Characteristics of the Best Compact Luxury SUVs
Just about every automotive brand has a small luxury SUV to present to consumers, each with its own sense of style and a value proposition it hopes will compare well against rivals. These differences mean that shared traits can be hard to pinpoint, but there are certain qualities that you should be on the lookout for in the top compact luxury SUVs:
- Size: Obviously, the best small-size luxury SUVs must have the dimensions needed to slot them into the segment. The overall length does limit the total volume, which affects both passenger and cargo capacity. Still, a smaller footprint also makes these cars easier to maneuver around town and park in otherwise tricky spots.
- Performance: Compact luxury SUVs don’t need a V6 to feel peppy, but the turbocharged engines or electric powertrains that are common in the segment give them plenty of oomph. Spirited driving isn’t always the focus here, but some can be very enjoyable. As with most premium vehicles, the best small luxury SUVs are all about feeling effortless to pilot.
- Comfort: Crossovers and SUVs are naturally smooth riders on the road, though some do tout a modicum of off-road capabilities. In comparison, compact luxury SUVs often come equipped with adaptable air suspensions that make you feel like you’re driving a sumptuous sofa on wheels. The addition of sophisticated comfort-focused features further helps these cars feel like the true lap of luxury.
- Price: You’d expect the top small luxury SUVs to cost you a fair amount of money, but that isn’t always the case. They are a lot less expensive than a full-size model, and while they don’t get the best gas mileage, they are reasonably economical. If you opt for a hybrid or EV, you can really get a good deal over the course of your car’s lifespan.
What to Consider When Buying Small Luxury SUVs
Even the best small luxury SUVs have their drawbacks, which are worth considering if you’re looking to buy a new car. Use this list of pros and cons to help you determine if this is the right segment for you.
- Good-looking models
- Powerful but refined engines
- Extremely smooth ride
- Loads of advanced safety and driver-assistance features
- Their small size makes them easy to drive around town
- Less expensive and more economical than larger SUVs
- Limited passenger and cargo space
- More expensive than average, run-of-the-mill SUVs
- May require premium fuel
What’s the best small luxury SUV in 2022?
With manufacturers vying for top honors, there are many excellent examples. At the top of our compact luxury SUV ratings are models like the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the Volvo XC40, and the Lexus NX Hybrid that tick all the boxes for luxury, class, comfort, and performance.
Are there any affordable compact luxury SUVs?
The BMW X1 is one of the cheapest premium SUVs at around the mid-$30k mark, while the Audi Q3 is only a bit more expensive. Cheaper than both is the Lexus UX, which is available with both a gas and hybrid powertrain.
Are small luxury SUVs fuel efficient?
Because they have less weight to haul around, small SUVs are less thirsty than their full-size siblings. As they are often at the top of their respective ranges for performance as much as luxury, they won’t be as frugal as some of the more budget-oriented SUVs on the market. Hybrid and electric options in the segment are a worthy consideration, however.