When luxury, style and comfort, not to mention prestige, are primary considerations in a luxury SUV, there are many very good used choices available today. How to choose? We go to the experts (Edmunds, Consumer Guide, U.S. News & World Report, Car and Driver, Kelley Blue Book and others) and pick out these three worthy of at least a first look:

  • Cadillac Escalade (2007-2009) – Last redesigned in 2007, the Cadillac Escalade, which can seat up to 8, 2007 Cadillac Escaladecomes in four models: Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT and Escalade Hybrid. Still in its third-generation, Escalade is the best-selling full-size luxury SUV. Edmunds calls Escalade “imposing, luxurious and powerful… one of the best full-size luxury SUVs on the market.” Powered by a 403-hp 6.2-liter V-8 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, this top-of-the-line Cadillac ‘ute boasts “status-symbol styling, coddling luxury and physics-defying power,” according to Edmunds editors – although there’s still no fold-flat rear seat and fuel economy is low. U.S. News & World Report hails Escalade as being “at the top of the large luxury SUV class with its stylish looks and powerful performance.”  Consumer Guide names Escalade as a Recommended Pick for its acceleration, ride/handling and passenger room. And Kelley Blue Book opines “Escalade stresses finesse over flashiness.”
  • Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (2007-2009) – Like Escalade, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class full-size luxury SUV was last redesigned in 2007. But for hauling people and things in luxury with plenty of power, U.S. News & World Report says this Benz “offers large SUV buyers real luxury.” The GL-Class has been Motor Trend’s “SUV of the Year,” and Car and Driver’s “Best Luxury Sport Utility.” Available in three models, GL-450, GL-550, and GL-320 Bluetec (50-state diesel engine, new for 2009), Edmunds comments GL-Class is “classy and refined… rises above the competition with its confident road manners and exquisite build quality,” although the “ride quality may be floaty for some… full load of features jacks up the price.” Consumer Guide says “Any GL is a Best Buy that offers impressive power and high levels of refinement.”
  • Porsche Cayenne (2008-2009) – This midsize luxury SUV from Porsche is, according to U.S. News & World Report “for those who would rather be driving a sports car… a luxurious, sexy alternative to a minivan or the ho-hum SUVs that make up the luxury midsize pack.” Edmunds says, “It may spit in the face of Porsche’s sport car heritage, but the 2009 Porsche Cayenne is a brilliantly engineered and thoroughly competent SUV for families on the (rapid) move.” Adding options gets rip-roaringly expensive, however, and Cayenne is “thirsty” and “short on cargo capacity versus rivals.”

Need more choices? Check out Infiniti QX56, Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Lexus RX 350 and 4o0h, Toyota Land Cruiser and Cadillac SRX.

By Suzanne Kane

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