Autobytel Fast Five: Affordable Luxury SUVs for 2012
There are two questions that must be answered before compiling a list of affordable luxury suvs for 2012. First, one must define what constitutes a sport/utility vehicle. Second, one must define what constitutes a luxury vehicle.
The answers are not as simple as you might assume, dear reader. The advent of the crossover suv has definitely blurred the lines with regard to the definition of a sport/utility vehicle, so for the purposes of this list of the best affordable luxury suvs of 2012, we’ll require standard or available all- or four-wheel drive combined with greater cargo capacity than a comparably-sized car offers and greater off-road capability resulting from higher ground clearance or improved approach and departure angles.
With that settled, let’s talk about luxury. Leather seats, modern technology, and excellent customer service at the dealership are no longer the sole province of luxury brands. Confusing the matter is the issue of underlying engineering and powertrains that are shared between mainstream and luxury brands.
For example, is a Jeep Grand Cherokee one of the most affordable luxury SUVs of 2012? It rides on a modified version of a previous-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class platform, and in top trim levels approaches $60,000 as a starting price. But the base model costs just $27,195. Because the base Grand Cherokee lacks luxury features commonly associated with upscale models, we’re going to take a pass and stick with established premium brands for this list of the best affordable luxury sport/utility vehicles of 2012.
And now, without further delay, we list the five finalists in descending order of price to name the most affordable luxury SUV of 2012.