Top 10: Best luxury SUVs in 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 ones to avoid.....
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 SUVs that are best avoided.
10: Range Rover
The Range Rover is one of the great motoring icons and every bit as compelling a proposition today as it was when it was first introduced more than 40 years ago.
10: Range Rover - interior
Superbly comfortable and refined, it also offers prodigious off-road ability. It's just a shame it's so expensive, even by luxury SUV standards.
9: Range Rover Velar
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.
9: Range Rover Velar - interior
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.
8: Range Rover Sport
The third Range Rover to make the list is the Sport, which is based on the full-sized Range Rover.
8: Range Rover Sport - interior
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, the interior is luxurious and generously equipped, and there's the option of seven seats.
7: Audi Q8
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.
7: Audi Q8 - interior
Yes, the Q8 is expensive, but it's also beautifully made, wonderfully refined and boasts an opulent and spacious interior.
6: Mercedes GLE
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.
6: Mercedes GLE - interior
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.
5: Volvo XC90
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.
5: Volvo XC90 - interior
Only average refinement and a slightly unsettled ride stop it making the top four here.
4: Land Rover Discovery
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.
4: Land Rover Discovery - interior
It also has lots of ingenious storage spaces, including two gloveboxes and a hidden compartment behind the dashboard air-con control panel.
3: BMW X5
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.
3: BMW X5 - interior
On the inside, there’s plenty of space for five, a large boot and a commanding driving position. The optional third-row seats are cramped, though.
2: BMW X7
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.
2: BMW X7 - interior
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.
1: Audi Q7
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.
1: Audi Q7 - interior
As if all that wasn't enough, the Q7 is very practical, offering more than enough space for families and their luggage and seven seats as standard.
So what about the luxury SUVs you should avoid?
Jeep Grand Cherokee
If you'll be regularly going off road, then the Grand Cherokee is certainly a capable mud-plugger.
Jeep Grand Cherokee - interior
Trouble is, it's not especially impressive on the road, and there's no seven-seat option, either.
The Maserati Levante is spacious and well equipped, but the driving experience doesn’t live up to the badge’s promise.
Maserati Levante - interior
The diesel engine is noisy, the handling stodgy and the ride bumpy.