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Luxury SUVs are a strange and interesting breed of vehicle. On the one hand, it makes perfect sense. SUVs offer more room which is a major aspect of luxury vehicles. There are also just larger overall, which if Rolls-Royce is any indication, luxury vehicles like to be as big as possible. However, the other side of the segment makes luxury SUVs feel oxymoronic, given the juxtaposition of the “utility” aspects of the segment and luxury features.

2022 Mercedes GLE 53 parked on a bridge
2022 Mercedes GLE 53 W4 | Motorbiscuit: Peter Corn

Luxury SUVs are strange

The SUV was used as a war machine for longer than it’s been a symbol of status and luxury. The segment is home to some of the toughest vehicles the world has ever seen. The Jeep Wrangler – one of the most important SUVs of all time – started as and remains one of the least practical vehicles on the road. They are noisy, uncomfortable, and not particularly cheap anymore, yet people still buy them by the bucket full. Why? Because they are holding down the traditional definition of what an SUV was always meant to be. 

Then there are the tough luxury off-roaders like the new Toyota Land Cruiser, the new Land Rover Defender, or the newer G Wagen. Speaking of G-Wagens, Mercedes might be mainly hoity-toity executive cars, but Mercedes knows a thing or two about 4x4s. 

Not all SUVs were created equal

Aside from the lumbering luxury off-roaders, another aspect of luxury SUVs has given wings to the segment, the sporty luxury SUVs—like the Porsche Macan, Cayenne, Audi Q-Series, and the BMW X-Series. Instead of hitting the utility and off-road history of the SUV, these models cut a new path for the segment. 

Many lists have the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S in the top position for luxury SUVs on the market. This is fascinating because there is almost nothing SUV-like about the Cayenne aside from its general size and shape. Unlike The G-Wagen or Defender, these sporty SUVs lean into the car side of things with lower, tiger suspension, higher horsepower, snappy acceleration, and a chassis meant for handling, not off-roading. 

If the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser, which even Consumer Reports loved, is the pinnacle of badass, off-road luxury, the Lamborghini Urus is the tip of the spear for the sporty boys but also makes a play for the off-road crown. While the Urus can never actually compete with a real off-roader, it can handle its own.

How much money do you need to buy a luxury SUV? 

2022 BMW X3 posed by water
2022 BMW X3 | BMW

Believe it or not, there are plenty of luxury SUVs falling between the $30,000-$40,000 mark. Acura, Mercedes, and BMW offerings are all found in this bracket. However, just because it’s a luxury SUV you can afford doesn’t mean it’s the one you should buy. 

The luxury SUV market is a strange one, as we’ve explained. It is a segment that feels stuck between worlds. Many of the cheaper Luxury SUVs are a little pointless in that they don’t serve many purposes that aren’t equally or even better served by similarly priced luxury cars. 

That being said, the stand-out models like the Land Rover Defender, Toyota Land Cruiser, Porsche Cayenne, and the Lamborghini Urus are special examples of models that offer a best of both worlds that come at premium prices. 

Between these few models, the price range can extend from around $70k-$300k. It is quite the wide range, but the point is made well that if you want a really worthwhile luxury SUV that actually offers everything the segment suggests, you’ll have to pay.