2016 Small Luxury SUV Comparison: Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC, Infiniti QX50 or Mercedes-Benz GLC?
While the familiar BMW X3 has been with us since 2004, the compact luxury SUV segment has only really taken shape in the past few years. Nine of the segment's dozen or so entries are still wearing first-generation sheet metal, and the past couple years alone have brought us a total of five new nameplates: Lexus NX, Lincoln MKC, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Porsche Macan and the very new 2017 Jaguar F-Pace.
We recently grabbed a cross-section of these increasingly popular vehicles and set out on a 500-mile road trip to evaluate everything from cruising comfort to infotainment intuitiveness. The aforementioned Lexus NX and Lincoln MKC got the invite, as did the recently reconfigured Infiniti QX50 and the new-for-2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC (formerly GLK).
As an increasingly prominent wine region situated halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Paso Robles proved an ideal destination for our two-day test of these four bold and complex varietals. Our route included two twisty sections, but our most important learnings were made at highway cruising speed, in the stop-and-go of the city, and in several parking lots, where we crawled through each and compared notes all the while. After two days of driving, poking and prodding, we came away with an even stronger sense of these four SUVs and the segment as a whole.
As a true comparison test and not a competition, our end goal was not to rank these entries from best to worst but to illuminate the key differences between each so that shoppers like you can more easily find the small luxury SUV that best meets your wants and needs. To that end, they're listed here in alphabetical order.