Despite the lofty purchase prices involved, the premium midsize crossover class is a thriving category with a number of popular contenders. All starting prices are above $40,000, and some hover in the $50K range. Several 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, a higher level of available features, and a more prestigious nameplate.
All vehicles in this class are 4-door wagons except the BMW X6, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe, and Porsche Cayenne Coupe, which have hatchback-like 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.
HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2022
The Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 are both redesigned after skipping the 2021 model year. The MDX rides an all-new, slightly larger platform and wears sleek new styling and upgraded interior materials. New features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen controlled by Acura’s True Touchpad interface, and a 10-speed automatic transmission in place of the previous 9-speed. The QX60 shares its basic underpinnings with the Nissan Pathfinder, which is also redesigned for 2022. The new QX60 gets crisp new styling, a much more luxurious cabin with several new technology features, and a 9-speed automatic transmission in place of the previous continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The BMW X5 gets a specially trimmed Black Vermillion Edition, and the fastback-roof X6 loses its rear-wheel-drive 6-cylinder model—AWD is now standard. The Buick Enclave is refreshed via an exterior styling facelift, a push-button shifter instead of a conventional lever, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, and more standard driver-assist features. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport loses its available plug-in-hybrid and diesel powertrains. The Lexus GX 460 gets a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, as well as a specially trimmed Black Line Special Edition model. The Maserati Levante lineup gets a trim-level revamp, as well as slight horsepower bumps for its V6 engines. The Porsche Cayenne Coupe adds a Turbo GT model with a 631-hp twin-turbo V8, specially tuned chassis, and unique trim inside and out. A redesigned version of the Volvo XC90 is expected to debut in the near future.
MODELS THAT OFFER SOMETHING UNUSUAL
Although fuel economy isn’t typically a primary concern for vehicles in this price range, the class includes a few hybrids. Hybrid versions are offered in the BMW X5, Lexus RX, Lincoln Aviator, Porsche Cayenne, and Volvo XC90. All but the Lexus are plug-in hybrids, and those plug-ins are powerful machines that favor performance as much as fuel efficiency—they all have nearly 400 horsepower or more.
Beyond that, several models come in high-performance trim. The BMW X5 M and X6 M offer a turbocharged V8 with up to 617 hp. The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is available in AMG 63 S form with 603 horsepower. The Range Rover Sport is available with a 518- or 575-horsepower supercharged V8. The Maserati Levante Modena S has a 550-hp turbo 3.8-liter V8, and the Trofeo version has 580 hp. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid pairs a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with a plug-in-hybrid system for a total of 671 horsepower.
Vehicles in the Premium Midsize Crossover/SUV class:
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Lexus GX 460