The modern crossover and sport-utility vehicle market offers far more than just practical family accommodations. Top of the line people movers are now available with an exceptional level of comfort equipment, technological conveniences and luxury gear designed to create a premium driving environment previously only found in luxury sedans. There are even some members of this vehicle segment that surpass their non-luxury roots by providing a surprisingly high number of features for the asking price.
Let’s take a look at 10 top trim sport utility and crossover vehicles which offer more than just brawn and copious passenger room by way of their extensive standard features and definite bias towards the luxury side of the equation.
The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse is the largest crossover available from the domestic automaker. The Chevrolet Traverse LTZ AWD comes with a host of additional features not found on other versions of the vehicle, including heated and ventilated seats, a power liftgate, Bluetooth connectivity, rear park assist, 20-inch wheels and a 10 speaker MP3/CD player entertainment system. Also available are an optional dual SkyScape sunroof and two DVD screens for rear seat passengers.
The 2011 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ AWD also comes with a pair of drivetrain upgrades when compared to the standard Traverse. The first is all-wheel drive, which adds grip during low traction situations, and the second is a dual exhaust system that bumps engine output for the vehicle’s 3.6-liter V-6 up to 288 horses and 270 lb-ft of torque.
The 2011 Acura ZDX is a crossover that attempts to step out of the SUV mold and instead offer drivers a sportier, coupe-like driving experience. The Acura ZDX with Advance Package loads up the vehicle with the Japanese brand’s trademark high tech goodies: a navigation system, adaptive cruise control with a collision warning and a collision mitigation braking system, a blind spot warning system and voice control over the vehicle’s entertainment and climate management features. This high level of equipment is on top of items such as heated and ventilated Milano leather seats and a multi-view rear camera.
The 2011 Acura ZDX also comes with a 300 horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine that is managed by a six-speed automatic transmission with full manual control, as well as the brand’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The latter can actively manage torque distribution in order to enhance performance on a variety of different road surfaces.
The 2011 Infiniti FX50 AWD is the pinnacle of the sports car-influenced crossover’s lineup. The FX50 AWD trim adds serious firepower when compared against the entry-level FX35 thanks to the introduction of a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that is good for 390 horsepower. This unit is matched with a seven-speed automatic transmission and Infiniti’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system.
In terms of the creature comforts, the 2011 Infiniti FX50 AWD delivers through the inclusion of an automatic climate control system that includes a Plasmacluster air purifier, heated and cooled front seats, leather upholstery throughout the entire passenger compartment and a 9.3 gigabyte digital music storage system for use with the vehicle’s entertainment system. Optional on the FX50 AWD are a Forward Collision Warning system and Intelligent Brake Assist, which together can automatically slow the crossover should a potential impact be deemed unavoidable.
The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ AWD proves that even those shopping for a compact SUV can enjoy top-notch features and accommodations. Standard on the LTZ are items such as a power tailgate, heated and perforated leather seats, rear parking sensors and a memory feature for the power driver’s seat. The vehicle also benefits from an extensive brightwork package that adds chrome accents to the Equinox’s exterior. Optional equipment for the LTZ AWD trim shows as a navigation system and a rear seat DVD entertainment system. The 2011 Chevrolet Equinox LTZ AWD can also be ordered with an optional 3.0-liter V-6 under the hood, which is good for 264 horsepower and 222 lb-ft of torque.
The 2011 BMW X6 xDrive50i aims to crush the boundaries between sports coupe, sports sedan and sport utility vehicle. Although big and heavy, the X6 xDrive50i provides the kind of on-road performance typically restricted to much more svelte vehicles. Its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 is good for 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, and its standard all-wheel drive system helps it handle so well that it is easy to forget the X6’s considerable heft when behind the wheel.
The 2011 BMW X6 xDrive50i also comes with numerous luxury features, including 14-way adjustable front seats, extensive leather upholstery, a voice-controlled navigation system, a sunroof and adaptive HID headlights. For those buyers looking to take a step above the xDrive50i’s already impressive equipment list, options include an adaptive suspension system, ventilated sport seats with automatically-inflating bolsters to help keep occupants in place through tight corners and a surround sound entertainment system.
The 2011 Audi Q7 is the largest vehicle ever sold by the German premium car company in the United States, and it balances its practical towing and cargo capacity with opulent interior surroundings and reams of power. The Q7 3.0 TDI Prestige trim features a turbocharged diesel V-6 engine that generates 225 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque from its 3.0-liters of displacement, and the SUV also comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive.
Setting the 2011 Audi Q7 TDI Prestige apart from lesser editions of the SUV are features such as adaptive HID headlights, heated and ventilated front seats, 20-inch wheels and a blind spot warning system. Buyers can also have an adaptive air suspension system installed in the TDI Prestige version of the SUV, along with adaptive cruise control, a 14-speaker surround sound system and even larger 21-inch wheels.
The 2011 GMC Yukon Denali makes a serious effort to separate itself from other versions of the popular full-size GMC sport utility vehicle. The Yukon Denali offers a much different look than the standard Yukon, with mesh grilles, more rounded body and 20-inch chrome wheels that are not available on other Yukon models. Inside, the Denali offers enhanced acoustic insulation that isolates driver and passengers from road noise, as well as a heated steering wheel, a surround sound system, heated leather seats, a power tailgate and an adaptive suspension system with air assist.
Under the hood, the 2011 GMC Yukon Denali also features a unique standard engine; a 6.2-liter V-8 that grinds out 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. Matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, Denali owners also enjoy the availability of a full-time all-wheel drive system that is not available on any other Yukon.
The swooping, avant-garde styling of the 2011 Lincoln MKT is enhanced by the additional features and power available when ordering the EcoBoost with Elite Package trim. This model’s standout piece of equipment is its 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. This engine delivers 355 horsepower and comes packaged with the MKT’s standard all-wheel drive without sacrificing the fuel mileage offered by the base MKT.
The 2011 Lincoln MKT EcoBoost with Elite Package also offers features such as a voice-controlled navigation system, a THX-certified surround sound system and a power panoramic sunroof. The Lincoln MKT also provides all the other equipment that luxury car buyers expect in a top spec full-size crossover, such as power adjustable pedals, three zones of automatic climate control, heated and ventilated leather seats and the SYNC vehicle interface system.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL550 is the most impressive version of Mercedes-Benz’s answer to the full-size American sport-utility vehicles favored by drivers who prize towing and total interior volume. The GL550 matches the seven passenger capacity of many of its premium SUV competitors but it also heaps on a healthy dose of German luxury, including adaptive HID headlights, three zones of automatic climate control, ventilated leather seats with a massage feature, 21-inch wheels and a voice-controlled navigation system. The Mercedes-Benz COMAND interface system is additionally on hand to tie together most of the GL550’s important convenience features.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL550 derives its motivation from a 5.5-liter V-8 that is good for 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard equipment, as is 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
The biggest, longest edition of the 2011 Cadillac Escalade is the ESV V8 Platinum. All versions of the Escalade come with three zones of automatic climate control, heated and ventilated leather seats (including heaters for second row passengers) and a voice-controlled navigation system. The Platinum trim provides additional upgrades in the form of 22-inch wheels, a dual-screen DVD entertainment system, an even higher standard of leather hides for each seating position and LED headlights. Even the cup holders in the ESV V8 Platinum can be heated or cooled in order to maintain beverage temperatures at the optimum level.
The 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV V8 Platinum relies on a 6.2-liter V-8 engine that is tuned to provide 403 horsepower and 471 lb-ft of torque. This power can be sent to either the rear or all four wheels depending upon whether optional all-wheel drive is selected. A six-speed automatic transmission handles the shifting duties for the top of the line Escalade.