Best Luxury Compact SUVs [Top Ranked Models]

Best Luxury Compact SUVs

The field of luxury compact SUVs has exploded in popularity over the last quarter-century, with more manufacturers than ever offering models.

Out of this fierce competition, a trend has emerged that blends opulence with practicality and style with function in ways that few would have predicted twenty-five years ago.

Here are our picks for the best compact luxury SUVs.

(Editor Note: For the purposes of this comparison, coupe and exclusive performance editions have been excluded)

Check out all our picks for the best SUVs >>

Read about how we rank our vehicles >>

Best Luxury Compact SUVs Comparison

Best Luxury Compact SUVsVolvo XC60Audi Q5Mercedes-Benz GLCAcura RDXCadillac XT4
Price
$42.6K - $61.7K
$45.6K - $64K
$43.8K - $45.8K
$39.3K - $51.3K
$35.8K - $42.1K
Passenger Volume
103 cu. ft.
N/A
N/A
104 cu. ft.
100.6 cu. ft.
Max. Cargo Volume
63.6 cu. ft.
54.1 cu. ft.
56.5 cu. ft.
58.9 cu. ft.
48.9 cu. ft.
Engine Size / Type
MHEV: 2.0L I-4 Turbo GDI
PHEV: 2.0L I-4 Turbo/SC GDI
MHEV: 2.0L I-4 Turbo GDI
PHEV: 2.0L I-4 Turbo/SC GDI
2.0L I-4 Turbo GDI
2.0L I-4 Turbo GDI
2.0L I-4 Turbo GDI
Horsepower
MHEV: 247 HP
PHEV: 400 HP
MHEV: 261 HP
PHEV: 362 HP
255 HP
272 HP
235 HP
Max. EPA (Combined)
MHEV: 26 MPG
PHEV: 25 MPG / 57 MPGe
MHEV: 25 MPG
PHEV: 26MPG / 61 MPGe
24 MPG RWD
24 MPG FWD
26 MPG FWD

1. Volvo XC60

Volvo-XC60-Best-Luxury-Compact-SUVMore notable than the visibly evident styling refresh that the Volvo XC60 received for the 2022 model year is the model’s shift to a fully electrified lineup, and reason enough to earn the top spot on this list. Granted, the new mild hybrid models (MHEV) that populate the low side of this impressive roster move the needle only a smidgen toward an electrified future that’s free from gasoline, but they do come with performance benefits beyond fuel efficiency.

Specifically, the integrated starter generator at the heart of the system enhances low-speed pickup and smooths out shift points resulting in a discernibly more premium drive. Mild hybrid systems are now standard in all B5 and B6 editions of the XC60. The B6 trims also benefit from a new electric supercharger that not only boosts performance but does so with less noise. Meanwhile, the XC60 Recharge T8 PHEV models enjoy suspension, braking system and chassis upgrades. It also boasts a very fast 5 second zero to 60 mph time.

At all levels, the XC60 advances the reserved luxuriousness that has helped make it Volvo’s best-selling vehicle worldwide. Plush seating, state-of-the-art telecommunications, advanced safety technology, a smooth quiet ride – the Volvo XC60 delivers everything expected of a luxury compact SUV.

Pros

  • Mild Hybrid & PHEV Editions
  • Comfortable & Quiet Interior
  • Crashworthiness
  • Standard Advanced Safety Tech

Cons

  • Handling Lacks Sportiness
  • Middling MHEV Fuel Economy
  • PHEV Pricing Starts at $54,250

The Takeaway: The move to an all-hybrid lineup for the XC60 is as much a step towards greater refinement as it is one towards an electric future. Even so, it’s comfort and elegance that continue to make this Volvo a must-test-drive for any luxury compact SUV shopper.

Current Volvo XC60 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2023VolvoXC606.99%$569/month for 36 months, $4,319 due at signing1/3/23

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Volvo deals and average prices paid.

2. Audi Q5

Audi-Q5-Best-Luxury-Compact-SUVAlthough having an abundance of model variants is not a qualifying attribute for this category, Audi makes good use of the asset with the Q5, delivering Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims in each of four editions – Q5, Q5 Sportback, SQ5 and SQ5 Sportback, as well as a Plug-In Hybrid version of the Q5. We’ll stick with just the Q5 45 TSFI and 55 TFSI e PHEV models here.

Interestingly, the Q5 45 TSFI is a MHEV (Mild Hybrid), though not presented by Audi with as much fanfare as the Volvos. Also, to the Q5’s credit, all trims come with the brand’s renowned quattro all-wheel drive. As for luxuries, every one of the vehicles in this list have wonderful amenities, outstanding safety technology and an above average bit of opulence, but what is truly charming about the Q5 is its balance of luxury and sportiness. One instinctively feels this in its poise and handling.

Then there’s its practical side. Having a 4,400-pound towing ability with the 45 TSFI gives the Q5 a clear advantage in trailering. Surprisingly though, the Q5 PHEV pulls back on this, mustering just 2,000 pounds towing.

Pros

  • Mild Hybrid & PHEV editions
  • Standard All-Wheel Drive
  • Turbocharged Performance
  • Sporty Handling; Premium Feel

Cons

  • Average Warranty
  • Some Rivals Have More Cargo Space
  • Pricing Starts at $45,600

The Takeaway: If it’s sportiness you crave in a compact SUV, but with a healthy dose of luxury, the Q5 will not disappoint. More than performance numbers, there’s a special quality in the handling that a well-balanced premium vehicle like the Q5 delivers.

Current Audi Q5 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022AudiQ5$2,000 3.99%1/3/23

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Audi deals and average prices paid.

3. Mercedes-Benz GLC

Mercedes-Benz-GLC-Best-Luxury-Compact-SUVIt’s undeniable that Mercedes-Benz has cultivated a sitting-in-the-lap-of-luxury mystique that is well-deserved, and the GLC certainly makes a point of this whether one focuses on the serenity of the cabin or the exquisite textures of its interior surfaces.

One distinction that’s missing with the others in this list is that the GLC is available with a rear-wheel drive configuration as well as all-wheel drive. For some drivers, that alone will close the deal. Comparatively, there’s a slight fuel economy penalty one pays for the GLC with either drivetrain, but it’s quite quick off the line logging 6.1 seconds going zero to 60 mph in the 4MATIC all-wheel drive edition.

More than anything, it’s the attention to details that defines the GLC. Whether it’s artificial intelligence that understands your way of speaking, or the ability to change the interior ambience to any of 64 colors, the GLC creates a uniquely immersive environment.

Pros

  • RWD & AWD Configurations
  • Turbocharged Performance
  • Quickness
  • Quietness

Cons

  • Average Warranty
  • Advanced Safety Features Optional
  • Options Quickly Increase Pricing

The Takeaway: It’ll be hard to find a more serene compact SUV driving environment than in the GLC. While its cargo space and fuel economy are just average, the experience is supreme.

Current Mercedes-Benz GLC Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021MercedesGLC
2022MercedesGLC$609/month for 36 months, $4,703 due at signing11/30/22

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Mercedes-Benz deals and average prices paid.

4. Acura RDX

Acura-RDX-Best-Luxury-Compact-SUVHaving measurably upped its bid for premium standing in 2022, the RDX has earned this spot on our list for several noteworthy reasons. Most improved are its noise isolation and overall ride comfort. But the engineers at Acura didn’t stop there.

While keeping the reins tight on pricing, they’ve given the RDX an even sportier look and added more advanced safety technology to the boatload of premium amenities that already came with the entry-level model. Copious standard features and a reputation for build quality likely account for the strong resale value the RDX has historically mustered.

If it struggles at all in the company of the other models on this list, it would be in its towing capabilities, which won’t really matter unless you’re planning to do some trailering. Nevertheless, the RDX is on the high side when it comes to cargo space.

Pros

  • Sound Control Reduces Cabin Noise
  • Pricing
  • Standard Advanced Safety Tech
  • Longevity of Powertrain Warranty

Cons

  • Unimpressive Trailering Capability
  • Option Packages vs. Discrete Options
  • Peculiar Shifter

The Takeaway: Clearly focused on the luxury compact demographic, the RDX makes impressions where it counts most –build quality, ride experience, sportiness, abundance of standard equipment, and price.

Current Acura RDX Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021AcuraRDX
2022AcuraRDX3.90%$489/month for 36 months, $6,399 due at signing1/3/23

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Acura deals and average prices paid.

5. Cadillac XT4

Cadillac-XT4-Best-Luxury-Compact-SUVOne could certainly convince themselves that the only reason the 2022 Cadillac XT4 competes in this group is its extraordinarily affordable pricing. That would be a mistake. It is a bargain, but you won’t be shortchanged.

For starters, it offers plenty of interior space in all the right places – headroom, legroom, shoulder room, competing head-to-head with all contenders despite its shorter overall length. Plus, the interior space is awash with amenities in glorious Cadillac fashion, and it capitalizes on the latest advanced technologies. Most impressive are the Smart System safety suite and the wireless smartphone integration.

True, the 235-horsepower output falls shy of the others in this best-of group, but the towing capacity of the XT4 rivals that of both the XC60 and the GLC, and its gasoline-based fuel economy is only matched by several of the hybrids.

Pros

  • Pricing
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Safety & Infotainment Technology
  • Longevity of Powertrain Warranty

Cons

  • Cabin Noise
  • Unexciting Performance
  • Comparatively Small Cargo Area

The Takeaway: More compact on the outside than its rivals, the XT4 pulls no punches when it comes to interior space and comfortable accommodations. Clearly the Cadillac cache is evident in the focused attention on state-of-the-art technology. What’s surprising is that it’s so affordable.

Current Cadillac XT4 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2022CadillacXT44.39%$349/month for 36 months, $3,689 due at signing1/3/23
2023CadillacXT44.39%$379/month for 36 months, $3,579 due at signing1/3/23

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Cadillac deals and average prices paid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best luxury compact SUV?

For this comparison, the Volvo XC60 topped our list. However, everyone has different needs. These five are a good place to start in determining what’s best for you.

What’s the most fuel-efficient luxury compact SUV?

As far as numbers go, the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e PHEV scored the highest ratings, particularly in all-electric mode. However, the combined EPA numbers are a guide. Examine your own driving needs. If you do more city driving, then study the city ratings; if you commute long distances on interstate highways for most of your driving, check the highway ratings.

What is an MHEV and which of the best luxury compact SUVs offer them?

MHEV is an acronym for a Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle. With an MHEV, an electric motor/generator provides a power assist to the gasoline engine to conserve fuel. The motor/generator also captures energy while coasting or slowing down and stores it in a rechargeable battery system. In this group, MHEVs are available in the Volvo XC60 and the Audi Q5.

Which of the best luxury compact SUVs offers the most towing capacity?

The Audi Q5 45 TSFI has the highest rating for towing with a 4400-pound capability.