Best luxury SUVs 2020

The best luxury SUVs are as practical as they are classy and as desirable as they are relaxing to drive. Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the one to avoid...


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What Car? team

An increasing number of car buyers are shunning prestige saloons in favour of luxury SUVs, drawn in by the appeal of their elevated driving positions, rugged looks and upmarket interiors.

The best also offer a cosseting ride, punchy performance and the sort of refinement that makes long journeys effortless. So, here we count down our top 10 – and name the luxury SUV that is best avoided. 

And remember, if you like the look of any of these models, then we can help you buy one for a great price through our free New Car Buying service.

10

Land Rover Defender

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£43,625

RRP from £43,625 to £83,685

Despite its rugged image, the latest Defender fully deserves the title of luxury SUV. It can seat up to seven in its high-quality interior, it comes loaded with standard kit and it's capable of tacking both long motorway journeys and mountain passes with equal ability. What's more, because the Defender is predicted to hold onto its value extremely well, you should get more of your money back when you come to sell than you would in most rivals.

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Pros

  • Excellent off road
  • Up to seven seats
  • Slow depreciation

Cons

  • Higher trim levels are very pricey
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are poor
  • Tiny boot in 90 models
9

Range Rover Sport

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£62,125

RRP from £65,295 to £114,915

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The second Land Rover to make the list is the Range Rover Sport, which is based on the full-sized Range Rover. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s a fantastic car for covering long distances, with a smooth engine and a relaxed ride. What's more, its interior is luxurious and generously equipped, and there's the option of seven seats.

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Pros

  • Impressive refinement
  • Comfortable ride
  • Sumptuous interior

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Poor reliability record
  • Infotainment system is slow and fiddly
8

Audi Q8

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£62,172

RRP from £67,050 to £106,240

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Despite sitting at the top of Audi's now extensive SUV range, the Q8 is a fraction smaller than the Q7, its raison d'etre being its outlandish style and presence, a corollary of its sloping roofline, wider stance and massive and purposeful front grille. Yes, the Q8 is expensive, but it's also beautifully made, wonderfully refined and boasts an opulent and spacious interior.   

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Pros

  • Spacious interior
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • High list price
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Average warranty
7

Mercedes GLE

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£53,448

RRP from £57,790 to £110,523

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Some rivals are more practical and better to drive, but the Mercedes GLE has a dazzling interior and, on air suspension, is a comfortable cruiser. Go for the 400d and you also get one of the best diesel engines around: it blends effortless performance with good fuel economy, and is both smooth and quiet, even under hard acceleration.

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Pros

  • Swanky looking interior
  • Quiet cruising manners
  • Loads of second row legroom

Cons

  • Rivals have a bigger boot
  • Cramped third row seats
  • Not exactly sharp to drive
6

Volvo XC90

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£50,737

RRP from £54,400 to £73,970

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The latest version of Volvo's XC90 is enjoyable to drive and much smarter than its predecessor inside, yet it remains every bit as practical, with flexible seating and a huge boot. Only average refinement and a slightly unsettled ride stop it making the top four here.

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Pros

  • Classy interior
  • Seven seats come as standard
  • Plug-in hybrid options

Cons

  • Unsettled ride
  • Road and suspension noise
  • Fiddly infotainment system
5

Land Rover Discovery

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£45,133

RRP from £48,015 to £71,120

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The latest Discovery is more practical than any of its rivals, but it’s also great to drive and even pretty good value for money and slow to depreciate. Much like its predecessor, the all-new Discovery is a whopping great seven-seater. It also has lots of ingenious storage spaces, including two gloveboxes and a hidden compartment behind the dashboard air-con control panel.

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Pros

  • Brilliant off road
  • Roomy third row space
  • Attractive PCP deals

Cons

  • Audi Q7 is classier inside
  • Average to drive on road
  • Fuel economy and CO2 emissions
4

BMW X5

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£55,578

RRP from £59,785 to £77,410

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BMW's original X5 was one of the first road-focused 4x4s, and this latest model sticks closely to that car's winning formula, with decent practicality and sharper handling than most rivals. On the inside, there’s a commanding driving position, plenty of space for five and large boot. The optional third-row seats are cramped, though.

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Pros

  • Fantastic plug-in hybrid version
  • Great to drive
  • Classy, well-designed interior

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Third row of seats costs extra
  • Relatively small boot
3

BMW X7

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£71,892

RRP from £76,305 to £114,975

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Big, bold, comfortable, and with a luxurious interior – the X7 is a very worthy recent addition to BMW’s lineup and the luxury SUV class. It's also one of the most practical cars in the class; even six-footers will have plenty of space in the third row, while the boot is enormous when those seats are folded away.

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Pros

  • Super quiet and comfortable
  • Incredibly spacious and practical
  • Outstanding infotainment system

Cons

  • There are cheaper alternatives
  • Feels its size and weight on the road
  • Looks won’t be to all tastes
2

Range Rover Velar

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£43,606

RRP from £46,110 to £71,020

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With prices starting at around £45,000, the Velar bridges the gap between the cheapest Range Rover, the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport. It’s the most road-biased Range Rover ever, even though it’s still incredibly capable in the rough stuff. Just bear in mind that you have to step up from the base model to S trim to get sat-nav, a properly punchy stereo, a rear-view camera and leather rather than cloth seats.

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Pros

  • Decent economy with the D180 diesel
  • Massive boot
  • Good off road

Cons

  • Average rear leg room
  • Slow-witted infotainment
  • Some cheap plastics inside
1

Audi Q7

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£52,129

RRP from £56,935 to £96,880

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Audi's flagship 4x4 is the best luxury SUV you can buy. It's relaxing to drive, comfortable to sit in and pleasantly efficient to run, while its interior is plush enough to compete with models that cost twice as much. As if all that weren't enough, the Q7 is very practical, offering more than enough space for families and their luggage and seven seats as standard.

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Pros

  • Smooth and powerful engines
  • Pillowy ride in Sport and S line trims
  • Stunning interior quality

Cons

  • Rivals have better infotainment systems
  • Third-row space is better in the BMW X7
  • Plug-in hybrid model is average to drive

And the luxury SUVs to avoid...

Maserati Levante
Maserati Levante 2019 RHD front tracking shot

The Maserati Levante is spacious and well equipped, but the driving experience it delivers doesn’t live up to the badge’s promise. Its diesel engine is noisy, its handling stodgy and its ride bumpy. Read our review

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