Luxury SUVs, like the BMW X5 and its competitors, sell more than anything else in the North American market. Your average America would rather have a tall SUV than a small sport sedan any day of the week. It’s odd, but true. Anyway, that makes these luxury SUVs very important to the North American market which is why these automakers put a massive priority on them and it shows.
Car and Driver recently got the best new luxury SUVs in the segment together to see which of them is best. The four SUVs they got together were the BMW X5 xDrive35i, Audi Q7 3.0t, Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Range Rover Sport. The BMW X5 is the best-selling of these by far, while the Range Rover is close to it. The Audi Q7 is brand-new, as is the Volvo XC90, but they’re both already their brand’s best-sellers. All four testers were equipped pretty equally, with three rows, a ton of safety equipment and basically all luxuries possible. All four cars were around the $70,000 mark, as-tested.
In the C&D test, the BMW X5 came in last. They felt that its looks were getting a bit still and unbecoming of such an expensive car. They also felt that the interior was a bit more boring that the rest of them. The X5 was also said to be the worst handler of the four, surprisingly, and was just a bit less fun to drive. However, the engine was said to be fantastic, as it is, and probably the best in the test. The suspension was also very comfortable and luxurious.
In third place came the Range Rover. The Range Rover Sport’s exterior is gorgeous, as is its interior, and its engine is awesome. But it is incredibly cramped in its third row and its in-cabin tech is lacking. It’s also the most expensive car in the test by far and away. However, it is the only one of the four with genuine off-road chops. But it wasn’t enough to place it higher than third.
The new Volvo XC90 came in second place and was lauded for its stunning interior. The new XC90’s cabin is one of the nicest you’ll find in any vehicle costing less than $100,000. The leather is rich, all of the materials feel incredibly upscale and the seats are superb. Its safety systems are also the best in the test and its third row is decently comfortable. C&D clearly felt that this was enough to put it in second, as its engine was a bit coarse and it’s the slowest car in the test.
In first place came the Audi Q7. This is to be expected, actually, as the Q7 is the newest car in the test, for the US market at least. But the new Audi Q7 is an outstanding car and was said to be the best blend of all things. It looks great, its interior is superb and it has fantastic handling dynamics for such a big car. Its in-cabin tech is spectacular, especially the Virtual Cockpit, and its engine was second best to the Bimmer’s. So all of that adds up to make the Q7 the best car in the test.
Check out Car and Driver’s review to get more details on what they thought and let us know if you agree.[Source & Top Photo: Car and Driver]