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 rearwheel drive being standard.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2020

The class gets two all-new contenders for 2020. The Cadillac XT6 is an all-new three-row SUV that slots in between the XT5 and the Escalade in Cadillac’s lineup. All XT6s are powered by a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6 and are available with the expected roster of upscale features, including an infrared Night Vision system. An all-new Lincoln Aviator, based on the redesigned Ford Explorer, arrives to take the place of the discontinued MKT in Lincoln’s model lineup. The Aviator’s standard engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 400 horsepower; topline trim levels have a plug-in-hybrid version of that powertrain that makes 494 hp.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is redesigned, gaining a host of new technology features, including an E-Active Body Control suspension system that makes the vehicle feel more stable in turns; a redesigned GLE-Class Coupe variant follows as a 2021 model. The BMW X6 is redesigned, migrating to the new platform that its X5 sibling inaugurated last year. The BMW X5 adds a M50i model with a 523-hp turbo 4.4 V8. The X5 and X6 are both set to add high-performance M models powered by a twin-turbo V8 with 600 horsepower, or 617 hp with the Competition package. The X5 is also slated to get a plug-in-hybrid xDrive45e version for the 2021 model year.

The Buick Enclave adds a Sport Touring appearance package, an updated infotainment system, and available massaging front seats. The Cadillac XT5 gets a slight styling refresh, a newly available 237-hp turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, revamped trim levels, and some new technology features. The Land Rover Range Rover Sport adds a P400e plug-in-hybrid model with a gas/electric turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder powertrain that makes a total of 398 horsepower. The Lexus GX 460 gets a styling facelift and an Off-Road package, and the Lexus RX and extended-length RX-L get a styling refresh and new tech features (including Android Auto functionality). After its redesign last year, the Porsche Cayenne adds a Cayenne Coupe body style with a car-like sloped roofline.

MODELS THAT OFFER SOMETHING UNUSUAL

Although fuel economy isn’t typically a big concern for vehicles in this price range, the class includes several hybrids and a couple diesels. Hybrid versions are offered in the Acura MDX, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Lexus RX, Lincoln Aviator, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, Porsche Cayenne, and Volvo XC90. All but the Acura and 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. Premium midsize SUVs currently offering a diesel engine are the Land Rover Discovery and Land Rover Range Rover Sport.

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 Range Rover Sport is available with a 518- or 575-horsepower supercharged V8. The Maserati Levante GTS has a 550-hp turbo 3.8-liter V8, and the Trofeo version bumps that up to 590 hp. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid pairs a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with a plugin-hybrid system for a total of 670 horsepower.

Vehicles in the Premium Midsize Crossover/SUV class:

Acura MDX
BMW X5
BMW X6
Buick Enclave
Cadillac XT5
Cadillac XT6
Infiniti QX60
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Lexus GX 460
Lexus RX
Lincoln Aviator
Lincoln Nautilus
Maserati Levante
Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
Porsche Cayenne
Volvo XC90