Practicality with Presence

The luxury compact SUV category continues to be one of the country's fastest-growing vehicle segments. For a few thousand dollars more than the compact luxury sedans on which most are based, these five-passenger crossover SUVs offer far more cargo utility, a loftier look at the road ahead and greater parking-lot presence.

And compared to larger crossover SUVs, this group is more nimble and more fuel-efficient.

In fact, choosing to buy a small luxury sport/utility vehicle is an easier decision than settling on one of the segment's many good choices. Whether you're more interested in performance or comfort, power or fuel economy, or a just-right mix of everything, one of the models below has your name on it.

In alphabetical order:

2018 Acura RDX

Starting Price: $36,995

The RDX brings together the sharp styling, high-tech features and high-quality practicality that Acura is known for, in a small, easily maneuverable package. Read More

2018 Audi Q5

Starting Price: $42,475

Audi's all-new Q5, KBB's Luxury SUV Best Buy of 2018, brings together modern design, one of the best-looking interiors in the segment, endless comfort and no shortage of performance. Read More

2018 Buick Envision

Starting Price: $34,990

The new Envision brings together Buick's trademark comfort and quiet with impressive tech and contemporary style. Read More

 

2018 BMW X3

Starting Price: $43,445

New for 2018, the BMW X3, owners get to enjoy the driving dynamics of BMW's sport sedans, with the added functionality of a SUV. Read More

2017 Infiniti QX50

Starting Price: $35,645

Infiniti put its unique spin on the compact luxury SUV segment with the QX50. And an all-new QX50 is coming for 2019. Read More

2018 Jaguar F-Pace

Starting Price: $43,060

Jaguar's first-ever SUV has the performance, luxury and good looks to take on the establishment. Read More

2018 Lexus NX

Starting Price: $36,980

A spirited little brother to the RX, with the same reputation for comfort, resale, and reliability. Read More

2018 Lincoln MKC

Starting Price: $34,280

The Lincoln MKC is a comfortable, quiet escape on your daily drive. Read More

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC

Starting Price: $41,045

The sporty, refined GLC slots between the smaller GLA-Class and the midsize GLE. Read More

2018 Porsche Macan

Starting Price: $48,850

The Macan is the second SUV in the Porsche lineup, and it places an even higher priority on sports-car-like performance than its big brother, the Cayenne. Read More

2018 Range Rover Evoque

Starting Price: $42,795

One of the most distinctly styled SUVs in the segment, the Range Rover Evoque is also the only one available in a 2-door configuration, as well as a convertible. Read More

2017 Volvo XC60

Starting Price: $41,945

Volvo's XC60 is a nice place to spend a few hours, with an airy cabin and a pleasant demeanor. Read More

Actual Price

Most luxury compact SUVs start in the mid-to-upper $30,000 range, but the average transaction price in the category is in the low $40,000 range.

The lowest starting sticker price belongs to the 2017 Lincoln MKC, with a base MSRP of less than $34,000. The Porsche Macan sits at the other end of the spectrum, topping out well into the six-figure range when you add necessities like $8,100 ceramic brakes and a 16-speaker Burmester audio system.

What's New/Next

The 2018 model year is a big one for the segment. The Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 have been completely redesigned, while Alfa Romeo joins the party with the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

Some of the Best

You'll find a few of these SUVs highlighted on our most recent lists of 10 Best Luxury SUVs10 Most Fun SUVs and 10 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs.

Hybrid and Diesel Options

For buyers who'd prefer to take the electric avenue to greater efficiency, the Lexus dealership is the appropriate destination. The Lexus NX 300h returns 31 mpg combined. If you want a diesel engine, consider the Jaguar F-Pace, which nets 29 combined mpg.

All-Weather Drive

Every luxury compact SUV is available with the added traction of all-wheel drive, but more are offering the option of two-wheel drive in the interest of increased fuel economy and decreased price. Unless you live where it snows or drive there regularly, two-wheel drive is likely all you need.

Performance Plus

Many of these models can be surprisingly fun to drive when pushed, but standouts include the Porsche Macan and the sport variant of the Audi Q5, the SQ5. The Macan Turbo offers 400 horsepower and will scream to 60 mph in as few as 4.4 seconds, while many KBB.com editors have called the Audi SQ5 the best SUV they've ever driven.

One Size Smaller

If you're willing and able to go with something smaller, your options are multiplying like rabbits. In alphabetical order your choices consist of the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Buick EncoreInfiniti QX30, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Sweden's latest, the all-new 2019 Volvo XC40.  

 

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