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Sept. 3, 2020, 5:03 a.m. EDT

The year’s best small luxury SUVs

These are compact, agile, and some are surprisingly affordable

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By Autotrader


Audi
The Audi Q5

A small luxury SUV not only has the practical benefits of a compact, versatile, agile crossover, but it can be a good — and sometimes surprisingly affordable — first step into the luxury brand of your dreams. Here are the best small luxury SUVs for 2020, ranked.

1. Audi Q5— $43,300

Score: 4.7 / 5

We’ll admit that the 2020 Audi Q5 isn’t the most budget-friendly small luxury SUV, but it’s so good that the price tag is justified. The engine options are stellar, the ride is engaging and, as usual for Audi, the interior might be the nicest in its class, and there’s plenty of room for passengers. We also like the bold yet subtle styling of this Audi, giving it a presence that can’t be ignored. Some of the technology options like the Virtual Cockpit digital gauge cluster are cutting-edge but can get pricey. 

2. Acura RDX— $37,800


Acura
The Acura RDX

Score: 4.6 / 5

On the opposite side of the value spectrum from the Audi Q5 is the 2020 Acura RDX, which is arguably the best bargain in this segment offering a ton of features for the money. The current generation of the RDX isn’t just a gussied-up Honda /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -3.58%   CR-V. It has its very own platform and its own engine, which is refined and delivers strong, smooth performance. The interior space is huge, and the level of refinement in the cabin’s design and materials may surprise you when you consider this Acura’s price. 

3. Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class— $42,500

Score: 4.6 / 5

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is another small luxury crossover with lofty but justified pricing. This crossover gets tweaked styling inside and out keeping it fresh, plus it gets more standard and available features. The interior is as plush and comfortable as you would expect from Mercedes-Benz, and the engine options are lively, especially when you get into the high-performance AMG models. There’s a sporty “coupe” variant available, but it sacrifices some rear-seat headroom for the extra style. 

Also on MarketWatch: The 10 coolest things about the new Ford Bronco

4. BMW X3— $41,950

Score: 4.4 / 5

The X3 has long been one of our favorite compact luxury crossovers. It’s cliché to say it, but the 2020 BMW X3 truly is the BMW of small SUVs. It hits the nail on the head when it comes to bringing the soul of a sports car to the body of a crossover. It gives you SUV versatility without sacrificing much in terms of a delightful driving character. There’s a powerful range of engines available and plenty of interior space, but pricing is a little steep and you can easily get nickel-and-dimed when you start adding options. 

5. Infiniti QX50— $37,250

Score: 4.4 / 5

The 2020 Infiniti QX50 is an interesting and often-overlooked choice in small premium SUVs. It draws you in with its fetching styling and its attractive pricing, and the variable compression VC-Turbo engine under the hood does an excellent job blending V6-like performance with the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder. It’s pretty generous with standard infotainment and driver-assist technologies, but adding more options on top of that can start to get pricey. Once you get into the higher trims, you’re in the pricing territory of more luxurious competitors. 

6. Lexus NX— $36,870

Score: 4.4 / 5

If you’ve always wanted a Lexus and like the idea of a practical compact crossover, then the 2020 Lexus NX is the SUV for you. It delivers the safety, reliability and bold styling that Lexus is famous for, all at a reasonable price. The ride is smooth and comfortable, but if you’re looking for fun-to-drive performance, you may want to look to its European competitors. The fuel economy of the NX is respectable, and it gets much better if you opt for the frugal hybrid option, which doesn’t have much of a price premium over the standard model. 

7. Cadillac XT4— $35,695

Score: 4.3 / 5

The 2020 Cadillac XT4 is one of the most affordably priced luxury crossovers on this list, and it presents a great value if you’re looking to get into the Cadillac brand. The XT4 combines sharp styling with practicality in the form of a roomy interior with generous rear-seat legroom. A few downsides include an awkward infotainment system and a little more road noise inside than we’d like. We wish there was a higher-performance V model available, but the sole engine option in this Cadillac is smooth, refined and pretty good on gas. 

See: A look at Cadillac’s first electric car, promising a range greater than 300 miles

8. Volvo XC60— $40,150


Volvo
The Volvo XC60

Score: 4.3 / 5

The 2020 Volvo XC60 still feels fresh from its 2018 redesign, and it offers something a little different in this crowded segment. It has a stylish and unconventional look inside and out with a posh interior and unbelievably comfortable seats with some of the highest-quality leather you’ll find in any car. Standard safety features are abundant, as you might expect from a Volvo. The high-performance (and high-price) plug-in hybrid Polestar model is a riot to drive, but the lower-end trims don’t offer very engaging driving dynamics. 

9. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque— $42,650


Land Rover USA
The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Score: 4.2 / 5

If you’re looking for a small SUV that is guaranteed to turn heads, the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a standout. It’s also a more capable off-roader than you might expect, and it lives up to its Range Rover pedigree when the pavement ends. The engine choices are both powerful and efficient, and you won’t likely get bored behind the wheel. We love the sharp exterior, but that narrow side glass makes for a bit of a claustrophobic cabin. Like many Land Rover models, its lofty price tag makes it a questionable value compared with class rivals. 

10. Lincoln Corsair— $35,945


Lincoln
The Lincoln Corsair

Score: 4.2 / 5

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair is an all-new compact SUV for the American luxury brand, and we’re impressed. It’s stylish, quiet and comfortable, which is par for the course for the resurgent Lincoln brand. The interior is a serene sanctuary with plenty of room for passengers and cargo with sliding and reclining 2nd-row seats. The Corsair is very competitively priced at the base level, but if you get into the upper trims with the optional engine upgrade, it can get into the same pricing territory as the bigger, 3-row Aviator. A plug-in hybrid Corsair Grand Touring is on the way, but we haven’t driven it yet as of this writing. 

11. Porsche Macan— $50,900


Porsche
The Porsche Macan

Score: 4.2 / 5

From the driver’s seat, the 2020 Porsche Macan lives up to its brand’s legacy. The Macan blends luxury and performance in a way that few competitors can match, but it’s not the most practical choice in this segment. The interior space is a little tight, and its fuel economy is unimpressive, but what the Macan lacks in everyday practicality it makes up for in driving excitement, especially in the higher-performance models. The Macan has the highest starting price on this list by a considerable margin, but it’s also very nice on the base level. 

12. Alfa Romeo Stelvio— $41,400


Alfa Romeo
The Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Score: 4.1 / 5

The 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a seductive Italian luxury crossover at a price that’s competitive with its European rivals. The Stelvio delivers a high level of excitement, but not the highest level of refinement. Cargo space is a bit tight, but the cabin is reasonably roomy for passengers. This stylish Alfa boasts best-in-class standard horsepower and torque, and things get really crazy when you upgrade to the high-performance Quadrifoglio model. All of that power is delivered to the road in a composed manner with crisp handling and a comfortable ride. 

Read: These 3 EVs are the lowest cost to own over 5 years

13. Jaguar F-Pace— $45,200


Jaguar
The Jaguar F-Pace

Score: 4.1 / 5

You can look at it from any angle and the 2020 Jaguar F-Pace is unmistakably a Jaguar. The F-Pace delivers real Jaguar performance — especially with its supercharged engine options in the upper trims — but doles out a nice measure of practicality with its generous interior space for both passengers and cargo. This is a nice SUV, but some of the cabin materials are a bit substandard considering the price of this Jag. We like the performance and the roominess, but the F-Pace has one of the highest starting prices in this segment, and its value proposition is questionable. 

14. Buick Envision— $31,995

Score: 3.6 / 5

The 2020 Buick Envision is a bit torn between the mainstream and luxury categories. The Envision has a few things going for it like budget-friendly pricing, a strong turbocharged engine option and sliding and reclining back seats, but it’s not up to par with its more expensive competitors in terms of interior luxury or driving excitement. The base engine is dull, and we really recommend springing for the turbo if you’re shopping for an Envision. If you’re looking for the most elegant and opulent compact SUV, you’ll have to shop elsewhere and pay a lot more, but the Envision is good for drivers looking for a luxury bargain. 

Also see: 8 new luxury SUVs for under $50,000

15. Land Rover Discovery Sport— $37,800

Score: 3.6 / 5

The Land Rover Discovery Sport sits at the bottom of our list because it just isn’t as refined or luxurious as the best small luxury SUVs in this class. Driver-assist technologies that come standard on many competitors are optional in this Land Rover, and its fuel economy is underwhelming, even from the hybrid. Where the Discovery Sport shines is off-road where it’s more capable than most rivals, plus it carries a reasonable base price. Drivers who do most of their driving on the pavement will be better off shopping elsewhere. 

Also see: The 10 best new car models of 2020

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com .

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