2019 Lincoln Nautilus White Driving Front Quarter

10 Luxury SUVs Under $50K

The luxury vehicle market has made such a hard turn toward SUVs that it's almost difficult to remember when a sedan was the typical luxury-vehicle purchase. The simple fact is that luxury customers share mainstream buyers’ enthusiasm for the versatility, all-wheel drive traction, and sheer interior space that SUVs provide. It seems as if every month a new luxury-brand SUV or crossover makes its way into the market. Consumers just can’t seem to get enough of them. Today’s luxury suvs are as stylish, comfortable, and quiet as their luxury sedan counterparts. In fact, even when it comes to performance — typically an SUV’s shortcoming versus a sedan — the current crop of luxury SUVs acquit themselves very, very well. So which luxury SUVs under $50,000 offer the best value? We are here to help. Here are the 10 best luxury SUVs under $50,000.

  1. 2020 Infiniti QX60
  2. 2020 Lincoln Nautilus
  3. 2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio
  4. 2020 Volvo XC60
  5. 2020 Audi Q5
  6. 2020 BMW X3
  7. 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC
  8. 2020 Cadillac XT5
  9. 2020 Acura MDX
  10. 2020 Lexus RX
2020 Infiniti QX60

2020 Infiniti QX60

The Infiniti QX60 is a three-row luxury crossover that is a value opportunity in the segment. Based on the same platform as the Nissan Pathfinder, the QX60 takes exterior styling, interior design and materials, and an overall level of ease up several notches. Under the hood is a Nissan-engineered 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 295 horsepower and one of the highest peak torque figures of a sub-$50,000 luxury SUV, making the QX60 one of the most responsive. The engine is mated with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission; that's far from the norm among luxury SUVs, but it can mimic the feel of a conventional transmission while aiding fuel economy. The QX60 is available in both front- and all-wheel-drive versions. Among the pluses: access to the third row is surprisingly easy due to the long travel of the sliding second-row seat. Infiniti Connection includes access to 24-hour automatic crash notification, emergency call, enhanced roadside assistance, stolen vehicle reporting, and remote door lock/unlock, among other services. The brand was the pioneer of the Around View Monitor that creates a virtual "birds-eye view” to give drivers a clearer picture of nearby hazards during parking maneuvers.

2020 Lincoln Nautilus

2020 Lincoln Nautilus

The Lincoln Nautilus luxury mid-size SUV is picking up momentum for its winning combination of exterior style, features, technology, and value. The vehicle’s exterior and interior approaches are completely different. On the outside, the SUV is bold, chrome-laden, and a bit in-your-face, while on the inside Lincoln designers have gone for the “sanctuary” approach, a place that doesn’t overwhelm you with too much information or clutter. Acoustic side glass reduces wind noise for rear passengers, while engineering solutions decrease sound from the road. In a further effort to ease your load, Lincoln Co-Pilot360 uses cameras and radar to enhance a driver’s capabilities to do things like avoiding collisions in blind spots. The vehicle's evasive steer assist gives steering support to help avoid a slow or stationary vehicle if a potential accident can’t be mitigated by braking alone. Designed for a supple, quiet ride, the Nautilus is powered by a 250-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, while the optional engine is a far more aggressive 335-horsepower 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

While others are at the wheel mainstream-derived SUVs, you can pilot a vehicle inspired by a legendary Italian sports car brand with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It’s decidedly more driver-oriented than the typical luxury suv in this price range. With standard all-wheel drive, a suspension tuned for dynamic handling, and a 280-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the Stelvio will have you feeling like you are in a somewhat taller sports sedan. The suspension tuning works so well with the engine’s 308 lb-ft of low-end-available torque channeled through its eight-speed automatic transmission you might be tempted to shift gears yourself. Inside Stelvio, the distinctly Italian interior delivers a masculine vibe. For 2020, the SUV features a new standard 8.8-inch center touchscreen display with improved graphics, driver-configurable interactive widgets, and horizontal scroll for additional personalization. In all, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is an irresistible combination of versatility and performance that makes it a standout.

2020 Volvo XC60

2020 Volvo XC60

The traditional Volvo virtues of uncompromising safety, innovative engineering, and Scandinavian design find expression in the Volvo XC60 luxury mid-size crossover suv, a vehicle that has come to symbolize the brand. Since it shares its basic platform with the larger, more luxurious XC90, the XC60 gets many of that model’s up-level systems, an obvious benefit to the buyers of the under-$50K SUV. Automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping are standard equipment to set the safety tone, and Pilot Assist — Volvo’s semi-autonomous driver assistance system that steers, accelerates, and brakes on well-marked roads — is available as an option. As with the XC90, several powertrains are available, including a plug-in hybrid. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offering 250 horsepower. Instead of bombast, the XC60’s interior reminds one of a seaside cottage, albeit one with a mammoth center-mounted infotainment touchscreen.

2020 Audi Q5

2020 Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 is the brand’s answer to the BMW X3, and it becomes almost uncanny how similar the five-passenger SUVs are in size, engine configuration, horsepower, and features. Unlike the base rear-drive BMW X3, however, the Q5 is equipped with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive. The Q5 also cloaks itself in Audi’s attractively understated exterior style led by the distinctive three-dimensional headlights, “Singleframe” grille, and clamshell hood. In combination with its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Q5’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder TFSI engine offers 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, enabling a sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds. Inside, you have the typical well-tailored, highly functional Audi interior we’ve become used to. It includes the availability of the Audi Virtual Cockpit system, complete with a 12.3-inch digital display, and Audi’s MMI infotainment system. A 19-speaker, 755-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system is among the options.

2020 BMW X3

2020 BMW X3

The BMW X3 is one of the most fun-to-drive luxury suvs. While some say it sacrifices some utility in favor of performance, most BMW drivers would probably make that trade, so the X3 has become a durable favorite. These days, the SUV is built in a relatively new factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that also assembles other BMW SUVs. But the X3’s German heritage is obvious in everything about the vehicle. Take the interior, filled with hexagonal forms that set the theme for the easy-to-use dash, instruments, and controls. The five-passenger X3 includes 3-zone automatic climate control with separate temperature controls for the rear seat, and the angle of the standard 40/20/40 split-folding rear backrests can be adjusted individually. Under the hood, the X3 embraces turbocharging with its 248-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. On the road, there is little doubt that BMW engineers gave this “Sport Activity Vehicle” a non-SUV feel.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC

The Mercedes-Benz GLC has been one of the major sales successes of the past few years, as the brand has come into its own as a full-line crossover-builder. Among the GLC's special bits of magic, it is better-looking than the typical luxury suv; it offers an elite level of ride and handling, and its handsome prow sports the three-pointed Mercedes-Benz star. With its sophisticated multi-link front and rear suspension, adaptive shock absorbers, and 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the GLC delivers a confection of acceleration, handling, and comfort. The engine is abetted by a nine-speed automatic equipped with wheel-mounted shift paddles, and the GLC is offered with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The interior is a contemporary delight with the requisite instruments in a tidy nacelle immediately in front of the driver, while the center of the SUV’s dash is devoted to a bold conglomeration of a giant digital display, round vents, and understated climate controls. The 14-speaker Burmester audio system delivers concert-hall-worthy sound quality.

2020 Cadillac XT5

2020 Cadillac XT5

The Cadillac XT5 has received a makeover for 2020 with a new turbocharged engine, enhanced technology, and revised exterior design. The engine added to the mix is a 2.0-liter 237-horsepower turbo, which is now the standard powerplant in the Luxury and Premium Luxury levels. Like the venerable 310-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 that is also offered, it uses direct injection, camshaft phasing, cylinder deactivation, and automatic stop/start to optimize drivability and efficiency. Both engines use a sophisticated nine-speed automatic transmission. For the 2020 model year, the XT5’s interior has been revamped with new color and trim themes, including a black and brown treatment that includes premium leather seats, leather door trim, and armrests. Heated front seats are now standard, and a newly available Bose Performance Series sound system has been added to the options list. The XT5 offers one of the largest cargo areas in the segment, holding several sets of golf clubs.

2020 Acura MDX

2020 Acura MDX

When it comes to luxury-brand three-row SUVs, the Acura MDX has long been the go-to. The mid-size luxury suv delivers exterior and interior style with a level of performance that belies its SUV heritage. There is no doubt that the MDX succeeds in the truest tradition of SUV, while at the same time contributing its near mechanical perfection to challenging endeavors like picking the kids up at school or doing a run to the big-box store. The MDX’s Honda-designed 3.5-liter V-6 engine delivers 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft or torque, and that torque reaches the pavement through a 9-speed automatic transmission. The MDX’s available Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) takes the art of traction to the next level. Inside the current MDX, it becomes obvious that Acura has stepped up its game. Though the MDX looks and “drives small” — a good thing — it has a longer wheelbase and overall length than vehicles like the Lexus RX 350.

2020 Lexus RX

2020 Lexus RX

Lexus product planners continue to hit their target with the Lexus RX luxury suv, and that is demonstrated by its ongoing sales success. Luxury buyers love it. With ample room for five passengers, the RX features a lowered rear floor in the passenger area providing a seating position comparable to that in a sizable sedan. Behind the rear seats, the cargo area can accommodate up to four large suitcases or multiple golf bags. The RX’s cabin features highly adjustable, form-fitting seats and well-crafted wood trim. Though the RX is tuned for quiet comfort rather than driving performance, it has more than adequate power. The Lexus RX 350’s V6 engine delivers 295 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque, and it's backed by a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. A hybrid version of the model, RX 450h, features 308 combined horsepower and stellar EPA-estimated 30 mpg in mixed driving.