Some vehicles are placed in this class more for their “premium” status than for being exceptionally large. In fact, there’s quite a size difference between the smallest in the class and the largest, though all are plenty spacious in the grand scheme of things. In terms of length, the smallest entry is the Audi Q8 at 196.6 inches stem to stern. Contrast that to the longest—the Cadillac Escalade ESV—at 227 inches. But the Q8 starts above $70,000 and the super-performance RS Q8 version starts above $116,000, so we feel its inclusion in the class is entirely justified.
Speaking of prices, the least expensive vehicle in this class— the Audi Q7—starts around $57,000, so consider that the ante. The rest start above $65,000 and go up considerably from there.
All but a couple of the SUVs on this list offer versions with three rows of seats, typically with 7- or 8-passenger capacity. They all either come standard with all-wheel drive or offer it in place of rear-wheel drive.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2022
Jeep enters the modern-day premium large SUV class by reviving a name from its past on a new-for-2022 SUV. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is a lavishly trimmed version of Jeep’s Wagoneer large SUV, which also launches for ‘22. Among the Grand Wagoneer’s features are a standard 471-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V8, optional 23-speaker McIntosh-brand premium audio system, Amazon Fire TV connectivity, and up to four dashboard digital-display screens for 44 inches of total screen space.
Land Rover is using a somewhat confusing strategy to launch its redesigned Range Rover. The new-generation model debuts as a 2022, and will be sold alongside the outgoing-generation Range Rovers, which are also 2022s. The all-new Range Rover will offer a 395-hp turbocharged 6-cylinder or a 523-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 at first. Other powertrains, including a 434-hp plug-in hybrid and a pure-electric version, are slated to follow in subsequent model years. For its swan-song year, the outgoing-generation Range Rover loses its plug-in-hybrid and diesel powertrains.
Lexus launches a redesigned LX model based on the all-new “LC300” platform of the redesigned-for-2022 Toyota Land Cruiser (which will not be sold in the United States—Toyota has elected to discontinue the Land Cruiser on our shores, at least temporarily, after the 2021 model year). The new LX is named LX 600 instead of LX 570; it receives new off-road-focused technology features, the new Lexus Interface infotainment system, brash new styling with an extra-large grille, and a 409-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 in place of the previous 5.7-liter V8.
The Infiniti QX80 gets a new infotainment system with a 12.3-inch screen in place of the previous dual-screen system, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity and a wireless smartphone charger. The Lincoln Navigator gets refreshed exterior styling, an updated infotainment system with over-the-air updates and a larger touchscreen, and newly available technology features that include the Lincoln ActiveGlide hands-free-driving assist system.
MODELS THAT OFFER SOMETHING UNUSUAL
The Land Rover Range Rover, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and Lexus LX 600 offer a higher level of rough-terrain capability than the other vehicles in this class. Deep-pocketed shoppers with a need for speed should look to the Audi Q8, Range Rover, and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class lines: The outgoing-generation Range Rover offers supercharged 5.0-liter V8 models with 518 or 557 horsepower, the Audi RS Q8 has 591 hp, and the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS63 has 603 hp (though the availability of Mercedes’s V-8 engines is in question for 2022).