10 min read
25 Jul

What makes an SUV luxury? These days, sport utility vehicles packed with technological and convenience features to signal status, wealth, and success come in both mid-sized as well as full-sized packages. More than exterior styling, luxury vehicles demonstrate their cut above non-luxury models through their high-end interior materials and exceptional sound systems, cutting-edge safety features, superior powertrain, and an array of appurtenances. 

The automobile industry, families, and auto shoppers have always been fascinated by the luxury SUV segment. The blend of comfort, performance, and style offered by these vehicles can be truly remarkable. And with the advancements in technology and design, the concept of luxury has gotten redefined in the SUV segment

As we blaze through the model year 2023, we've seen exciting SUVs on the horizon with the design, engineering, and technology to take your breath away. In this article, we will share our top picks for the best SUVs of 2023. 

Related: Best Of The Best: The Top 10 Luxury Sedans of 2023 (Ranked By Category) 

Introduction To Luxury SUVs

What is a luxury SUV?

Luxury SUVs have become increasingly popular over the years due to their versatility and ability to deliver a premium driving experience. These vehicles offer a spacious and comfortable cabin, advanced safety features, and impressive performance. 

Luxury SUVs cater to a wide range of buyers, from families to executives, looking for a vehicle that offers both style and functionality. 

The Concept Of Luxury Redefined

2023 best luxury SUVs.

Luxury is no longer just about leather seats and wood trim. It's about the integration of technology, innovative design, and performance. Automakers are pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and the result is an SUV segment that is redefining luxury. 

From electric powertrains to autonomous driving capabilities, luxury SUVs are incorporating advanced features that were once only seen in high-end sports cars

Best Large SUVs Of 2023

Best large SUVs of 2023 - Lincoln Navigator interior.

10. 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class – $81,800

The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class has remained a favorite among luxury SUV buyers for years, and the 2023 model is even more impressive. With a sleek exterior design and a spacious interior, the GLS 3-row SUV is the ultimate family vehicle. Its many features include variable-speed window wipers, multizone climate systems, and traction control. 

The 2023 GLS450 uses an introductory 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engine that makes a smooth 362 horsepower, while the GLS580’s more powerful entry-level powerplant makes 483 horsepower. 

New with the 2023 GLS is a standard adaptive air suspension, panoramic sunroof, and metallic body paint. The long list of standard features ensures that every customer who pays the $82,000 starting price experiences the full prestige and opulence the SUV has to offer. 

It also has an optional V8 powertrain. The GLS is larger than the GLE and has received a styling refresh for 2024, ensuring that it remains competitive among fierce rivals like the BMW X7, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and Lexus LX600. 

9. 2023 Cadillac Escalade – $79,295

best luxury SUVs 2023 - Cadillac Escalade.

The Escalade has always been a symbol of luxury, and the 2023 model takes it to the next level. You could never miss it on the road or crowded parking lot, not with its distinctive Cadi-styling and larger-than-life presence. 

We won’t argue with those who think the 2023 Escalade’s coolest feature is the snazzy digital cockpit interface. The SUV also comes with one of the most spacious cabins in its class, along with cargo and interior storage areas to outmatch many of its rivals. 

Though part of the fifth generation rolled out in 2021, the 2023 Cadillac Escalade introduced a new high-performance variant dubbed Escalade-V. 

The V gets its propulsion power from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine cranking out a massive 682 horsepower and 653 pound-force feet of torque while the regular Escalade (if we might call it that) benefits 420 horsepower from the V8 engine. 

8. 2023 Lincoln Navigator – $77,635

The best luxury SUVs on the market 2023 - Lincoln Navigator.

When you meet this SUV in person, you understand why the Tulsa King was obsessed with the Navigator – in any color, starting from black. 

Like Mafioso Dwight Manfredi (played by Silvester Stallone) recently released from prison after 25 years, the Lincoln Navigator has experienced rising popularity in recent years, and the 2023 model continues that trend. 

The SUV makes plenty of power for its mammoth size, courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 440 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 510 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. 

While this V6 is the Navigator’s sole motivation, it provides ample oomph to support its 8,700-lb maximum towing capacity. It propels the 5,685-lb SUV from rest to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds. 

The 3-row cabin is comfortable and opulent enough to rival the best in the industry. We respect the large and intuitive central touchscreen interface, complete with a premium sound system and a long list of cutting-edge driver assist features. 

The driver-aid techs include a new ActiveGlide system by Lincoln, offering semi-autonomous driving on select highways. The Navigator is the automaker’s flagship model, with plenty of room both for human and non-human passengers. 

Best Luxury Midsize SUVs Of 2023

The best small SUVs 2023.

7. 2023 Audi Q5 – $43,500

The Audi Q5 has been a top performer in the midsize SUV segment, and we expect the 2023 model to be even better. 

There are minor but pragmatic updates with the new 2023 model, including a Bang & Olufsen high-end sound system (available with the Premium Plus trim level) and adaptive cruise control as standard equipment.

It also comes with an available plug-in hybrid powertrain, delivering up to 23 miles of all-electric range. The Q5’s base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 wearing the 40 TFSI badge and producing a decent 201 horsepower and 263 lb-ft of torque. 

This is still part of the 2nd-gen Audi Q5 introduced in 2018, with craftsmanship that will always succeed at turning heads anywhere. The $43,000 starting price gets you a luxuriously comfortable midsize SUV with a quiet, roomy interior. 

6. 2023 BMW X5 – $61,600

Best luxury SUVs 2023 - BMW X5.

Most luxury SUV shoppers looking for impressive performance turn to the BMW X5, and the 2023 model did not disappoint. 

The base powertrain comprises a 3.0-liter straight-six mild-hybrid engine producing 335 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 331 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. 

The engine mates with an 8-speed shiftable automatic gearbox routing power to the AWD system and contributing to the EPA-estimated combined mpg of 23. The X5’s performance varies between models. 

The xDrive40i, sDrive40i, and xDrive45e make the 0-60 mph distance in 5.3 seconds, while the M50i covers the miles in 4.1 seconds. The X5 M variant has the fastest acceleration, finishing 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. But the 2023 X5 isn't all about performance. 

It's the model that ushered BMW into the luxury SUV market and keeps that respect by flaunting a rich, comfortable, and spacious cabin as well as ample cargo area. 

Although the famed gesture control feature is now gone, BMW compensates customers with an available smartphone charging pad and head-up display. The X5 faces tough competition from the likes of Audi Q7, Volvo XC90, and Genesis GV80. 

5. 2023 Lexus RX – $47,800

Best luxury small SUVs 2023 - Lexus RX.

The 2023 Lexus RX includes the RX350 and 350h, as well as the 450h and 500h. The 'h' is the hybrid variant, and the RX350 comes in front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) formats. 

The RX is a bestseller in the Japanese automaker’s lineup and now comes in 2-row format only. It looks like the 3-row configuration will get replaced by the newly-introduced Lexus TX

Completely redesigned for the 2023 model year to kick off the fifth generation, the RX competes with similarly classed midsize luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5, Lincoln Nautilus, and Genesis GV80. 

The RX’s redesign includes a new turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission to produce 275 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. It propels the FWD variant from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and the AWD in 7.3. 

The hybrid RX gets a CVT mated to a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine to produce 246 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque. The thing is, the turbocharged inline-4 should make the same performance and efficiency as the V6 powering the previous RX350. 

The RX has never looked better, although a discerning eye can catch Lexus dialing things down a bit. The cabin rocks a bleeding-edge infotainment system and a satisfying list of driver-aid and convenience features. 

Related: How Much Will The 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre Cost? – Everything You Want To Know 

Top Luxury SUVs Of 2023

Top luxury SUVs 2023 - Porsche Cayenne interior.

4. 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class – $57,700

The GLE-Class did not receive any major update for the 2023 model year, but the SUV remains a litmus test for blending high-end luxury with cutting-edge technology. 

As always, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLE comes in multiple configurations, including a 3-row seating for up to seven passengers. 

The new GLE is still part of the second generation rolled out in 2020 and comes brimming with standard and optional features across several trim levels. 

Highlighting the luxurious interior is the feature-packed infotainment system comprising a standard 12.3-inch display with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. The GLE450 is your best for an impressive blend of power and efficiency, not that the GLE350 is that far behind. 

The GLE350 4Matic gets motivation from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 255 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm, moving the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. The engine mates with a 9-speed shiftable automatic gearbox to urge the AWD system. 

3. 2023 Porsche Cayenne – $72,200

Top SUVs of 2023 - Porsche Cayenne.

The Porsche Cayenne is another excellent option for thrill-seeking luxury SUV hunters. This beautiful SUV impresses on just about every aspect, from the exterior and interior design to the tech and safety features to the powerplant and powertrains. 

As long as the luxury SUV segment is concerned, the Cayenne 2023 is one of the most fun to drive, and not the least because it also comes with a satisfying list of customization options.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find a rival brand that matches the new Cayenne’s numerous options and available powertrains, giving customers a near-unbridled freedom to customize their rides to their heart’s content. 

The 2023 Porsche Cayenne is still part of the third generation introduced in 2019 and doesn't have any major updates over the previous year. 

Test drivers found the SUV to be impressively quick for its size. The Cayenne vrooms from rest to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, propelled by a 3.0-liter V6 engine (the introductory engine) producing 335 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque at 1,340 rpm. 

That’s an impressive performance for an SUV that weighs 4,700 lbs. The handling is reportedly just as impressive 

2. 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Velar – $60,300

The best luxury SUVs on the market - 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Velar.

There are mixed feelings over the Velar’s reliability, but everyone seems to agree this is one of the best luxury small SUVs on the market that money can buy. 

It has compelling selling points besides the comparatively attractive starting price, from the road manners to the eye-catching exterior design to the exquisite interior. 

The 2023 Range Rover Velar is a sight that leaves a lasting impression, inside and out. We equally respect its robust 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine (with supercharging), including a turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mill producing 247 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque. 

The inline-six makes 335 horsepower. For the model year 2023, Land Rover withdrew the Velar’s HSE variant, replacing it with the HST trim. It has three trim levels: S, R-Dynamic S, and HST. 

The first two trims get their motivation from the straight-4 engine, although the R-Dynamic S mid-trim model can also benefit from a turbocharged 6-cylinder mill with 335 horsepower. 

The HST uses a version of the 6-cylinder with an updated output of 395 horsepower. All powertrains rely on an 8-speed automatic gearbox to transmit power to the AWD system. Land Rover also quit offering the 6-pot mill with the base Velar trim. 

This is still part of the first generation that made its debut in 2018, combining power, spaciousness, off-road capability, and exquisite design in the mix.

Notably, AWD is standard across Velar trim levels, so you don’t particularly need to be the outdoorsy type to choose this SUV. The all-wheel drivetrain, tuned for offroading, should increase your confidence in wet or snowy terrains.

Inside, the gizmos are comparatively minimal but cutting-edge, while the entire cabin flaunts tasteful, high-quality materials. 

The Land Rover Range Rover Velar is not an off-road-focused SUV, but it trumps every other luxury SUV on this list in terms of off-road capability. 

The King Of Luxury SUVs

The best luxury SUV - 2024 Rolls-Royce Cullinian Black Badge Blue Shadow.

1. 2023 Rolls-Royce Cullinan – $348,500

The best Luxury SUV - RollsRoyce Cullinan.

 With a price range of $348,500 to $401,500, the Cullinan – we admit – doesn’t fit the profile of “a luxury SUV you can buy without breaking the bank,” not by a long shot. 

However, the Cullinan is the King of SUVs, for which we feel an obligation to reserve its seat at the head of every table of luxury SUVs. 

Except for the Bentley Bentayga, other contenders for the throne, such as Mercedes-Benz G-Class, BMW Alpina XB7, Ferrari Porusangue, and Lamborghini Urus are princes in their own rights. 

These princes aren’t on this list because this article isn’t about the most expensive SUVs most of us can probably only afford by remortgaging our homes. The Cullinan, though, is the king deserving of obeisance and salutations wherever the words “luxury” and “SUV” appear together. 

The only thing we don’t like about the 2023 Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the god-sized price tag. That and the fact Rolls-Royce can’t be bothered with the basic exterior design. 

But you do not buy the Cullinan for the outward show. You buy it for the prestige that comes with the Spirit of Ecstasy and the ultimate opulence and luxurious experience the vehicle provides in truckloads. 

It uses a twin-turbo V12 so robust that the passengers risk forgetting they’re in a 6,000-lb land yacht and not a 4,000-lb luxury sedan. 

The 6.75-liter V12 makes 563 horsepower without breaking a sweat, and the cabin is reportedly incredibly quiet even at high speeds. The Cullinan Black Badge Edition ups the ante by milking 592 horses from the same engine. 

An 8-speed automatic gearbox transmits that power to the SUV’s AWD system. The British marquee recently unveiled a private collection of the Black Badge dubbed Blue Shadow, further perpetuating the Cullinan’s position as the Rolls-Royce of all SUVs

The best part is that Rolls-Royce offers customization options for the Cullinan, both for the exterior and interior. 

Comparing The Top Luxury SUVs Of 2023

Luxury SUVs comparisons.

To determine the best luxury SUVs of 2023, we compare the performance, design, features, and price. Moreover, each SUV has its strengths and weaknesses, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. 

However, the 2023 Porsche Cayenne stands out as the top performer in the luxury SUV segment thanks to its impressive performance, advanced features, and sleek design. 

Factors To Consider When Buying A Luxury SUV

Buy a luxury SUV.

 Performance: Long gone were the days when you have to choose between luxury and performance. These days, it’s unacceptable to sacrifice performance on the altar of luxury. So, you want to consider the power-to-weight ratio, acceleration, and handling. 

Design: Luxury SUVs come in a variety of designs, from sleek and modern to classic and elegant. Although respected nameplates like Rolls-Royce may not need to look so smart on the outside, you have every right to always demand quality exterior and interior styling to match the money.

Features: Luxury SUVs come with a wide range of features, from advanced safety features to entertainment systems. Think of not just the features you care about the most but the most important to your safety and convenience. 

Price: Luxury SUVs typically come with a premium price tag. So, unless you have more money than you can spend, you might want to consider your budget and whether the vehicle is worth the investment.

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