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Best Luxury SUVs in Canada: Our 12 Top Picks

If a premium SUV or crossover is on your shopping wishlist, here are 12 models worth looking at – from smaller luxury models to mid-size and full-size options.

SUVs are in high demand in the mainstream world, and the premium variety is no exception. Luxury carmakers of all shapes and sizes have, over the years, equipped themselves with some sort of sport utility vehicle. 

Even Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and now Aston Martin sell SUVs. Indeed, the world has changed. It seems even high-revenue consumers prefer the lifted ride height and all-weather capability of an SUV to a luxury sedan.

Here are our top picks for luxury SUVs in all categories.

Subcompact/Compact Luxury SUV & Crossovers

4. MINI Countryman

Cooper S | Photo: MINI 

Who is this for? Active families looking for a luxury subcompact crossover that stands out, but that’s also fun to drive and highly practical.

Why we like it

  • Cheerful looks and immensely fun to drive. It just looks so cool.
  • A wide variety of drivetrain options, including a plug-in hybrid and a 302-horsepower John Cooper Works model.
  • The expected build quality and premium feel from the BMW group. 

Yes, it’s true, the MINI Countryman is a mechanical twin to the BMW X1 and X2. But we feel that the MINI’s cheerful personality and quirkiness allow it to be considerably more interesting than its corporate cousins. 

No matter which Countryman you buy, you’ll be having loads of fun behind the wheel. From enjoyable chimes when opening the door, to playful graphics in the infotainment system, everything about this subcompact crossover screams “let’s go out there and have some fun!”

If fuel-efficiency is your thing, there’s a plug-in hybrid variant that’ll run on pure electricity for up to 30 kilometers. That’s enough to cover most people’s daily commutes without consuming a drop of petrol. Looking for a bit more oomph from the engine compartment? How about the 189-horsepower Cooper S. Not enough? Try on the 302-horsepower John Cooper Works model. There’s a Countryman for every type of driver.

3. Acura RDX

RDX A-Spec | Photo: Acura 

Who is this for? Families looking for a luxury SUV with a sporty drive, but that won’t cost them an arm and a leg. 

Why we like it

  • A good blend of sportiness and luxury at a reasonable price.
  • Powerful and fuel-efficient turbocharged engine.
  • Highly effective all-wheel drive system.

Ever since the Acura RDX was updated for its third generation, it has stepped up its game to the point where it has become a genuine contender to the German elite. Except, the RDX sells for several thousands of dollars less than a comparable Audi, a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz.

There are so many things to like here, from the dynamic, NSX-inspired design, to the highly effective Super Handling All-wheel drive system. Oh, did we mention its turbocharged four-cylinder engine was taken straight out of the Honda Civic Type R

The RDX is quick off the line and fun to drive on a winding road, but it’s also roomy, comfortable, loaded with technology and offers one of the highest cargo capacities in its class. Furthermore, underneath its angular sheetmetal lies a good old Honda. This means your RDX should last a long time – given it’s been treated with the proper maintenance – and shouldn’t cost too much in running costs. This Acura wins on so many levels.

2. Volvo XC40

XC40 | Photo: Volvo 

Who is this for? Young families, couples or empty nesters looking for a beautifully designed and well-built utility vehicle with a Swedish touch.

Why we like it

  • Beautiful Scandinavian design mixed with an impeccable fit and finish and a premium feel.
  • Powerful and fuel-efficient turbocharged engine.
  • Available in a fully electric Recharge version.

The Volvo XC40 is hands down one of the most beautiful subcompact luxury SUVs currently on sale. We love the Thor’s Hammer LED headlights, but also its clean, uncluttered design. 

This sexy Swede does so many things right. It’s Volvo, which means it feels well put together and super solid on beaten roads. It’s roomy inside, despite not look it on the outside. Its cabin is quiet, its seats are comfortable and supportive, and it comes with a clever infotainment system that operates just like a smartphone. We also love the performance provided by the turbocharged 2.0-litre T5 engine.

Looking to save a few trees during your drive? Perhaps the all-electric XC40 Recharge could fit the bill. Sure, at 335 kilometers of range, it’s a bit behind other EVs currently on the market. But in this form, the XC40 is quick thanks to 408 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque from two electric motors. 

1. BMW X3

X3 | Photo: BMW 

Who is this for? Families looking for a dynamic drive and a bit more muscle under the hood.

Why we like it

  • Drives like a sports sedan, but with the added benefits of an SUV.
  • Largest cargo space in its class.
  • High-performance M40i and X3 M versions are what enthusiasts look for.

Even if BMW now sells seven sport utility vehicles, it hasn’t forgotten its roots. The X3 is the Ultimate Driving Machine in the same way the BMW 3 Series is the queen of luxury sport sedans. 

The X3’s secret to driving like a sports car lies in the fact that it’s built like one, with its engines installed longitudinally and sending the power to the rear wheels first.

Of course, all X3s are all-wheel drive thanks to BMW’s excellent xDrive system. Base models come with a punchy turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder good for 248 horsepower. But it’s in M40i form that things really become interesting thanks to a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six. 

Mated to a 48-volt mild hybrid system, this engine pumps out a class-leading 382 horsepower, allowing the X3 to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in only 4.4 seconds. Did we mention there’s also an X3 M and X3 M competition with 473 and 503 horsepower on tap? 

 

Mid-size Luxury SUVs

4. Acura MDX

MDX Advance | Photo: Acura 

Who is this for? Families looking for something more affordable than a German equivalent.

Why we like it

  • Powerful and reliable V6 engine.
  • Fantastic all-wheel drive system. 
  • Lots of storage, low maintenance costs and great resale value.

We like the Acura MDX for precisely the same reasons as its corporate cousin, the Honda Pilot: it’s capable, reliable, quick off the line and very spacious inside. It also sells for considerably less.

The fourth-generation model, introduced for the 2022 model year, doesn’t change much from a technical standpoint, but it gets important updates in the areas that matter. An all-new ten-speed automatic transmission leads to better acceleration and improved fuel economy, while an entirely updated infotainment system brings the MDX into the modern age thanks to useful features like over-the-air updates and a WiFi hotspot. 

The MDX’s SH-AWD (for Super Handling All-wheel Drive) system remains one of the best in the segment thanks to actual torque vectoring on the rear axle. Its V6 engine is strong, but also fuel efficient. Plus, when properly equipped, this Acura will tow 5,000 pounds. It’s a win-win formula for everyone.

Check out our full 2022 MDX Platinum review here.

3. Genesis GV80

GV80 | Photo: Genesis 

Who is this for? Families looking for a unique luxury experience. 

Why we like it

  • Eye-catching design and a lot of luxury for the price.
  • Powerful four-cylinder, fantastic twin-turbo V6.
  • Genesis’ online and all-inclusive business model is smart, revolutionary and in tune with modern consumer trends.

Genesis has been its own brand for just over five years, yet it’s already disturbing high-end luxury German carmakers. With the GV80, Hyundai’s luxury division shows us that it can also manufacture a proper seven-seater SUV capable of taking on the industry’s finest (here’s a look at our top 7-seater SUVs picks)

No matter which version you’ll choose, you’ll be getting a lot for your hard-earned money. With a base price of $65,000, the GV80 comes very well equipped and powered by a 300-horsepower 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. 

All trim levels come standard with all-wheel, and all of them come with a 5-year valet service. This means that Genesis will come pick up your vehicle for maintenance or repairs wherever it’s located and drop off a courtesy vehicle in exchange. 

If that four-cylinder isn’t enough, Genesis also offers a 375-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6.

2. BMW X5

X5 | Photo: BMW 

Who is this for? Families who don’t need room for seven passengers and looking for a more dynamic driving experience.

Why we like it

  • A wide choice of powertrains, including a plug-hybrid variant.
  • Expected BMW build quality and focus on driveability.
  • High-performance M and M Competition models are out of this world.

We like the X5 for the precisely the same reasons we like the X3: it's a wonderful blend of luxury, quality, and performance. While it only offers two rows of seats, making it a five passenger instead of seven, the X5 is loaded with content. 

There are several drivetrains to choose from, starting with a 335-horsepower turbocharged straight six, all the way to a tire-shredding 617-horsepower V8 in the X5 M Competition. 

Ironically, the most interesting version isn’t the M, but the xDrive45e plug-in hybrid. With up to 52 kilometers of all electric range, it’s the best in its class, besting even the Volvo XC90 Recharge. Furthermore, this PHEV puts down a combined 389 horsepower, allowing it to be properly quick off the line. Then again, did you expect otherwise from a BMW?

But apart from performance, the X5 is a jack of all trades. It’s roomy inside, comfortable, well put together and feels rock solid on beaten roads. Plus, it’ll tow up to 7,200 pounds.

1. Audi Q7

Q7 | Photo: Audi 

Who is this for? Families looking for a chic and refined luxury SUV.

Why we like it

  • Looks good and it’s loaded with technology. 
  • Fantastic handling, powerful and fuel-efficient engines, highly effective all-wheel drive system.
  • Well put together with the expected refinement and sophistication of a high-end German vehicle.

The Audi Q7’s rivals from both BMW and Mercedes-Benz are strong, but it simply does a better job at being a family-oriented machine. Both engines, whether you opt for the 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, or the 335-horsepower turbo/hybrid V6 are smooth, powerful and highly fuel efficient.

The Q7’s interior is beautiful, build quality is second to none and there’s plenty of room for the kids as well. Some will accuse the third-row to be tight, and it’s true, but the Q7 makes up for it on winding roads thanks to one of the best sorted suspension setups in the business. It’s also very solid over road imperfections and its cabin is very quiet. Added bonus : the Audi Q7 can tow 7,700 pounds.

 

Full-size Luxury SUVs

4. BMW X7

X7 | Photo: BMW 

Who is this for? Families looking for a more refined and sportier large luxury SUV experience.

Why we like it

  • The expected BMW driving dynamics in a large premium SUV.
  • The same amount of comfort and luxury as in a 7 Series executive sedan.
  • High-performance M50i and Alpina models bring the full-size SUV to a whole new level.

Contrary to the other vehicles on this list, the BMW X7 isn’t based on a pickup truck. It’s not even a body on frame setup. But that doesn’t prevent it from ranking among the best luxury full-sizers currently on sale.

Sure, it’s not as large as an Escalade or a Navigator, but it’s still properly massive. The X7 has thick leather seats that can be adjusted for all shapes and sizes while providing a soothing massage on the go. Its rear seating area offers plenty of room for the kids and their gear, although we do wish there was a tad more room in that third row.

But none of that matters when you put this big guy through its paces. The X7 may be huge, but it doesn’t feel that way from behind the wheel. It drives just like any other BMW product, meaning you feel deeply connected to the road. We particularly like the M50i due to its 612-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8. Looking for a bit more exclusivity? How about an Alpina XB7. How’s that for being a VIP?

3. Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Grand Wagoneer | Photo: Jeep 

Who is this for? Large families who enjoy Jeep’s go-anywhere promise.

Why we like it

  • Massively ostentatious, the way a Grand Wagoneer should be.
  • Loaded with technology and high-end creature comforts.
  • The expected Jeep all-weather and all-terrain capability.

Jeep isn’t a premium brand, but with the return of the Grand Wagoneer, it just proved that it can in fact build a high-end luxury SUV. The Grand Wagoneer is big. Very big. It rides on a pickup truck frame sourced from the Ram 1500. Underneath its hood lies a massive 6.4-litre V8 that churns out 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Yes, it’s a gas guzzler, but also a heavy hauler, capable of towing up to 8,200 pounds.

Jeep plans on adding a plug-in hybrid powerplant next year to balance out the thirsty V8’s fuel consumption. Meanwhile, consumers can relax inside the Grand Wagoneer’s equally grand interior, with plush leather seats that include massaging functions, a premium McIntosh sound system and not one, not two, but a total of five screens.

Where the Grand Wagoneer really shines is out there in the beaten paths. It’s a Jeep in every respect, meaning it’s fitted with the company’s famed Quadra Trac II equipped with a two-speed transfer case. 

2. Lincoln Navigator

Navigator | Photo: Lincoln 

Who is this for? Families who look for all the capability of a full-size pickup truck but with the added comfort and luxury of a Lincoln.

Why we like it

  • Unquestionable road presence.
  • Class-leading towing rating.
  • EcoBoost engine is more fuel efficient than V8 rivals, allowing you to save on displacement taxes.

The full-size luxury SUV war is so fierce that we could have given the Lincoln Navigator and the Cadillac Escalade a tie. That’s how good they both are. But while we adore Lincoln’s execution of the thing, some cheap cabin materials force it to take a back seat to its Cadillac rival.

Don’t worry, the Escalade doesn’t feel cheap. While, yes, Lincoln did neglect some cabin details, the overall fit and finish remains impressive, with massive leather thrones and wood veneers that were inspired from yacht designs. 

The Navigator is based on the Ford F-150, which means its body on frame construction allows it to tow up to 8,700 pounds. That’s the highest towing rating in the category, by the way.

An independent rear suspension setup allows this SUV to be a lot smoother than the truck on which it’s based, and the powerful twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-litre V6 is considerably more fuel efficient than the competition’s V8s. Plus, if you live in a province that imposes a tax on large displacement engines, you’ll be happy to own this SUV.

1. Cadillac Escalade

Escalade V-Series | Photo: Cadillac 

Who is this for? Families who look for the meanest looking, most technologically advanced fullsize luxury SUV currently on sale.

Why we like it

  • You’ll look like a superstar wherever you’ll go.
  • Crammed with a slew of innovative technology.
  • Two engines available, including a turbo diesel straight six.

The Cadillac Escalade is the king of the hill in this segment. For starters, it looks properly cool, reminding everyone that someone important is sitting inside. There’s also much more flexibility in the way you can configure it compared to its rivals. For instance, Cadillac offers two wheelbase options, with the Escalade ESV being the longest one.

Power comes from a tried and proven 6.2-litre V8 complete with cylinder deactivation for improved efficiency. There’s also a strong turbo diesel inline six (Duramax) that packs a whopping 460 lb-ft of torque. 

But while the Escalade can’t tow as much as the Navigator (8,200 pounds), it makes up for it with its class-leading technology. From a 38-inch screen that serves as a dashboard, to the highly impressive Supercruise autonomous driving aid, the Escalade is General Motors’ technological showcase. Just like the Navigator, it’s fitted with an independent rear suspension as well, giving way to massive leg and head room in the third row. Here’s our look at the entire Cadillac SUV lineup.

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