Best luxury crossover SUVs come in a variety of flavors: from ultra-small, to slightly larger, to full-size ‘utes – all designed to satisfy consumer wants and needs for performance, comfort, luxury and style. Some drive like sporty luxury sedans, while a few are best known for their off-road prowess. And some are a balance of both car- and truck-like capabilities. Whichever one suits you best, here are five contenders for Best Luxury Crossover SUVs to put on your consideration list:

  • Audi Q5As the automaker’s first compact luxury SUV, Audi Q5 is a remarkable example of overall excellence: performance, style, luxury and the prestige of the brand. With standard all-wheel drive (AWD), Q5 is surefooted in slippery conditions and a blast to drive on dry pavement. The level of refinement, passenger and cargo versatility are unmatched by competitors, say reviewers, although the rear seat is cramped and prices can be steep. Consumers looking for a hybrid will have to wait for 2011. Kelley Blue Book comments: “The stylish and substantial exterior design speaks for itself. The interior oozes with both style and quality. The drive is comfortable and/or exhilarating, depending on your mood. The 2010 Audi Q5 is the category’s gold standard, and our current favorite.”
  • BMW X3An excellent performer, the 2010 BMW X3 compact luxury crossover SUV delivers the sporty ride and handling that is pure BMW. Luxurious high-quality interior, standard AWD, and a useful sliding rear seat are hallmarks, but X3 is the one of the most expensive in the compact luxury SUV class and the styling is five years old. Still, it’s a BMW, and a darned fine one at that. Edmunds says, “The 2010 BMW X3 xDrive30i is an excellent, if rather pricey, choice for driving enthusiasts who want a compact crossover SUV that feels and moves like a sport sedan.”
  • Lincoln MKTAll new for 2010, the 7-passenger midsize crossover SUV Lincoln MKT features unique (some say quirky) styling, turbocharged V6 engine, nice balance of ride and handling, and a quiet and upscale interior. Add a long list of standard features and some cutting-edge options and consumers can get a lot for the money. That’s the rub: MKT can get pricey – especially with the Eco-Boost turbo V6. The three-row crossover is expected to compete with Audi Q7 and Acura MDX. Car and Driver remarks: “We’re looking forward to a more extensive test, but we don’t need track numbers and hundreds of miles to know that this is one of the most surprisingly competent Lincolns we’ve sampled in a long time.”
  • Acura MDXFor 2010, the Acura MDX midsize luxury crossover SUV gets a new 6-speed transmission, modified exterior and new technology on the interior. It also provides one of the best combinations of smooth handling and high-tech cabin in its class, excellent safety scores – but a cramped standard third row. GearLog remarks: “The Acura MDX handles well, looks great inside and out (except from dead ahead), has all the right technology options and is easy to buy because the options are bundled in a handful of sensible packages…this may be your best choice in a medium-large luxury SUV in the seven-passenger class.”
  • Volvo XC90With standard third-row and 7-passenger seating, the 2010 Volvo XC90 luxury midsize crossover SUV is a good alternative to Acura MDX for best luxury crossover SUVs – and, at $37,700, about $4,500 less for the starting base price. Consumer Guide says, “This Best Buy premium SUV has contemporary styling and thoughtful features…a highly desirable blend of luxury, performance and convenience.”

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