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:
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Lexus GX 460