A Rolex signifies a lot of luxury in a small form. A compact luxury SUV is similar. With a classy design, luxury appointments, and loaded with tech, these SUVs are compact enough for everyday driving, but skip nothing in the name of refinement. Looking for a Rolex you can drive? Here are the five best compact luxury SUVs.
Sit inside the GLC and you’ll immediately see why it’s a popular compact SUV. Sumptuous might be the best word for the world class materials and excellent design. With impressive headroom and legroom, you’ll think it’s the larger G-Class. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder, standard for this class, but the GLC manages an above average 241 horsepower. That motivation passes through a smooth nine-speed auto to either the front or all four wheels. The baby Benz is packed with safety tech including active collision avoidance and crosswind assist. In that last one, the computer monitors readings from the brakes, steering, and stability control sensors, and can take subtle corrective action when it senses a crosswind. You’ll never notice it working, but you might notice a lack of driving drama on a windy day.
Buy the GLC if you drive often and value comfort above all else.
The Lexus RX looks like the sports car of the bunch, but don’t let its looks fool you. The RX has one of the smoothest rides you can get in this class, feeling more like a LS460 than sports car. The interior matches the suspension, with some of the comfiest seats anywhere. The 12.3-inch infotainment screen is massive, bright, and responds quickly. Power backs up the exterior looks, with 295 horsepower from a 3.5-liter V6 in RX350 trim. Sign up for the RX450h, and a hybrid motor brings the total to 308 horsepower. Ever notice how those EPA gas mileage figures never seem possible? RX owners love that the gas or hybrid RX seems to exceed the EPA numbers on a regular basis. Reliability and resale value are strong here too. Unusual for this class, Lexus debuted a third-row option for the RX in 2018.
If you want aggressive looks with a quiet interior, Lexus has your next ride.
Coming up on a decade after it first debuted, the smallest Land Rover still turns heads. Part of that hot look is due to the deeply slanted roof line, which looks like nothing else on the road. Unfortunately, that low roof compromises cargo space, and the Evoque has the smallest cargo area of the SUVs listed here. Still, if that’s not a deal breaker for you, the Evoque does have a lot to offer besides charm. The interior is almost as striking as the outside, and looks even better under the huge optional panoramic glass roof. The seats can be loaded up with heating, cooling, and a massage feature, and the leather is remarkably soft. It’s truly capable too, as all-wheel-drive is standard, and the adaptive MagnaRide suspension feels sporty, like it borrowed something from Jaguar. Speaking of, the turbo 2.0-liter is borrowed from the excellent Jaguar XE. Unlike the XE, you can get a convertible version of the Evoque if you insist on getting all the looks.
If you’re reading this on an iMac Pro, you need an Evoque.
Modern Cadillacs seem to have gone to graduate school. Art and science were the XT5’s focus, and it’s proud to tell you about them both. On the art side, those LED auto-dimming headlights are huge jewels set in the edgy stealth fighter angles of the sheet metal. On the science side, the XT5 is both lighter, quicker, and quieter than the SRX it replaced. Cadillac brings under hood firepower too, with a 3.6-liter V6 making 310 horsepower. That sounds like a lot for this class, but the Caddy is on the larger end of compact, so the bigger engine fits while keeping the interior spacious. Headroom and visibility are impressive for the front passengers, while the rear seats recline for passenger comfort, and the cargo space is best in class. Need to keep the kids entertained? Let them YouTube the entire drive, with 4G LTE WiFi availability and Apple CarPlay.
The XT5 is your pick if you’d rather have a Shinola over a Rolex.
The Audi Q5 is an interesting drive because it has the best bits from Germany. That’s not hyperbole, because Audi’s parent company VW also uses this chassis under the excellent Porsche Macan. The interior is an upscale and minimalist design, while the exterior is modern and sharp. The instantly recognizable Audi sport sedan grille up front looks great here, as few design a front end as well as Audi. The Porsche underneath that Audi bodywork lets the sporty character come through in the steering feel and confident handling in corners. The brakes are impressive too, but you’ll likely never need them in an emergency as the Q5 is loaded with active safety features. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 makes 240 horsepower, but shines with 31 MPG highway, even with AWD. A supercharged 3.0-liter gas V6 generates 272 horsepower for solid passing speed. The eight-speed auto shifts incredibly quick, but shifts are smooth and don’t disturb ride quality.
The Q5 is your ride if you want a wolf in wolf’s clothing.