The premium compact crossover/SUV class continues to be a very popular category. The segment has swelled significantly the last few years, and for 2022 there are two new additions.
The least expensive premium compact crossover SUV (the Buick Envision) starts around $32,000, while the most expensive (the Land Rover Range Rover Velar) starts around $57,000 in base form and more than $90,000 in topline trim. Most competitors are grouped in the mid-$30,000 to mid-$40,000 range to start, though in all cases, options can boost the bottom line considerably.
All models come only as 4-door wagons except the sloped-roof Audi Q5 Sportback, BMW X4, Infiniti QX55, and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe “hatchbacks,” and the two-door version of the Land Rover Defender. Some come standard with all-wheel drive (the Audi Q5, BMW X4, Genesis GV70, Infiniti QX55, Jaguar F-Pace, Porsche Macan, and the three Land Rovers), while it’s an option on all others. Those that come standard with front-wheel drive include the Acura RDX, Buick Envision, Cadillac XT4, Infiniti QX50, and Volvo XC60. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio, BMW X3, and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class come standard with rear-wheel drive.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2022
Hyundai’s luxury division, Genesis, introduces its first compact SUV for 2022. The Genesis GV70 slots in below the midsize Genesis GV80 and offers a choice of a 300-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 375-hp turbo V6. The Infiniti QX55, a fastback-roof “sport utility coupe” version of the QX50, also launches as a 2022 model. The Lexus NX is redesigned on a slightly larger platform, gaining new styling, an expanded powertrain lineup (with Lexus’s first plug-in-hybrid model) and an all-new touchscreen-based infotainment system.
The Acura RDX gets an exterior styling facelift, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, a wireless charging pad, and new safety-tech features. The BMW X3 loses its plug-in-hybrid xDrive30e model but gains a styling facelift, an available 12.3-inch touchscreen, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system for the M40i model (the X3’s fastback-roof X4 sibling gets similar updates). The Land Rover Defender gets a couple new special-edition models and an available 518-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine. The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class adds a top-line high-performance AMG GLC 63 S version with a 503-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. The Porsche Macan gets slight styling tweaks, a horsepower bump for its base 4-cylinder, and some trim-level shuffling. The Volvo XC60 wears mildly updated styling, swaps its T5 and T6 engines for similar “B5” and “B6” 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrains, and gets a new Google-developed infotainment system.
MODELS THAT OFFER SOMETHING UNUSUAL
There aren’t any entries with features that really stand out here, save for the Audi Q5 Sportback, BMW X4, Infiniti QX55, and Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe “hatchbacks” and the off-road-focused Land Rover Defender. The available high-performance engines in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, BMW X3 and X4, Jaguar F-PACE, Land Rover Defender, Mercedes AMGs, Porsche Macan, and the sporty SQ5 variant of Audi’s Q5—all of which produce 300 hp or more—are noteworthy too.
There are five hybrids offered in the class. The Lexus NX 350h is a regular hybrid, and the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e quattro, Lexus NX 450h+, Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring, and Volvo XC60 T8 are plug-in hybrids (note that some of these hybrids are focused on performance as much as fuel economy).
Vehicles in the Premium Compact Crossover/SUV class:
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover Range Rover Velar