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Staying In The Family: SUV Options for Luxury Car Drivers

Benjamin Hunting
by Benjamin Hunting
November 25, 2011
6 min. Reading Time

Luxury car drivers are a loyal breed, so when it comes time to make the leap from a sedan or a coupe to a larger SUV or crossover they often prefer to bring home something that wears the same badge as the automobile they traded in. Some companies offer a very clear step up from car to SUV, while others provide an upgrade path that is a little more convoluted. Either way, it's possible for premium fans to stay true to their internal brand compass while adding conspicuous amounts of passenger room and utility to their daily driver.

Let's take a look at eight luxury vehicles from both sides of the Atlantic and see how they manage to maintain their family ties and offer logical options for premium car drivers interested in trading up to an equally opulent SUV.

01. 2011 Cadillac CTS

The 2011 Cadillac CTS is one of the largest and most comfortable compact premium sedans on the market. The Cadillac CTS boasts a well-tuned chassis that offers a good balance between soaking up road insults and offering responsive handling. It can also be ordered in a number of different trim levels and options packages that focus on either pure luxury (heated and cooled leather seats, rear parking assistance, panoramic sunroof, navigation system) or performance (sport suspension system, upgraded wheels and tires, re-tuned steering).

The 2011 Cadillac CTS features a pair of V-6 engine options. Its entry-level 3.0-liter generates 270 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque, while its available 3.6-liter pushes out 306 horses and 273 lb-ft of twist. Both motors return identical fuel mileage of 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway, transmission choices for either power plant include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive can be ordered along with the autobox.


02. 2011 Cadillac SRX

The 2011 Cadillac SRX is the natural crossover suv pairing for the Cadillac CTS. The mid-size Cadillac SRX has garnered quite a family following thanks to its five passenger seating and the availability of 61 cubic feet of total storage space with the rear row folded forward. The Cadillac SRX also features a car-like driving experience that makes most drivers forget they are piloting and SUV and not a sedan and it offers the availability of premium equipment such as a voice-controlled navigation system, heated front and rear leather seats, three zones of automatic climate control and a DVD entertainment system for passengers riding out back.

Most versions of the 2011 Cadillac SRX are shipped with a 3.0-liter V-6 under the hood, which provides 265 horsepower and 223 lb-ft of torque. Top-spec SRX crossovers can be outfitted with a 300 horsepower, turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 that also generates 295 lb-ft of torque for much livelier acceleration. Both engines makes use of a six-speed automatic transmission, and while the base SRX can be had in front-wheel or all-wheel drive trim the turbo model is all-wheel drive only. Fuel economy for the 3.0-liter V-6 tops that of the more potent, smaller displacement engine with a rating of 18-mpg city and 25-mpg highway.


03. 2011 Jaguar XK

The 2011 Jaguar XK is an excellent performer in addition to being one of the most well-appointed GT coupes available. The Jaguar XK is decked out with standard heated leather seats, dual automatic climate control, a surround sound audio system and a touchscreen navigation system. The brand's attention to fine detail is apparent throughout the coupe's cabin, and the vehicle's upscale trim can be enhanced through the addition of optional piano black wood veneer as well as a host of tweaks and changes accessible through the sport-oriented XKR model.

The 2011 Jaguar XK is gifted with a 5.0-liter V-8 that churns out 385 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, figures which are trumped by the XKR's supercharged edition of the same engine (510 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque). A six-speed automatic transmission is included with all models of the coupe, and the standard XK's fuel economy edges ahead of the XKR with a 16-mpg city and 24-mpg highway rating.


04. 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

It might seem unusual to pair the Jaguar XK with a Land Rover suv, but closer inspection reveals that not only do the two brands share an ancestral tie to the British Isles, but they are also housed under the same corporate roof. The fact that Jaguar and Land Rover are siblings is the primary reason why the designers at Coventry have not come out with a crossover of their own - they rely on Land Rover's stellar reputation in that field instead.

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport is an excellent step forward for Jaguar XK owners interested in a little more interior room than that which is offered by the snug coupe. Like the XK, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport is the top performer in the SUV-maker's lineup, and in addition to its five passenger seating and 71 cubic feet of total luggage space the vehicle also features options such as a dynamic suspension system and Brembo brakes. As with all Land Rovers, the Range Rover Sport is dripping with luxury, especially when the Autobiography package (unique exterior trim, top-end leather, surround sound audio) is specified.

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover Sport packs the same tandem of potent V-8 engines as the Jaguar XK - a 5.0-liter V-8 tuned to provide 375 horses and 375 lb-ft of torque, and a supercharged version of that mill that is capable of producing 510 ponies and 461 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a six-speed automatic transmission, and the Range Rover Sport returns fuel economy of 13-mpg city and 18-mpg highway in naturally-aspirated form.


05. 2011 Cadillac STS

The 2011 Cadillac STS is a full-size domestic luxury sedan that doesn't skimp when it comes to coddling its occupants. All of the features one would expect from a Cadillac are present and accounted for in the STS (leather upholstery, keyless ignition, Bose audio, dual automatic climate control) and a number of options packages can improve the interior's accoutrements to include Bluetooth integration, seat warmers and a navigation system. The Cadillac STS can also be given performance enhancements such as a limited-slip differential rear differential, up-sized wheels and bigger brakes.

All versions of the 2011 Cadillac STS come with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that provides 302 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive can be ordered as an option with the big sedan. A six-speed automatic transmission helps the STS turn in a fuel mileage rating of 18-mpg city and 27-mpg highway.


06. 2011 Cadillac Escalade

The 2011 Cadillac Escalade is an imposing full-size SUV that serves as the common sense successor to the Cadillac STS in a luxury car driver's evolution towards a more capable vehicle. The Cadillac Escalade's three rows of seating can accommodate up to eight passengers, and with those rows out of the picture it can swallow a cavernous 108.9 cubic feet of gear inside its plush environs. Of course the Escalade also comes with over-the-top exterior styling, a long list of high tech goodies and decadent options that include a heated steering wheel and chrome 22-inch wheels.

Motivating the 2011 Cadillac Escalade is a 6.2-liter V-8 engine. This unit is capable of putting out 403 horses and 417 lb-ft of torque, and buyers can choose between rear-wheel drive or a full-time all-wheel drive system to send that power to the ground. A six-speed automatic handles the gear-shifting duties, and fuel economy for the Escalade comes in at 14-mpg city and 18-mpg highway.


07. 2011 Jaguar XF

The 2011 Jaguar XF is a step into the future from the British luxury brand, an aluminum-chassis mid-size sedan that blends a sporting nature with the premium ride that Jaguar buyers expect. The Jaguar XF's modern styling pulls the automaker into the current century while also serving to underscore advanced features such as adaptive cruise control and a voice control system for the vehicle's multimedia and navigation systems. The XF Portfolio package brings a bit of Old World elegance to the sedan through the introduction of wood trim and attractive stitching on the vehicle's leather seats.

The Jaguar XF sees its base V-8 engine upgraded to a 5.0-liter unit for 2011, one which provides 385 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque right out of the box. Two supercharged editions of this engine are also on tap (rated at 470 horsepower and 510 horsepower, respectively), while a six-speed automatic transmission is charged with transmitting the output of all three engines to the rear wheels. Fuel economy for the entry-level XF checks in at 16-mpg city and 23-mpg highway.


08. 2011 Land Rover Range Rover

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover represents one of the most capable on or off-road SUVs on the market. The Land Rover Range Rover provides drivers with a luxurious daily driver that features an advanced four-wheel drive system and a raft of electronic systems that can make short work of almost any obstacle. It also serves as a comfy boulevard cruiser that can shuttle as many as five passengers or 74 cubic feet of cargo with ease and style. These dual personalities making it an excellent upgrade over the Jaguar XF.

The 2011 Land Rover Range Rover's drivetrain options present a familiar refrain to those familiar with the twin British brands. The Range Rover's 5.0-liter, eight-cylinder base motor generates 375 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque, while the supercharged version of the unit pleases the right foot with 510 horses and 461 lb-ft of twist. A six-speed automatic transmission offers drivers the ability to flip through the gears manually via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and fuel economy for all versions of the SUV is listed at 12-mpg around town and 14-mpg highway.



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