUV and you don’t want to sacrifice luxury, you may be wondering what your options are. The cost for a premier SUV can be quite high. Go to the other end of the spectrum and you may not get the safety features you want or the high-end touches that you want. These three SUVs combine the best of both worlds. Consumer Reports rates these as the highest-performing, least expensive luxury SUVs you can buy. 

A dark green 2021 Lexus UX parked outside.
2021 Lexus UX | Lexus

The 2021 Lexus UX is one of the least expensive luxury SUVs you can buy

The 2021 Lexus UX is Consumer Reports’ highest-rated least expensive luxury SUVs. You can get the UX as either a hybrid, which is the UX 250h, or the UX200. The UX200 is cheaper, but it’s also only front-wheel drive. The UX250h comes all-wheel drive. As an added bonus, the UX250h gets 37 mpg, which is way more than most SUVs in its class. 

The 2021 Lexus UX comes with the Lexus Safety System+ 2.0. This is the name for Lexus’ safety system. It includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, and pedestrian detection. 

As far as crash test ratings, the IIHS gives the 2021 Lexus UX a Top Safety Pick award. 

The 2021 BMW X2 is an inexpensive luxury SUV that feels like a car

The 2021 BMW X2 is a small SUV that feels a lot like a car. In fact, it’s even more car-like than its sibling, the X1. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the least expensive luxury SUVs. The BMW X2 has a 228-hp engine with four cylinders and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Its fuel efficiency is pretty standard, at 25 mpg.

As far as safety is concerned, the X2 comes with forward collision warning, city speed automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. Unfortunately, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic warning aren’t even options. 

That’s especially disappointing because Consumer Reports says that “A sloping roofline and thick back pillars create significant blind spots at the rear quarters. The side windows are small, too, and the rear window is little more than a sliver.” Blind spot warning would be pretty helpful in an SUV with that description.

The 2021 Buick Encore is low on cost but high on luxury

The 2021 Buick Encore is a small, entry-level luxury SUV, but Consumer Reports says that the Encore gives up quite a bit to be designated as such. It has a weak engine; just 138-hp, 1.4-liter, and four-cylinders. Another downside is its fuel economy; it only gets 23 mpg, although it could conceivably get more with such a small engine. 

Another downside is its visibility. Consumer Reports says that it’s difficult to see past the thick pillars and small rear windows. However, it does come with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning. 

The IIHS almost gives it all good crash test ratings, but one area holds it back. The passenger-side small overlap rating is just acceptable. 

All three of these entry-level luxury SUVs have something to offer. With their varying styles and abundance of high-end features, you’re sure to find something that will fit your needs. And with all three of them being recommended by Consumer Reports, any of the least expensive luxury SUVs on this list are a great deal.

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