Despite the lofty purchase prices involved here—or maybe because of them—the premium midsize crossover class contains a surprising number of contenders. Although the least expensive entries start in the mid-$30,000 range, most starting prices hover in the low $40,000s, with others stretching above $50,000. And that’s to start. Some approach (or top) $100,000 in their fanciest form.
But the lower-cost models, at least, offer quite a bit for the money, and aren’t significantly pricier than “regular” midsize crossovers when similarly equipped. And it’s easy to justify any extra expense through a combination of ritzier interior materials and a more prestigious nameplate.
All vehicles in this class are 4-door wagons except the BMW X6, which is considered a “hatchback” due to its sloping rear roofline. All offer all-wheel drive—and on a few, it’s the only way they come—and the rest are about evenly split between front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive being standard.
The premium midsize crossover/SUV class sees two all-new models for 2017. The Cadillac XT5 replaces the SRX in Cadillac’s model lineup. The XT5 is a thoroughly conventional 5-passenger luxury midsize crossover SUV with a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6 and a host of high-end features. The all-new 2017 Land Rover Discovery is slated to debut in mid-2017 as a replacement for the discontinued LR4. The Discovery is a three-row, 7-passenger SUV with a supercharged 340-hp V6, an available diesel V6, and Land Rover’s characteristic off-road capability.
Most of the class sees only minor updates this year. The BMW X5 and X6 now offer wireless device charging and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. The Buick Enclave adds a Sport Touring Edition package with a special grille and 20-inch wheels. The Infiniti QX60 receives an updated 3.5-liter V6 with a 30-horsepower increase (295 from 265), an available motion-activated power liftgate, and an updated infotainment system. The Infiniti QX70 gets a new Limited option package that adds unique front-end styling. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport adds Blind Spot Assist, Intelligent Speed Limiter, and Advanced Tow Assist technologies, as well as an upgraded standard touchscreen system. The Lexus RX lineup now offers a front-wheel-drive F Sport model, the Lexus Safety System Plus is now standard equipment, and the blind-spot warning system with rear-cross traffic alert adds an automatic braking feature.
The Porsche Cayenne adds limited-run Platinum Edition models and gets an updated infotainment system. Both the Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg have discontinued their available diesel engines, at least temporarily. The Lexus GX 460 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class see no significant changes. Information on the 2017 Lincoln MKT and MKX was unavailable as of this writing; we don’t expect any major updates for the MKX, and the MKT is likely to be discontinued.
Although fuel economy isn’t typically a big concern for vehicles in this price range, the class includes six hybrids and two diesels. Hybrid versions are offered in the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Porsche Cayenne, and Volvo XC90; all but the Acura and Lexus are plug-in hybrids. The GLE-Class, Cayenne, and XC90 are powerful hybrids that favor performance as much as fuel efficiency; they all have 400 horsepower or more. Premium midsize SUVs currently offering a diesel engine are the BMW X5 and Land Rover Range Rover Sport; it’s possible that the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class will offer a diesel in the near future.
Beyond that, several models come in high-performance trim. The BMW X5 M and X6 M have a 567-hp turbocharged V8. The Range Rover Sport is available with a 510- or 550-horsepower supercharged V8. The Mercedes-Benz GLE63 has a 550- or 577-horsepower turbocharged V8, and the Porsche Cayenne can be had with a 570-horsepower turbocharged V8.