Luxury sport utility vehicles have been a driving force over the past decade. Starting with early luxury SUVs such as the Lincoln Navigator and the venerable Land Rover Range Rover, the range of luxury SUVs has expanded greatly. In addition to these large vehicles, a variety of compact and mid-size luxury sport utilities are available.
Regardless of size, all of the sport utility vehicles on our top 10 best luxury SUVs list share certain attributes. They are stylish, comfortable, luxurious and exhibit outstanding quality both inside and out. Styling runs the gamut from the sophisticated 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class to the more traditional large-SUV styling found on the 2008 Chrysler Aspen. Our number-one SUV on the list -- the 2008 Lincoln MKX -- is a decidedly modern design that blends crossover-like styling with SUV underpinnings.
There are several reasons why buyers are willing to pay more to get a luxury SUV over a luxury sedan with the same features. Sport utility vehicles feature much more interior space, an oftentimes friendlier step-in height, standard and available all-wheel-drive and off-road capabilities and a wide variety of vehicle sizes to fit most lifestyles. There are additional attributes that are more difficult to measure, such as the ability to see over traffic when driving and the simple cachet of owning a luxury SUV.
Computing the Rankings
A total of 10 luxury sport utility vehicles were selected as the best luxury SUVs of 2008. This luxury SUV list is new for 2008, and there were no particular price caps or other limits. What we have here is simply the best of the best for this model year.
The sport utility vehicles were chosen and ranked based on style, fit & finish, performance, comfort and luxury features. At the top of the attribute list were style, luxury and fit & finish. Luxury SUVs are unique in the car buying world because typically, these vehicles are priced much higher than comparable luxury sedans. Therefore, buyers often expect a level of quality over and above even those standards found on luxury cars.
Regardless of why consumers choose to buy a luxury SUV, they are all looking for the attributes listed above. Price is important, but more importantly is the quality of the vehicle and the experience of owning it.
Our Luxury SUV Pick: 2008 Lincoln MKX
Starting at $35,605 the 2008 Lincoln MKX is amongst the lower priced offerings on this list. The all-wheel-drive model has a staring MSRP of $37,355. This relatively low MSRP combined with great styling and an impressive array of luxury and safety features make the MKX a stand-out offering for 2008. One of the mos interesting features on the MKX include the available panoramic Vista Roof -- essentially a very large sunroof. Also available are the Ford Sync voice-activated entertainment and communications system, all-wheel-drive and AdvanceTrac stability control. The MKX is powered by an ultra-smooth 3.5L Duratec V-6 producing 265-hp and 250 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The front-wheel-drive MKX achieves 16-mpg city and 24-mpg highway, with the all-wheel-drive version shaving 1 or 2 miles per gallon.
The standard safety equipment list aboard the MKX is lengthy. It includes front side airbags, driver and passenger airbags with dual stage deployment, Safety Canopy side head curtain airbags, automatic locking seatbelt retractors, electronic parking aid, crumple zones, seatbelt height adjustment, three-point seatbelts, seatbelt pretensioners and side guard door beams.
Top 10 Best Luxury SUV List:
1. 2008 Lincoln MKX
MSRP From: $35,605
MSRP From: $35,345
3. 2008 Subaru Tribeca (2009 model pictured)
MSRP From: $29,995
4. 2008 Volkswagen Touareg
MSRP From: $39,300
5. 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
MSRP From: $53,400
MSRP From: $34,630
7. 2008 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
MSRP From: $44,000
MSRP From: $77,175
9. 2008 Chrysler Aspen
MSRP From: $32,005
MSRP From: $48,430
Click here to see more top 10 cars.