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Best value in 2-row luxury suv's

2017 Porsche Cayenne Front Exterior
iKnowAuto Staff
Three decades ago we saw the demise of the station wagon and a rush to buy a new kind of vehicle, the SUV. Americans liked the high ride and the voluminous cargo space. It was almost like owning a truck. In fact, the SUV was built like, and rode like, a truck. They were body on frame construction.
DEC 13, 2017

It didn’t take long for buyers to tire of the stiff truck ride so manufacturers obliged them by building SUVs on unibody platforms, the same platforms as cars. Once SUVs started behaving like cars, it didn’t take long for the builders to start providing the same convenience and luxury features as automobiles.

And that brings us to the best luxury SUVs. This list is based on selections made by U.S. News and is based on best value not highest cost. Value is determined by rating safety, reliability, and retained value among other things. The SUVs are not ranked best to worst because different families have different requirements. You make the decision of which of these “best values” is right for you.

2017 Porsche Cayenne – MSRP $59,600

Did we mention that competition in this class is fierce? That’s why you see Porsche jump in with a vehicle type you wouldn’t normally expect from a sports car brand. In truth, the Cayenne is a sports car, just shaped like a SUV. It has a variety of powerful engines to pick from, has firm and sporty handling, and you can adjust the suspension to select the kind of ride you are in the mood for. The seats are comfortable and well bolstered to keep driver and passenger in place if an urge for a ride on the wild side strikes.

It does not have as much cargo space (62.9 cu. Ft.) as most competitors. It does have a number of cubbie spaces for storage of small items. The 7-inch touchscreen is also smaller than most although it does have gesture controls. The biggest drawback is the price. And it can get higher quickly with the addition of options.

2017 Porsche Cayenne Front Exterior
2017 Porsche Cayenne Interior
2017 Porsche Cayenne Rear Exterior
2017 Volkswagen Touareg – MSRP $49,495

This Volkswagen has a number of “pros” which makes it competitive for this class. For starters, it has the most generous warranty at 10 years or 100,000 miles. Cargo wise it is average with 64 cu. ft. Safety wise it rates 10 out of 10. Plenty of tech comes as standard including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, parking sensors and rear camera. The Touareg sports an 8-inch infotainment screen, navigation, Bluetooth, and 18 gigabytes storage for audio files standard. Seating is roomy and the front seats are heated and ventilated.

On the “con” side, VW only offers one engine and it’s a tad on the underpowered side. Also, the base price is fairly high considering the lack of ultra-luxury features found on the others in the class.

2017 Volkswagen Touareg
2017 Volkswagen Touareg
 2017 BMW X6 – MSRP $61,400

Another SUV that with its curved roof does not resemble the traditional design. Like the Porsche Cayenne, the BMW X6 has exceptional sports handling (300 hp. Base engine) and the interior is leather wrapped comfort for the driver and front passenger. Rear passengers over 6 foot will be challenged by the sloping rear roofline.

At 53.9 cu. ft. of cargo space, the BMW X6 provides only slightly more space than a large trunk on a sedan. On the plus side, its 12-way adjustable heated and cooled seats, 10.2-inch touchscreen, and an array of luxury features make the experience very enjoyable. However, your bank account may not enjoy its very high base price.

 2017 BMW X6 Exterior
 2017 BMW X6 Interior
 2017 BMW X6 Exterior
2017 Lincoln MKX – MSRP $38,260

It’s a Lincoln so it’s big. It has an excellent safety rating and a reliability rating above average for the segment. The MKX looks like a traditional SUV and has the cargo space (68.8 cu. ft.) to prove it. You can haul skis or even a bike in the cargo space. The power liftgate is standard but for real luxury upgrade to the hands-free automatic liftgate. All you have to do is wave your foot under the rear bumper to open it.

Both the front seats and rear seats are roomy and comfortable. Upgrade to the 22-point massage seats for a true luxury experience. It isn’t a sporty ride like the Porsche or BMW, and it’s a bit of a gas guzzler at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. But with a starting base price $10,000 to $20,000 lower than the competition it is definitely a SUV you want to consider.

2017 Lincoln MKX Exterior
2017 Lincoln MKX Interior
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE – MSRP $52,000

Any luxury list would not be complete without at least one Mercedes-Benz on it. For the SUV segment, it is the GLE, a traditional styled vehicle with an amazing 80.3 cu. ft. of storage capacity. Standard equipment in the GLE includes an 8-inch display, two USB ports, and Bluetooth, all controlled by a central knob. Interior trim consists of eucalyptus wood and Nappa leather. Fit and finish are typical Mercedes-Benz perfection.

Critics say visibility in the GLE is poor in all directions. It’s not surprising that it comes with a rearview camera as standard equipment. The “start-stop” feature which Mercedes pioneered, is described as jerky compared to others in the segment but the GLE does have a higher EPA rating than most. Lastly, Mercedes-Benz is not cheap and the GLE is no exception. However, with a high rating for reliability it’s likely that maintenance costs will be below those in the rest of the class.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE Interior
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior
If you are looking for an upscale SUV you can’t go wrong by starting your search with the vehicles on this list.