When you’re searching for a luxury mid-size SUV, it’s important to consider all of your options like the luxe Mercedes-Benz GLE, the stylish Porsche Cayenne, or the practical Volvo XC90.
An Audi Q8 may seem like the obvious choice when it comes to luxury mid-sized SUVs—and for good reason! This comfortable, stylish ride will exceed your expectations and take care of your daily driver tasks without skipping a beat. But what if your needs aren’t quite what you imagined? Is there another mid-size SUV that could be a better fit?
1. Mercedes-Benz GLE
Starting price: $57,200 to $81,200
Selling points: High-tech cabin, upscale appointments, spacious seating
Weak spot: Best features have high price tags, snug optional third row, stiff ride
If you think a Mercedes is best left to the suburban streets, the
Mercedes-Benz GLEwould politely ask you to reconsider. With shocking off-road capabilities and powerful engine upgrade options, the Mercedes-Benz GLE has a trick or two up its sleeve to keep you on your toes while satisfying your wildest desires.
If you’re not looking for an SUV for a family just yet but don’t want to buy another new car when you start expanding your family, the GLE offers an optional third row that can be taken out or stowed when not in use. While its seating volume is snug for adults, it’s perfect for kids. Plus, you won’t blow your family’s budget on gas when you keep the base engine—you’ll get 22 mpg combined.
2. BMW X6
Starting price: $71,095
Selling points: Stylish interior, awesome standard equipment
Weak spot: Confusing infotainment menus, huge price jump
Don’t mind the slightly lumpy appearance—on the inside, the
BMW X6is all style. Two large 12.3-inch digital displays dominate the dashboard, though they’re a little confusing to navigate. The interior is all leather and soft-touch surfaces, classic to BMW’s trademark. If you’re into fussy technology, you’ll love the gesture controls for volume and the like, but overall such additions are mostly unnecessary.
You can choose between an inline-six-cylinder engine or a powerful V8 when you purchase a BMW X6, but unless you crave the power a V8 offers, you’d do just fine with the standard six-cylinder like the rest of us. A hushed interior at cruising speeds makes for a comfortable ride coupled with smooth steering and the gripping quality of the tires.
BMW car-buying guide
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3. Acura RDX
Starting price: $40,345 to $55,295
Selling points: Less expensive than rivals, generous standard features
Weak spot: Clumsy transmission, some packages are all superficial
The phrase “budget option” conjures images of ratty interiors pockmarked with cigarette stains and a weird smell that just won’t quit. The
Acura RDXseeks to change that ugly stereotype by being roomy, comfortable, and sporty all at an affordable price.
The RDX packs 272 horsepower, but you wouldn’t know it from the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine’s slow response time when you press on the accelerator. While it’s not ideal for quick highway drives, its quick response time at slow speeds makes it a winner for stop-and-go traffic you’d find within a city. The handling leaves a lot to be desired, too—it feels stiff and choppy. Still, not a bad choice for a budget option when you’re not looking to spend $60k on a new car.
4. Porsche Cayenne
Starting price: $70,350
Selling points: Impressive tow capacity, drives more like a sports car
Weak spot: Firm ride, low small-item storage options, too many costly options
If you’re looking for a luxury SUV that’s endlessly customizable, the
Porsche Cayennemight be the car for you. From exterior paint to interior appointments, Porsche offers nearly endless options to put your own touch on your Cayenne. Be forewarned though—these options quickly add up and can get pretty expensive before you know it.
Overall, the Porsche Cayenne is a deliberately graceful vehicle that rounds corners easily and comfortably, despite being a little bumpy on uneven terrain. You can keep track of it all on your 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system mounted on the center of the dashboard, complete with voice controls. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as well as providing a WiFi hotspot.
5. Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Starting price: $72,250
Selling points: Lush interior, high-end appearance
Weak spot: Glitchy infotainment, tight third row
If you’ve been dreaming of a Range Rover without the serious coinage needed, it’s time to give the
Land Rover Range Rover Sporta second glance. Offered at a less expensive starting price than its more expensive siblings, the Range Rover Sport still includes all the Range Rover standards like off-roading capabilities and all-wheel drive.
You can control the climate and entertainment from dual 10-inch infotainment screens, but don’t expect lighting speed. The response time is pretty low considering what’s available from its competitors, but the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration make up for it. Overall, this is a ride that delivers on luxury without requiring an overly steep price tag topping $100k.
6. Lexus RX 350
Starting price: $46,995 to $59,185
Selling points: Fuel efficient, very comfortable ride
Weak spot: A little slow, confusing infotainment design
Are you the type of person who loves having a lot of choices when choosing a car? The
Lexus RX 350has loads of options for you to choose between, from a powerful V6 or eco-friendly hybrid powertrain to your seating arrangement.
Whatever your final choices are, you’ll find a smooth, luxurious ride at the end. Leather seats, wood trims, soft-touch plastics, and more all await you in the finely appointed cabin. You won’t be sacrificing practicality for comfort though—there’s lots of cargo space whether or not you fold the rear seats! Even though the infotainment system leaves a lot to be desired, the Lexus RX 350 is still a great choice for anyone looking to upgrade their SUV experience.
7. Infiniti QX60
Starting price: $47,875 to $61,375
Selling points: Elegant, smooth-shifting, great storage space
Weak spot: Stiff ride, no Android Auto available
As one of the three models on our list with a third row, the
Infiniti QX60is a great choice for families. Unlike many competitors, the third row on the QX60 is surprisingly roomy for children and small adults, though you might want to let your 6-foot friend sit in the front seat where they’ll find leather upholstery and ventilated seats with a massage option.
Plus, you’ll find an improvement to the gearbox on the new QX60—shifting is now smoother, even though the overall ride is a little stiff. Lush cabin appointments make for a comfortable drive, all things considered, and you’ll even have the tow capacity to take the family’s boat to the lake for the weekend—up to 6,000 pounds!
8. Volvo XC90
Starting price: $51,995
Selling points: Quick PHEV option, feels more expensive than it is
Weak spot: Bumpy ride, rival PHEVs are more efficient
Volvo XC90is the only three-row option on our list that comes with a standard third row, making it one of the top choices for families. Despite the low
XC90 towing capacitycompared with other models on this list, the ample seating choices and cargo storage space make it a top choice for a family camping adventure this weekend.
What makes the XC90 so unique is the economic range it provides. The average family can afford one and its base luxuries if they skip the extra features, or you could add details like a heated steering wheel or an air purification system until you reach the top price tier.
With tight handling, quick acceleration, and optional air suspension, these elements combine to make a smooth, comfortable ride for all passengers.
Audi Q8 vs. the competition
Want to see it all laid out? Below is our side-by-side comparison of the 2022 Audi Q8 with its fiercest competitors.
Starting price range
Maximum seating capacity
Maximum cargo volume
Maximum towing capacity
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined)
$71,995 to $82,095
60.1 cubic feet
$57,200 to $81,200
4-cylinder, V6, or V8
5 to 7
80.3 cubic feet
$71,095 to $90,095
3.0 L Inline-6 or V8
59.6 cubic feet
$40,345 to $55,295
58.9 cubic feet
$70,350 to $110,350
V6, V8, or PHEV powertrain
60.3 cubic feet
$72,250 to $87,050
5 to 7
63.7 cubic feet
5,511 to 7,716 pounds
$46,995 to $59,185
V6 or hybrid powertrain
5 to 7
58.5 cubic feet
$47,875 to $61,375
6 to 7
75.4 cubic feet
$51,995 to $72,195
Turbocharged 4-cylinder or PHEV powertrain
65.5 cubic feet
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Choosing between so many great models is a tough choice, especially if you’re thinking about a model we haven’t featured here. Don’t rush yourself when making the decision—great choices take time.
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