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 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe, which can be considered hatchbacks due to their sloping rear rooflines. All premium midsize SUVs 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 Buick Enclave is redesigned on a larger platform, gaining fresh styling, new technology features, and a top-line Avenir trim level. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport is freshened with facelifted exterior styling, a revamped interior, and a new infotainment system—a gesture-activated sunblind and an Advanced Tow Assist system are newly available features. The high-performance Range Rover Sport SVR model gets a 25-hp bump, to 575. Also, Land Rover is planning to add a plug-in-hybrid version of the Range Rover Sport as a 2019 model. After its debut for 2017, the Land Rover Discovery is slated to add an off-road-performance SVX model that includes Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 and Hydraulic Active Roll Control systems and a 515-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V8.
The Infiniti QX60 loses its hybrid model but is otherwise unchanged. The Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE43 models get a bump from 362 to 385 horsepower, and the GLE43 Coupe offers some new appearance options. The Porsche Cayenne is carried over unchanged for 2018, but an all-new redesigned model is set to debut for 2019. The Infiniti QX70 and Volkswagen Touareg are discontinued; the Touareg has essentially been replaced by the new-for-2018 Volkswagen Atlas, which is positioned as a mainstream-market model. The rest of the class is either unchanged or sees slight alterations such as a shuffling of standard and optional equipment, updated infotainment features, and/or minor trim revisions.
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.
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 575-horsepower supercharged V8. The Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE63 has a 550- or 577-horsepower turbocharged V8, and the Porsche Cayenne can be had with a 570-horsepower turbocharged V8.