The idea of a high-end luxury SUV is nothing new: after all, the Range Rover has been around for decades.
But these days, there's a bigger choice of luxury SUVs than ever before, as buyers move away from the traditional big saloon as the luxury car of choice. And those with a healthy budget have their pick of the best luxury SUVs, which will fit in all the family and glide around in supreme comfort.
When it comes to budget, the sky's the limit when it comes to the best luxury SUV, and sure enough, there are some very expensive cars on this list. There are also some more affordable ones, though, and all can be sourced for a good bit less on the used car market. So, whatever your budget, you should find something that suits you.
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Best luxury SUVs 2024
1. Porsche Cayenne
Used prices from £30,000
There was much eyebrow raising when Porsche launched the original Cayenne in 2002 but along with the smaller Macan, it’s now Porsche’s best selling model by a considerable margin. No surprise that other performance brands like Maserati and Lamborghini have followed suit in launching their own SUV models.
The latest Cayenne sees Porsche refine the performance SUV formula, making this by far the best handling SUV around, despite the vast amount of competition. The interior has improved from the previous model, with fewer buttons and a much more slick design.
Models range from the sensible plug-in hybrid Cayenne E-Hybrid up to the thunderous Turbo. There’s even a Turbo S E-Hybrid which combines both to provide no less than 680PS and a 0-62mph time of just 3.8 seconds. If you want something a little more sleek, you can always look for the Cayenne Coupe.
2. Range Rover
Used prices from £92,000
If you’re talking about the best luxury SUVs, you simply have to talk about the Range Rover, the car that arguably started the whole idea of 4x4s being more than just utilitarian off-road machines. The latest model rules the roost when it comes to combining unparalleled comfort with genuine off-road capability.
This is a car that’s as happy on the school run as it is tackling sand dunes and rock-strewn river beds - something which we’ve experienced first hand. Make no mistake, the Range Rover has lost none of its off-road capability. It remains incredibly refined, wafting effortlessly along like a limousine at any speed, with a wonderfully cosseting ride and barely any outside noise thanks to an acoustically laminated windscreen and windows. A roomy, sumptuously trimmed interior that's simply brimming with luxury equipment completes the package
3. BMW X7
Used prices from £55,000
BMW isn’t short of SUVs in its line-up but the X7 dwarfs them all. This is a huge seven-seater that rivals the Range Rover, and at five metres long, it’s big inside and out. You won’t be squeezing this into any small parking spots.
Fortunately, the X7 comes with BMW's Parking Assistant Plus as standard - this has 360-degree cameras and a reversing assistant, able to reverse the car for up to 50 metres by following the same route it took going forward - great for reversing out of a parking bay, for example.
When behind the wheel, you might expect to be intimidated by the size of the X7 in the first instance, but it's not as difficult to drive as its huge dimensions suggest. True, it’s not exactly a looker, but there’s acres of space inside and it’s wonderfully comfortable on long-distance drives.
4. Volvo XC90
Used prices from £25,000
The XC90 represented a huge shift for Volvo as it moved to become a bona fide premium brand that could genuinely rival the likes of Audi and BMW. Along with a beautifully Scandinavian interior, the XC90 is also solidly built, with acres of space inside. Refinement is a real forte of the XC90 and not only is it quiet, but it rides well, too, coping well over poorly surfaced roads.
It's more than just a one-trick pony, though, as the Volvo also handles tidily. Considering this is a big SUV that weighs more than two tonnes, you can happily tackle tight corners with confidence. The front end has plenty of grip and body roll is reasonably well suppressed. Only the over-assisted steering lets it down.
5. Audi Q8
Used prices from £35,000
The Audi Q7 may be the obvious choice here, but for something with a little more style, the Q8 floats our boat. Designed to rival the BMW X6 and the lesser spotted Mercedes GLE Coupe, the Q8 sacrifices outright practicality for style and handling.
Despite having less room inside, the Q8 is actually more expensive than its Q7 sibling. But then it does feel that bit more special and will certainly get more attention. Compared to the bloated X6, the Q8 is a handsome design. On the road, the Q8 manages to nail that balance of offering dynamic handling, while also being a properly comfy SUV. The ride is slightly more fidgety than in, say, a Range Rover Sport, but overall this feels like your archetypal big, refined luxury 4x4.
6. Bentley Bentayga
Used prices from £85,000
The Bentley Bentayga is one of the more expensive cars on our list, but it’s still worthy of inclusion because it’s just such a great all-rounder. Like with all Bentleys, perhaps the most compelling reason to buy one is the sheer class and quality you feel on the inside of the car, with the finest materials and a truly hand-built feel: no carmaker does interiors quite like Bentley. And while it’s not the roomiest or most versatile car on our list, it should be plenty practical enough to satisfy even the well-heeled folk who might buy one.
On the road, the Bentayga strikes a wonderful balance of abilities, combining a cosseting ride with sharp and alert handling, while a range of monstrous engines serve up huge amounts of power along with a soul-stirring soundtrack. It’ll be as expensive to run and it is to buy, but if you can afford to seriously consider buying one, the thought of putting fuel in it isn’t likely to worry you.
7. Jaguar I-Pace
Used prices from £20,000
New electric SUV models have been flooding onto the market like there's no tomorrow in recent years, and although the Jaguar I-Pace pre-dates the vast majority of them, it's still one of the best-driving cars of its type. Few rivals can match its mix of deft handling, involving steering and a comfortable ride.
Okay, so it's no longer a class-leader in terms of performance or range, but it's still very competitive in both areas and so will satisfy drivers who are keen to enjoy its superbly well-rounded driving experience. It also has a roomy interior that looks and feels the part in a luxury SUV, and plenty of luxury equipment is provided as standard.
8. Range Rover Velar
Used prices from £24,000
The Range Rover Velar is one of the more affordable cars on our list, but it’s arguably also one of the most stylish, with its swept-back lines and retractable door handles, so it proves that buying on a budget needn’t mean compromising on elegance. Happily, it looks just as swish on the inside as it does on the outside, with modern design, plush materials and lots of tech. There’s also plenty of space in the five-seat cabin, and a big boot.
It’s a typical Range Rover on the road as well, with a cosseting ride that irons out all but the worst road imperfections, and thanks to its comparatively compact size, it handles pretty keenly for a Range Rover, too. And of course, it wouldn't be a proper Range Rover without some serious off-roading ability, and thankfully, the Velar has that base covered, too.
9. Mercedes-Benz GLE
Used prices from £38,000
The latest Mercedes GLE is a vast improvement on its dated predecessor in every area, most notably the interior, which now finally has the feel of a luxury SUV, crucial when it rivals the excellent BMW X5 and Audi Q7. It’s also bigger than before, which means better cabin space and a bigger boot.
Built in the US, the GLE can’t match the BMW in the handling stakes, but it is at least comfortable thanks to Mercedes S-Class inspired air suspension, which scans the road ahead and adjusts itself to mitigate the impact of potholes and the like.
The 400d 4Matic is the model to go for thanks to its big 3.0-litre diesel engine. The 300d uses a smaller 2.0-litre diesel which, although more economical, isn't quite as refined.
10. Tesla Model X
Used prices from £35,000
A car that needs little introduction, the Tesla Model X is the car that spearheaded EVs in the SUV market. With stunning performance, a long driving range of around 300 miles, and refined driving manners, the Model X has shown that the switch to an electric SUV needn’t mean having to comprise. Crucially, it also beat other manufacturers such as Jaguar and Mercedes, to the punch.
It's a hugely practical choice, too. The huge cabin has loads of space, and thanks partly to its threatrical gullwing rear doors (we won’t judge you for pretending to be in Back to the Future), getting access to the space is also very easy. You can have up to seven seats in your Model X, and of course, Tesla's famous touchscreen system comes as standard.
It won’t surprise you to discover that the cheapest SUV to maintain is a Lexus. The RX, NX and smaller UX are all incredibly reliable and well engineered, meaning low maintenance costs. Toyota and Lexus dealers are rightly renowned as the best in the business when it comes to customer service and satisfaction.
The Rolls Royce Cullinan is the most luxury SUV on the market with an eye watering price tag of £264,000 while the handbuilt Bentley Bentayga luxury SUV starts at £130,000. There’s also the Lamborghini Urus which costs £160,000.
If comfort and ease of access are your priorities, the Lexus RX makes sense as an easy to drive SUV that’s also well-engineered and reliable. If your budget can stretch, the Range Rover is supremely comfortable but more affordable and still comfortable is the Skoda Kodiaq.
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