The big seven-seat SUV market is hot. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and Lexus are all looking to entice you with luxurious interiors, spacious cabins, and powerful engines. These SUVs trade as much on pace and grace as on impressing the neighbors with famous nameplates. But which one brings the most to the table?
The Q7 is the Swiss army knife of 2023 luxury three-row SUVs
The 2023 Audi Q7 provides a lot of value for a base price of about $60,000. It’s hard to beat its mix of a spacious cabin that seats seven, with an innovative dual-screen infotainment system. Its base Premium 45 version comes with a 261-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder that, with its standard 8-speed auto, stays on boil. It also comes with a lot of the standard features most luxury buyers expect, like heated seats and multi-zone climate control.
You do, however, have to step up to the premium versions to get some of the driver’s aids that come standard on the others, such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warnings. That does take the price of this seven-seater to about $70,000.
The BMW X7 is the hotrod of 2023 three-row luxury SUVs
The BMW X7 is all-new for 2023. That means that’s its tech and styling will likely stay fresh longer than the Audi’s, which last saw a major update for 2020. The base version has a 375-horsepower turbocharged V6 and while it’s powerful, it’s not a lot quicker than the Audi Q7. But the BMW’s new styling, especially its interior, has a clean modern look that sets it off with a giant 15-inch screen that’s integrated into a digital gauge cluster.
Sure, you can order the luxurious Alpina XB7 or the M Sport versions with more power. Like many of the others on the list, its driver’s assistance features include park-assist and a low-speed hands-free driving mode. However, the new X7 has a steeper base price, and it starts at $79,000.
The Mercedes GLE350 has the lowest base price
The 203 Mercedes-Benz GLE doesn’t change for 2023. The base GLE350 has a 255-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, and it can be ordered as a rear-wheel drive SUV. It’s not really quick, compared to the others on this list, but this seven-passenger SUV is about coddling the driver and passengers with options like heated arm rests and giant screens. It’s interior looks more jet-plane futuristic than the others, yet outside it has a more traditional SUV look.
The GLE has the lowest base price, at about $59,000. But, Mercedes options packages are dear and could add $10,000 to the price very quickly. But, then, you don’t need to step up to the 450 to get adequate power.
The Lexus GX 460 brings off-road chops to the segment
The Lexus GX 460 brings Toyota Land Cruiser underpinnings to the segment. Though the Mercedes has a modicum of off-road ability, and all have all-wheel drive optional, none come close to the ability of the GX. It’s also a bit larger than the others, which means the rear seat and cargo area is the most spacious. The Lexus also comes with a big V8 that has 301 horsepower. Inside, the GX is roomy, luxurious, and has more utility than sport in its layout for $57,575.
Last year was the last time the Lexus RX was offered with a third row. It is a better competitor on size, space, and style to the Q7. But, for now, there’s no three-row RX so the GX fills that niche. Per OffRoadXTreme, this luxury beast can romp with many other off-road focused SUVs.
Which 2023 three-row luxury SUV wins?
It’s hard to pick from these five super SUVs. Sure, the Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade., Infiniti QX80 and the Land Rover Range Rover and even the Jeep Grand Wagoneer compete with the Q7. But, in this case, we’re looking at the Q7 compared to its top rivals. Most who are looking for a full-sized body-on-frame truck-based SUV, like the big Lincoln, QX80, or Caddy, won’t cross-shop the Q7. The Rover has a much steeper price tag, and the Grand Wagoneer is built more for off-road toughness, not mall-crawling prowess.
In the end, though, it’s hard to beat the Q7; every manufacturer has its own take on a luxury three-row SUV. The Lexus is great if you need some off-road ability, while the BMW is the quickest and sportiest feeling. The Mercedes is priced right, but if you want some of the nicer options that make it stand out, be prepared to pay for them. The Audi, even in base trim, fits the bill for most, even if it doesn’t do any one thing better than the others.