Modern comfort comes in many sizes, and luxury compact SUVs are a perfect example of the depth and breadth of the premium market. Luxury compact SUVs are aimed at families who need the practicality and flexibility offered by an SUV, but who don't want to sacrifice the prestige or features of a large sedan. Automakers have answered the bell with a selection of small crossovers and SUVs that maintain the standard of living associated with more traditional premium products while offering the additional utility that has become such a strong selling point in the family segment.
Let's take a quick look at 10 luxury compact SUVs and see what they have to offer.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 01 - 2015 Lincoln MKC
The 2015 Lincoln MKC is an all new luxury compact SUV that builds on the dramatic styling that is a hallmark of the Lincoln brand. Scheduled to go on sale this summer, the Lincoln MKC marks the first time that a small SUV will be offered by the company, and it bundles its striking looks with a new, and optional, 2.3-liter, turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder motor that generates 275 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque (a nice improvement over the standard 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder unit). The MKC (which can be had with all-wheel drive) also marks the first implementation of the MyLincoln Mobile app that offers remote scheduling of engine starting and climate control to help cool down or heat up the SUV before you get inside.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 02 - 2014 GMC Terrain
The 2014 GMC Terrain is a classy luxury compact SUV that leaves the sporty pretensions at home and instead focuses on the kind of roomy, rock-solid driving experience that is a big part of the premium draw. The GMC Terrain is particularly appealing in Denali trim, a version of the SUV that adds unique styling inside and out as well as the highest quality leather and materials throughout the passenger compartment. The Terrain can be ordered with either a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine (182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque) or a 3.6-liter V-6 (301 horses and 272 lb-ft of torque), and a six-speed automatic transmission is standard with both. All-wheel drive can of course be selected as an option.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 03 - 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque stands out amongst compact luxury SUVs for two reasons. The first is the fact that it can be ordered in both two-door and four-door editions, the only premium utility vehicle that can make that claim. The second is its swept-back styling, which includes a roofline that plunges dramatically to the rear in order to simulate a 'couple-like' appearance. Under the skin, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque offers a strong level of off-road capability, in keeping with its namesake, and it also features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 240 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to all four wheels via a full-time four-wheel drive system and a six-speed automatic transmission.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 04 - 2015 Porsche Macan
The 2015 Porsche Macan looks poised to break sales records for the brand, which already counts the larger Porsche Cayenne SUV as its most popular model. The Porsche Macan might look a bit like a shrunken Cayenne, but it should provide a charm all its own when it hits the market in the near future. American buyers are in for a high performance treat, as the Macan that will make it across the Atlantic is set to offer either a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 (340 horsepower) in the Macan S, or a 400 horsepower, 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 under the hood of the Macan Turbo. All-wheel drive will be standard with either vehicle, and full-on fun is guaranteed thanks to the presence of a sport-tuned suspension system and Porsche's seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 05 - 2014 Acura RDX
The 2014 Acura RDX might not be as nimble as past models of the luxury compact SUV, but a recent redesign has given it many of the features and capabilities that family buyers are looking for. This includes an available climate control system that tracks the position of the sun to keep the cabin perfectly comfortable at all times, as well as 61.3 cubic feet of total cargo capacity with the rear seats folded forward. A 3.5-liter V-6 engine gives the Acura RDX 273 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque to play with, and the SUV also makes use of optional all-wheel drive to help ford through slippery driving conditions with ease.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 06 - 2014 Buick Encore
The 2014 Buick Encore is a little smaller than many of the other vehicles on this list, but its become one of the most intriguing options in the Buick stable since it was introduced last year. The Buick Encore's focuses on fuel economy, thanks to its turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that returns 25-mpg in stop and go driving and 33-mpg on the highway when found in front-wheel drive form (all-wheel drive subtracts a few miles per gallon from each measure). 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque are enough to get the Encore form point A to point B with dignity, and nearly 50 cubic feet of internal storage space are available with the rear row out of the picture.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 07 - 2014 Volvo XC60
A refresh for the current model year has made the 2014 Volvo XC60 a stronger contender amongst luxury compact SUVs. The Volvo XC60 now looks better, inside and out, and it also debuts a revised all-wheel drive system (optional on lower trims, standard with the top-tier engine) to give it a performance advantage over the departing model as well. The Volvo's base 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine might only be good for 240 horsepower, but a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder can be had with either the T6 (300 horses) or T6 R-Design (320 horsepower) editions of the SUV, adding significantly to its performance.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 08 - 2014 Infiniti QX50
The 2014 Infiniti QX50 can almost be thought of as a 'tall wagon,' because this luxury compact SUV delivers one of the most car-like rides around. Due to a somewhat small interior (less than 20 cubic feet to be found in the 'trunk' behind the rear row), the Infiniti QX50 is better suited for couples rather than families, but if your lifestyle fits into this SUV's cabin then you'll enjoy the option of a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system or a rare-for-its-segment rear-wheel drive layout. Both versions of the QX50 are motivated by the same 3.7-liter V-6, which grinds out 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 09 - 2014 Audi Q5
The 2014 Audi Q5 is the only luxury compact SUV on our list that is available with a frugal turbodiesel drivetrain. The Audi Q5 3.0 TDI delivers 24-mpg in city driving and 31-mpg on the highway, but the fact that these numbers are backed by 240 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque (and full-time quattro all wheel drive, like all versions of the Q5) are what make it the most remarkable. The Audi's base turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (220 horsepower) and supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 (272 horsepower) certainly aren't slouches either, making the Q5 a formidable, and comfortable, commuter.
10 Luxury Compact SUVs - 10 - 2014 Land Rover LR2
The 2014 Land Rover LR2 can be thought of as the Evoque without the sacrifices demanded by its slavery to style. The Land Rover LR2 rides on essentially the same platform as the Evoque, but it wears more upright, family-friendly sheet metal that dramatically improves the vehicle's practicality. You also get an identical 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the hood, along with Land Rover's legendary standard four-wheel drive system and a surprising degree of off-road prowess for such a small SUV. This includes the Terrain Response system, which configures the LR2's engine, transmission, four-wheel drive system, and electronic aides to best tackle specific driving situations.