Undoubtedly, the cost of cars is on the rise. The typical price for a brand-new vehicle in 2023 now sits at approximately $48,000 according to KBB. As a result, the average duration of an auto loan has increased to 72 months, with 84-month loans becoming increasingly common.
If you're in the market for a high-end crossover SUV, you can anticipate a price exceeding the average transaction cost of $48,000. However, you don't necessarily have to pay twice that amount to enjoy a luxurious experience, even when opting for a crossover bearing a luxury brand.
Below are a selection of luxurious crossover SUVs that provide excellent value for your money, helping you manage your loan term or loan/lease payments effectively.
Acura's compact luxury crossover SUV stands out as an exceptional value in this selection. With a starting price around 45k and the top flight trim going for 53k, the RDX competes favorably with top German counterparts like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. When similarly equipped, those crossovers cost approximately ten thousand dollars more. Currently, a used 2020 model goes for around 27k, while a 2021 goes for around 31k.
Regarding its interior and exterior design, cabin comfort, technology, and overall quality, the RDX offers a remarkable package, making it an excellent deal without being too good to be true. While the RDX may not match the driving dynamics of the Mercedes or BMW, it can still handle a set of winding mountain roads quite well. For most everyday driving scenarios, the RDX easily stands out as a top choice among compact luxury crossovers.
Do you ever yearn for the classic tailfins of yesteryears, like those seen on 1950s Cadillac and Chevy sedans? Well, they're making a return with the 2020 Lexus UX. If you examine the rear corners of the UX, you'll notice that the taillight lenses also serve as modern-day reinterpretations of tailfins. It's a unique take on this nostalgic design element, and it has its charm. But the appeal of the UX doesn't stop there; it comes with a reasonable starting price around $36k.
Should you desire additional features such as rain-sensing wipers, a sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a head-up display, built-in navigation, wireless phone charging, heated and ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a hands-free opening and closing rear hatch, the cost increases only slightly to roughly $40k. This model becomes quite affordable when you look a few years back, for example, a 2020 Lexus UX in good condition is priced at $23k by KBB.
The Volvo XC40 may be a small luxury crossover on the outside, but once you step inside, it feels remarkably spacious. In fact, its interior space is quite generous, possibly exceeding that of any other vehicle available today in relation to its exterior size. Additionally, the XC40 boasts an attractive design, offers reasonable off-road capabilities with all-wheel drive, and starts at a reasonable price of around $42k.
At this base price, you'll get front-wheel drive and an engine producing 187 horsepower. For just an additional $2,000, you can upgrade to all-wheel drive and enjoy a substantial power increase to 248 horsepower. With this configuration, the XC40 feels lively and responsive, ready to handle any challenges.
Should you choose to add extra features such as keyless entry, retractable and auto-dimming side mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, built-in navigation, a premium Harman Kardon sound system, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera, and ultrasonic parking sensors, your total cost would remain reasonable in the mid 50k range.
Mercedes GLB Class
The GLB is a recent addition to the Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup, fitting between the smaller GLA and the GLC crossovers in size. What makes the GLB stand out is that, for just an additional $850 on top of the $42,000 base price, you can add a third row of seats, allowing the crossover to accommodate up to seven passengers.
When compared to other luxury crossovers that can seat seven, such as the Acura MDX and the Infiniti QX60, which typically start in the mid-$40,000 range, the GLB offers exceptional value. This is especially true if you don't require the extra space provided by the larger Acura and Infiniti models.
Even when loading up the GLB with popular features like keyless access, auto-dimming mirrors, a panoramic roof, heated front seats, third-row seating, blind-spot monitoring, twin 10.3-inch displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment touchscreen (as opposed to the standard twin seven-inch screens), built-in navigation, wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control, and a premium Burmester audio system, the total cost lands in the low 50k range. This demonstrates that owning a Mercedes-Benz doesn't necessarily mean breaking the bank. To compare with the other models, a used 2020 version goes for around 29k.
You might be wondering, "How did a subcompact economy SUV with a starting price of $20,790 make it onto this list?" It's a valid question that leads to understanding what sets the Nissan Kicks apart.
Even if you opt for the top tier SR Xtronic CVT trim and load the Kicks with all available features with the SR Premium Package, the total cost still comes in at just over $27k. Within this price, you'll find two notable features. Firstly, heated seats, which prove invaluable in cold weather. Secondly, the Kicks boasts an eight-speaker Bose Personal Plus audio system. Notably, two of these eight speakers are positioned as near-field elements within the driver's headrest, providing audio quality akin to what you'd experience in a luxury SUV costing over $100,000.
These features are coupled with a vehicle that delivers a ride as smooth and quiet as that of expensive subcompact luxury crossovers priced around $40,000, as mentioned earlier. If you're accustomed to the comforts of luxury cars but prefer a more budget-friendly monthly payment, the Nissan Kicks, despite being the outlier on this list, stands out as the clear winner among the choices presented here. As expected with the Kicks lower starting price, a used 2020 model in good condition is priced around $16k by KBB.
In our opinion, the Cadillac XT4 might even outshine the Volvo XC40 in terms of aesthetics. However, regardless of your personal preference, both offer good value, although the Cadillac starts at a slightly lower price of $39,090 which is about $2,000 less. The XT4 is packed full of useful features, such as Cadillac's Teen Driver System, which allows you to set limits on things like speed and volume, and/or enforce mandatory seatbelt wearing.
If you aim to equip the XT4 to match the features of the AWD XC40 mentioned earlier, you'll end up spending a couple of thousand dollars more due to Cadillac's pricing structure for optional packages. Instead, you can opt for the base XT4 in the FWD Luxury trim and then add features like a panoramic sunroof, heated front and rear seats, an automatically heated steering wheel, embedded navigation, and a 14-speaker AKG premium audio system. These additions bring the total cost to roughly $42,515. While you won't have adaptive cruise control, you'll still enjoy automatic emergency braking and have a little extra in your wallet. The used market is favorably priced with a 2020 version being priced at $29k in good condition.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Given the Grand Cherokee's impressive off-road capabilities, you might assume that Jeep's flagship is a traditional, truck-based, body-on-frame SUV, but it's not. Similar to most sedans and other crossovers on this list, the Grand Cherokee utilizes a unibody design.
The Grand Cherokee stands as a prime example of blending off-road prowess with luxurious comfort in the automotive market. Even the base model, the rear-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee Laredo priced at $40,130, offers a remarkably quiet interior and a comfortable ride.
By adding features such as four-wheel drive, heated seats, power lift-gate, remote start, and rain-sensing wipers, you can drive away with a total cost of only $45,720. This is quite appealing, especially considering that your neighbors and colleagues are likely to believe you spent well above $50,000. For reference, KBB prices a 2020 Grand Cherokee in the $24k range.
The BMW X3 makes for a wise choice if you have the financial means to provide your children with the best private education. However, for those with a more modest budget, the X1 is a respectable alternative. The X1, BMW's smallest crossover, shares its front-wheel-drive foundation with the MINI Cooper, a more affordable platform than the rear-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series that is related to the X3.
The 2024 X1's cost-effective base price starts at about 40k for the xDrive28i version. Even if you opt for additional features such as a panoramic sunroof, head-up display, built-in navigation, heated front seats, a Harman Kardon premium sound system, and adaptive cruise control, the total cost for the X1 will remain at a reasonable $50k. Used prices for a 2020 model hover around 25k, with the new model years increasing in price.
Priced at $45,295 the Enclave is competitively priced compared to other luxury crossovers, making it the sole luxury, three-row midsize SUV in this lineup. Even when you add a multitude of features to the Enclave, you can still maintain a reasonable price.
For just over $50,000, you can equip the Enclave with automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear ultrasonic parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, heated, ventilated, and massaging front seats, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third row of seats, and a ten-speaker Bose premium audio system. It's worth noting that the Enclave also boasts a stylish appearance. According to KBB a 2020 Enclave in good condition goes for around $26k.
The BMW and Mercedes-Benz models mentioned come with a relatively affordable price tag because they both utilize cost-effective front-engine, front-wheel-drive platforms. However, if your heart is set on a German SUV built on a genuine luxury car platform, such as the Audi A4, then the Audi Q5 presents a compelling choice.
Audi's compact luxury SUV starts at $45,795 and boasts an array of standard features, including auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless access, driver's seat memory, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and satellite radio. Additionally, it offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility through a seven-inch touchscreen, a wireless phone charger with a signal booster, and front and rear ultrasonic parking sensors. If you wish to include a panoramic sunroof, it's available as an option for an additional $1,450, bringing the total cost of the Q5 to around $47k. If you are willing to go back a few model years, a used Q5 can be had for a much more reasonable amount. KBB prices the 2020 model in the mid $28k range, and the 2021 model in the mid $30k range.