Top 10 best luxury SUVs 2023
These are the 10 best posh SUVs on the UK market right now
Those with the budget to afford the finer things have always been spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury saloons or coupes. Today though, the top end of the luxury car market is dominated by luxury SUVs and virtually all the most prestigious names in the car world are vying for a slice of the pie.
The best luxury SUVs combine the practicality of a large SUV with the refinement and opulence found in luxury saloons. These days, there are a variety of options for buyers to choose from, with supercar performance, imperious off-road ability, advanced technology and sumptuous materials all on the menu, if you know where to look.
For a number of decades, the Range Rover was the only real luxury SUV you could buy in the UK. While this iconic model continues to be ranked among the top sellers in its latest guise, the market has expanded greatly with the best luxury SUVs on sale originating from a number of different manufacturers. The world’s leading premium manufacturers all realised that there was big money to be made from SUVs, with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Bentley all joining the party.
Below we’ve ranked the 10 best luxury SUVs on sale in the UK today, taking in a broad cross-selection of this diverse and increasingly lucrative market.
The top 10 best luxury SUVs on sale
- Range Rover
- Porsche Cayenne
- Bentley Bentayga
- BMW iX
- BMW X7
- Volvo XC90
- Audi Q7
- Rolls-Royce Cullinan
- Ferrari Purosangue
- Mercedes GLS
1. Range Rover
The original Range Rover is often credited as the pioneer of the luxury SUV breed and the third-generation Range Rover Sport continues to find itself at the top of the class, having been crowned 2023 Large Premium SUV of the Year at the Auto Express New Car Awards.
The latest Range Rover Sport is a little different from the first generation, but it improves on the recipe created by the second generation, retaining the core recipe of full off-road capability combined with limousine-style luxuriousness. This SUV feels at home just about anywhere, from cruising on the motorway, gliding through town or conquering a muddy and slippery field or track. Whatever kind of terrain passes under the wheels, you’re unlikely to notice too much difference thanks to the Range Rover’s excellent refinement and ride quality.
The latest Range Rover is also the most advanced yet in terms of powertrains, and the new MLA-Flex platform can cater for just about any need. Petrol, diesel and even plug-in hybrid variants are all on offer. An all-electric version is in the works, too and is expected to go on sale by 2024.
2. Porsche Cayenne
What began as a joint development with the first generation Volkswagen Touareg, the Cayenne started out as one of Porsche’s most controversial models, but it didn’t take long to shake this image and become one of the brand’s most popular. Jumping on the luxury SUV bandwagon nice and early, Porsche brought its renowned sports car knowhow to bear on the Cayenne and produced a large SUV with the enthusiast driver at mind.
The latest, third-generation Cayenne is easily the best yet and offers plenty of performance. The 542bhp 4.8-litre twin-turbo V8 will propel this family-friendly SUV from 0-62mph in a mere four seconds. If this isn’t enough power, opt for the Turbo S-E Hybrid and this drops to 3.8 seconds.
Throw the Cayenne into a corner and its clever 4D chassis control system works with the active air suspension to almost entirely eradicate body roll. This, combined with the highly responsive steering, delivers a driving experience that could almost cause you to forget that you’re driving such a hefty vehicle.
3. Bentley Bentayga
The Bentayga is one of Bentley’s best-sellers. In fact, it currently accounts for nearly half of all Bentleys leaving showrooms around the world. This is even more impressive when you consider that the Bentayga is the brand’s very first SUV.
Although it shares the same basic underpinnings as the Porsche Cayenne, the Bentayga is very different in the metal. Inside you will find the sort of interior craftsmanship you’d expect in the Flying Spur and Continental GT. A huge amount of personalisation options are also available via the brand’s Mulliner division.
Power comes from a V8 or W12 engine, or, in line with the brand’s movement towards electrification, a V6 plug-in hybrid. All three offer plenty of power in various states of tune, but if speed is what you desire, the Bentayga Speed’s 6.0-litre W12 engine develops 626bhp and 900Nm of torque.
4. BMW iX
While the iX’s styling may not be to everyone’s taste, this all-electric SUV is a showcase of BMW’s engineering brilliance. It’s great to drive, comfortable and boasts class-leading technology.
While the iX is pricey to purchase, running costs for this large SUV should be low thanks to its electric powertrain. Depending on your chosen spec, BMW claims that the iX can achieve up to 380 miles of range. Even when you do need to charge, rapid charging from 10-80 per cent can take as little as 35 minutes.
Take a seat inside the iX and the sheer level of quality will quickly become apparent, with high-quality materials and technology to be found in abundance. Two 14.5-inch curved screens dominate the dashboard, and these feature BMW’s latest iDrive infotainment system - one of the best in the business.
5. BMW X7
While BMW’s SUV line-up is one of the largest on the market, the X7 allowed the brand to enter a new territory. This was the Bavarian brand’s first Range Rover-sized SUV, and it’s an affordable entry into this list, all things considered, with prices starting at around £85,000 for the 376bhp six-cylinder X7 xDrive 40i Excellence model.
As part of a facelift in 2022, the cabin received the brand’s ‘Curved Display’ dashboard. This setup integrates a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel with a 14.9-inch iDrive infotainment touchscreen, and the X7 now looks far more upmarket inside as a result.
On the road the BMW is good to drive for a car of its size, and crucially it’s a seven-seater. Because of this, it’s good to think of the X7 as being an alternative for prospective Porsche Cayenne buyers who need space for more than five.
6. Volvo XC90
Time is ticking for the Volvo XC90 as it will soon be replaced by the all-electric EX90. For now, though, it still stands out as a brilliant luxury SUV, and it’s a relatively affordable one too, at least when compared to its main rivals.
That’s because the XC90 starts from around £63,000, with the range-topping 449bhp plug-in hybrid T8 model still priced from under £80,000. The XC90 can also be acquired via Volvo’s subscription service.
The entire XC90 line-up uses four-cylinder engines, so buyers looking for a bit of presence under the bonnet will have to look elsewhere. Driving dynamics aren’t the Volvo’s party piece, however, comfort and quality at a reasonable price makes the XC90 one of the most modern-feeling options too, with a cool, Scandinavian influence to the cabin design.
7. Audi Q7
Since its introduction to the UK in 2007, the Audi Q7 has been a sales hit in Britain, and the current version retains plenty of what has made this car such a success story for the brand.
It’s priced similarly to the Volvo XC90, but while the Volvo majors on comfort, the Audi is pitched as being a sportier affair, and that tells not just in the way it looks inside and out, but also in the way this seven-seat SUV drives.
It’s strong on tech, and for infotainment lovers the Audi is a top choice. Touchscreen everything isn’t for all, but there’s little denying that the Q7’s dual-screen set-up with haptic feedback, combined with the ever-impressive virtual cockpit display, is one of the sharpest-looking and slickest infotainment set-ups out there.
8. Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Put simply, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is one the most exclusive SUVs money can buy. This is reflected in the prices, which start from more than £270,000, coming in as the second most expensive on this list, with only the Ferrari Purosangue costing more.
For the money, buyers get trademark contemporary Rolls-Royce opulence in a huge, high-riding package. Not only is it one of the most lavishly appointed SUVs you can buy in Britain, it’s the biggest too, sizing up noticeably larger than even the Mercedes GLS.
Under the bonnet sits a 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine producing 563bhp and 950Nm of torque. It lives an unstressed life, and contributes to the immensely refined and serene environment the Cullinan is on the move.
The firm’s first SUV is aimed more towards people who will climb behind the wheel rather than the chauffeur market. To that end, it’s good to drive too, while Rolls has worked hard to ensure that the Cullinan is not just a leviathan for the road - it’s immensely capable off-road too. Throw in trademark Rolls’ personalisation, and it’s clear that the Cullinan is an SUV worthy of its prestigious badge.
9. Ferrari Purosangue
The Ferrari Purosangue is a car they said they’d never make at Maranello, but Ferrari’s brand-new SUV is a V12 powered, 715bhp, £312k+, four-door, four-seater answer to the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Aston Martin DBX 707 and even Range Rover.
While the Purosangue is not well packaged and it’s brash, thirsty and barkingly expensive, it offers a driving experience which its rivals can’t match, with clarity and speed when it comes to its chassis, steering and throttle response. Indeed, when you want to sit back and relax, the car settles down and morphs into a comfortable cruiser, albeit with a slightly firmer ride when compared to its rivals.
10. Mercedes GLS
Mercedes’ flagship SUV is simply enormous. Seven adults can travel in it comfortably – and they will do, thanks not just to the sheer amount of space on offer in the cabin but also to standard air suspension across the line-up.
The GLS can be thought of as the ‘S-Class of SUVs’, and while it’s not the poster-boy of the luxury SUV market like the S-Class is in the limousine segment, there’s a clear likeness based simply on how refined the GLS is on the move. Few SUVs are better suited to long-distance cruising, while the GLS is also adept off-road too, when fitted with an optional off-road package. If you desire the utmost luxury, a Maybach version is also available, but this commands a price of over £170,000.
Like the thought of a large SUV but without such a grand price? Read our list of the best large SUVs...