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Best cars

Top 10 best luxury SUVs 2024

With high driving positions, all the tech and lavish interiors, these SUVs are as fashionable as they are functional

Best luxury SUVs

Proudly sitting atop the automotive opulence food chain are luxury SUVs. A far cry from the original four-wheel drive farmyard workhorses of the last century, these 4x4s are just as happy cruising through trendy neighbourhoods as they are ploughing through muddy fields. With their high driving positions, cosseting cabins and advanced technology, luxury SUVs provide everything you need to feel like royalty on the road.

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We can thank the original Range Rover from 1970 for kickstarting the luxury SUV trend, as it was one of the first 4x4s to combine off-road ability with a plush interior. Ever since, manufacturers have continued to throw more leather and more technology into their off-roaders, resulting in today’s expansive – and expensive – crop of luxury SUVs.

Today, the SUV is the most fashionable bodystyle, whether your budget is £20,000 or £200,000. Where saloons were once the pinnacle of luxurious motoring, high-riding SUVs have since become the new standard, although the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series are still popular choices for those wealthy enough to employ a chauffeur.

That’s why there are now so many luxury SUVs on sale – depending on the exact definition, we could have filled this list twice. Alongside models from established manufacturers, many high-end brands have unexpectedly burst onto the SUV scene; a decade ago you’d have never imagined SUVs like the Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Aston Martin DBX. Even Ferrari offers an SUV now in the form of the Purosangue.

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These SUVs offer the very best in cutting-edge automotive technology. They’ve got the newest powertrains, the latest connectivity and state-of-the-art driving assistance. All offer their occupants unparalleled comfort and cocoon them from the outside world. Many of these SUVs have room for seven, too, so you can bring all your family or staff along with you.

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Make sure to check out our guides to the best luxury cars and best luxury small cars on sale, but keep reading to take in our rundown of the best luxury SUVs to buy now.

Range Rover SUV review

RR 1
Carbuyer rating

4.4 out of 5

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Some say that the original is always the best, and the Range Rover is perhaps one of the clearest examples of this. Over the last 50 years the iconic model from Land Rover has evolved from an utilitarian workhorse into a classy, yet capable luxury SUV – a segment that it practically invented. This means that Range Rover drivers can traverse the most rugged terrains, all while being cocooned in the car’s sumptuous and tech-filled interior.

According to Range Rover, the latest model adopts a ‘reductive modernist’ design, which is a fancy way of saying it's an evolution of the previous version, essentially removing or concealing any unnecessary clutter, such as the window seals. Buyers can choose from a ‘Range’ (pun intended) of powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid model with up-to 70 miles of electric range; this almost makes the Range Rover seem economical, ignoring the £100,000 base price, that is.

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With bags of space, a surprisingly impressive turn of speed, and, of course, a comfortable and tech-laden interior, the Range Rover remains the best luxury SUV on the market. Unfortunately, car thieves seem to agree, so be warned about sky-high insurance costs… 

Mercedes GLS SUV

Mercedes GLS
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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Often overshadowed by the flashy yet impractical G-Wagon, the GLS is the Mercedes SUV for those who want more space but a similarly imposing exterior. Billed as the ‘S-Class of SUVs’, the GLS takes several features from its limousine sibling. Everywhere you look it is adorned in the highest-quality materials, while the centre of the dashboard is dominated by Merc’s slick dual-screen MBUX infotainment system. Of course, if this isn’t quite luxurious enough, Mercedes also offers a Maybach model with even more opulence.

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If you can’t quite stretch to the £180,000 GLS Maybach 600, there is a choice of two engines: a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel in the GLS 400d and a muscular 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 model. Most people will opt for the former, with its 326bhp offering plenty of poke to shift the GLS’s huge bulk. Unfortunately, there’s no plug-in hybrid version available, which means you’ll be spending plenty of time (and money) at the pumps.

Audi Q7 SUV review

Audi Q7 SUV
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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It may not be the most visually striking SUV to ever grace the private school car park, but the Audi Q7 offers undeniably high levels of quality and practicality. Fresh from its second facelift, Audi’s biggest SUV is still the best option for those wanting a flagship car that’s a little subtler, despite being nearly a decade old.

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Just like many SUVs of this size, the Q7 comes as standard with seven seats. However, even with seven seats in place there is similar boot space to that of a MINI hatchback, while folding the third row down reveals a cavernous 865 litres. If style is more important to you than space, the Audi Q8 trades the third row of seats and a bit of boot volume for a sleeker, coupe-style sloping roofline.

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Despite being such a large car, the Audi Q7 can be relatively affordable to run. The plug-in hybrid powertrain option provides up to 34 miles of pure-electric range and fuel economy figures that approach 100mpg, providing you keep the battery charged up. There are also traditional petrol and diesel engines available with mild-hybrid technology as well as a powerful V8 petrol in the SQ7. However, none of these will be anywhere near as efficient as the plug-in hybrid.

Lotus Eletre SUV review

Lotus Eletre SUV
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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It’s fair to say that Lotus’s latest creation, the 2.5-tonne electric Eletre SUV, has little in common with its back catalogue of lightweight sports cars, besides the yellow badge on the nose. While the British brand is known best for cars such as the Elise and the new Emira, the Eletre propels it into the world of luxury SUVs for the first time. That may sound like heresy for some, but the Eletre is an undeniably impressive debut for the new, electric era of Lotus.

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To win over luxury-car buyers, your SUV needs a suitably posh interior, and the Eletre undoubtedly delivers on that front. It’s a truly transformational car for Lotus, providing the build quality, premium materials and technology to match the best of this class. There’s seating for five – four with the pricier Executive configuration – and the boot is bigger than many rivals, too.

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Cabin refinement is further improved by the smoothness and quietness of its electric underpinnings, plus it shifts like a stabbed rat should you decide to put your foot down. The suspension is remarkably smooth, yet the Eletre will attack a B-road with impressive agility and accurate steering. Maybe there is some old-school Lotus in there after all. 

BMW X7 SUV review

BMW X7 SUV
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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The X7 may be the largest model in the BMW range, but it still channels the brand’s values of making premium cars that are focused on the driver. Essentially an SUV version of the 7 Series luxury saloon, the X7 is loaded with the latest technology and high-quality trim. Three rows of seats are fitted as standard in the X7, and, like its rivals, the middle three-seat bench can be swapped for two individual seats that make it feel more like a private jet than a bulky SUV.

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BMW facelifted the X7 in early 2022, reaffirming the SUV’s already-contentious design. This mid-life update included a revised split headlight design as well as an illuminated kidney grille. On the inside, the X7 now gets the electric iX’s curved, ‘floating’ infotainment system as well as a more minimalist dashboard design. Yet, rather strangely, there is still no plug-in hybrid version available, with the X7’s model range simply receiving minor efficiency enhancements in the form of mild-hybrid assistance.

Genesis GV80 SUV review

Genesis GV80 SUV
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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Genesis is a relatively new brand to the UK market, having only sold in the US and Korea until recently. The manufacturer acts as Hyundai’s luxury brand, similar to the relationship between Lexus and Toyota. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim of badge snobbery, however, as the Genesis GV80 is one of the poshest-feeling SUVs on sale and boasts an interior to rival that of even the Bentley Bentayga.

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While the majority of SUVs try to focus on sportiness as well as comfort, most end up becoming a ‘jack-of-all-trades, master of none’. On the other hand, the GV80 focuses solely on comfort. It’s a decision that has paid dividends, with its supple suspension soaking up any disturbances caused by our bumpy British roads. Company car buyers beware, however, as there is no plug-in hybrid option for the GV80 yet, leaving the GV80 in the highest Benefit in-Kind tax band.

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That being said, the GV80 is the most affordable car to buy outright on this list, although it certainly doesn’t feel like it from behind the wheel.

BMW iX review - impressive flagship electric SUV

2022 BMW iX SUV
Carbuyer rating

4.1 out of 5

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Public reception of BMW’s latest design direction hasn’t been overtly kind, and the brand’s first ground-up electric car, the iX, is certainly one of its most controversial. With an oversized kidney grille and unusual proportions, this is certainly not the prettiest car to come from the Munich-based brand. Thankfully, drivers will spend most of their time sitting inside the iX, where they can enjoy its stunning interior.

The inside of the BMW iX strikes a perfect balance between elegance and avant-garde design, with a huge ‘floating’ infotainment system setup, plus luxurious crystal buttons and controls. Despite being a new-fangled electric car, the iX drives just as well as any combustion-engined BMW; its low centre of gravity provided by the battery packs means that this SUV feels a lot more nimble than its two-and-a-half tonne weight may suggest. 

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Entry-level cars have a sufficient range of 257 miles, while upgrading to the larger 105.2kWh battery pack grants a Tesla Model X-beating 380 miles between charges.

Bentley Bentayga review – an opulent and comfortable SUV

Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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The Bentley Bentayga has been an imposing presence on our roads for nearly decade now, and while you’d struggle to call the original version attractive, an update in 2020 gave the SUV a much more elegant appearance. Neat touches such as the car’s crystal-embedded headlamps or push-knob air vents help exude an exclusivity and quality not found in even the most upmarket of rivals. Furthermore, while other cars offer a small options list, each Bentley customer is only limited by their imagination when it comes to customising their Bentayga.

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You may expect that a Bentley SUV would be as efficient as a chocolate teapot, however, this doesn’t have to be the case. While the brand does indeed offer the Bentayga with a rorty V8 engine, shrewder buyers can instead opt for a V6 plug-in hybrid. There was even previously a 12-cylinder version, but this has been discontinued.

In reality, most Bentayga owners probably aren’t worried about fuel costs, but the hybrid does return MPG figures that, unlike the other models, are in the double digits. The plug-in hybrid also boasts an electric-only range of around 25 miles – perfect for prowling the streets of Mayfair.

Mercedes EQS SUV review

Mercedes EQS SUV
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

Read full review

Mercedes is no stranger to the luxury SUV market, with the G-Wagon and aforementioned GLS taking pride of place in its lineup for many years. But what if you’re a luxury SUV shopper who thinks that burning fossil fuels is too last-century?

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Well, Mercedes invites you to step into the EQS SUV, its flagship electric 4x4 with zero emissions and zero compromises on luxury. Based on the EQS saloon, the high-riding variant gets the same opulent interior, complete with an IMAX-rivalling ‘hyperscreen’ and lashings of leather, wood and metal. 

It can't match its electric rival from Lotus for sportiness, but the EQS SUV prioritises comfort, ensuring a cosseting ride for passengers front and back. Wind and road noise is scarcely noticeable, even on the motorway, and the suspension handles poor surfaces impressively, effectively managing the car's weight on all manner of roads. Still not luxurious enough for you? The Mercedes-Maybach EQS promises to elevate interior opulence even further, but don’t expect it to come cheap. 

Aston Martin DBX SUV review

2021 Aston Martin DBX
Carbuyer rating

3.9 out of 5

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Having witnessed the sales success of the Bentley Bentayga, Aston Martin decided it wanted a piece of the luxury SUV action and released the DBX. It’s more athletic than the Bentayga in terms of both looks and driving dynamics, but still offers an interior worthy of any head of state.

Refinement is impressive, with a comfortable ride that remains alert and ready to tackle quick changes of direction. A Mercedes-sourced V8 engine provides the grunt and the DBX doesn’t bat an eyelid at the thought of overtaking. Yet it will happily waft through town, too, complimented by the occasional burble from the exhaust.

From behind the wheel, practically every surface you see is covered in leather. The DBX lags behind rivals in terms of tech and overall quality, but some buyers will appreciate Aston Martin’s decision to prioritise traditional, premium materials over flashy screens that are likely to look outdated in several years.

Prefer the Nürburgring to the King’s Road? Read our list of the top 10 performance SUVs…

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