For a number of decades, the Range Rover long stood out as the only real luxury off-roader you could buy in the UK. Now, though, the market has expanded greatly with the best luxury SUVs on sale originating from an increasingly broad number of brands.
Below we’ve ranked the 10 best posh SUVs on sale in Britain today, taking in a broad selection of this diverse and increasingly popular market.
The top 10 best luxury SUVs on sale
- Range Rover
- Porsche Cayenne
- Bentley Bentayga
- BMW X7
- Volvo XC90
- Audi Q7
- Mercedes GLS
- Lamborghini Urus
- BMW iX
- Rolls-Royce Cullinan
1. Range Rover
Nothing quite captures what a top-end SUV should be quite like the Range Rover. It’s the original posh off-roader and still one of the most desirable luxury cars out there with an air of obtainability.
A new model will go on sale later this year, but despite being older than many other cars on this list, the outgoing Range Rover is still a hugely convincing proposition. Few off-roaders are more capable when the going gets tough, while on-road, the Range Rover’s refinement and ride leave little to be desired, thanks to extensive insulation and standard air suspension.
Perhaps what matters most to buyers in this market is the amount of choice afforded. The Range Rover line-up is expansive, with several models to choose from. Although the base Vogue model is luxuriously appointed, even including a digital TV receiver, several loftier equipment lines are offered plus is a sporty SVAutobiography Dynamic version.
Engines range from a 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel with 296bhp, to a 557bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8, while in-between you’ll find a 345bhp diesel, a 394bhp six-cylinder petrol, another supercharged V8 model with 518bhp and even a plug-in hybrid version.
2. Porsche Cayenne
For buyers after a large luxury SUV with some sporting pedigree, Porsche has the answer with the Cayenne. It has quickly established itself as one of the brand’s most popular models across three generations, and the current model is the best yet.
It’s difficult to really call a car as large and as heavy as the Cayenne (especially in plug-in hybrid guise) sporty. But, in a class of cars with no real dynamism the Porsche is the closest thing you’ll get to a large luxury SUV that’s fun to hustle at speed, Lamborghini Urus excluded.
The range-topping Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid packs 671bhp and is capable of 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds. That’s true supercar-baiting territory, but even the entry-level 335bhp Cayenne still manages the benchmark sprint in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 152mph. What’s more, the Cayenne is a lesson in luxury inside, tastefully applying some 911-inspired touches in a spacious, well-made environment.
3. Bentley Bentayga
The Bentayga has been a huge success for Bentley and in a very short timeframe has become the Brit brand’s best-selling car. In fact, it currently accounts for nearly half of all Bentleys leaving showrooms around the world.
Sharing the same basic underpinnings as the Porsche Cayenne, the finished product is very different in the metal. The Bentayga features the sort of interior craftsmanship you’d expect in the Flying Spur and Continental GT, and buyers can opt for bespoke personalisation through Bentley’s Mulliner division – something you can’t do with a Range Rover.
Power comes from a V8 or W12 engine, or, in line with the brand’s plans for future electrification, a V6 plug-in hybrid. All three offer plenty of power in various states of tune, but if speed is what you desire, the range-topping Bentayga Speed’s 6.0-litre W12 engine develops 626bhp and 900Nm of torque.
4. BMW X7
Though BMW’s SUV line-up is now one of the biggest in the business, the X7 allowed the brand to enter a new territory. This was the Bavarian brand’s first Range Rover-sized SUV, and it’s an affordable entry into this list, all things considered, with prices starting at just around £80,000 for the 335bhp six-cylinder X7 xDrive 40i model,
It skimps on quality a little to achieve this, with the X7’s cabin feeling more closely related to those in its smaller and saloon-bodied siblings. It won’t venture as far off-road as the Range Rover, either.
But, on-road it’s good to drive for a car of its size, and crucially it’s a seven-seater. As a result, it’s good to think of the X7 as being an alternative for prospective Porsche Cayenne buyers who need space for more than five.
5. Volvo XC90
It’s been around for a few years now, but the Volvo XC90 still stands out as a brilliant luxury SUV, and it’s a relatively affordable one too, compared with rivals.
That’s because the XC90 starts from around £59,000, with the range-topping 385bhp plug-in hybrid T8 Twin Engine Inscription Pro model still priced from less than the basic cost of a BMW X7.
The entire XC90 line-up uses four-cylinder engines, so buyers looking for a bit of presence under the bonnet will have to look elsewhere. It’s far from the sharpest SUV to drive, but it is one of the most comfortable and will be more affordable to run than most of its rivals. It’s still one of the most modern-feeling options too, with a cool, Scandinavian influence to the cabin design.
6. Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 has been a hit in Britain since launching in 2007, and the current version retains plenty of what has made this car such a success story for the Audi brand.
It’s priced similarly to the Volvo XC90, but while the Volvo majors on comfort, the Audi is pitched as being a sportier affair, and that tells not just in the way it looks inside and out, but also in the way this seven-seat SUV drives.
It’s strong on tech, and for infotainment lovers the Audi is a top choice. Touchscreen everything isn’t for all, but there’s little denying that the Q7’s dual-screen set-up with haptic feedback, combined with the ever-impressive virtual cockpit display is one of the sharpest-looking and slickest infotainment set-ups out there.
7. Mercedes GLS
If size matters, the Mercedes GLS is the place to look. Exclude the £250,000-plus Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and you’re looking at one of the largest SUVs on the market.
The new flagship Mercedes SUV is simply enormous. Seven adults can travel in it comfortably – and they will do, thanks not just to the sheer amount of space on offer in the cabin but also to standard air suspension across the line-up.
Mercedes has aimed to make the new GLS the ‘S-Class of SUVs’, and while it’s not the poster-boy of the luxury SUV market like the S-Class is in the limousine segment, there’s a clear likeness, based simply on how refined the GLS is on the move. Few SUVs are better suited to long-distance cruising, while the GLS is also adept off-road too, when fitted with an optional off-road package.
8. Lamborghini Urus
The Urus isn’t the first Lamborghini SUV, but it’s the most important car the brand has launched in years, designed to inject the sort of cash-flow into the company that Porsche has seen since introducing the Cayenne.
With Lamborghini part of the VW Group, the Urus is based on the same platform as its Porsche developed sibling. It uses an engine found in the Cayenne and Bentley Bentayga too – a turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, developing a whopping 641bhp.
It means that the Urus is one of the fastest SUVs in the world, capable of reeling off the sprint to 62mph from standstill in just 3.6 seconds, while top speed comes in at 190mph. And this supercar worrying performance comes with a bit of off-road ability too.
Space is limited to room for five, with the sporty rear end clipping away a bit of headroom. But this really is an SUV aimed more at the drag-strip than green-lanes and family outings in comfort and convenience.
9. BMW iX
The BMW iX is not the brand’s first electric SUV but it is the first to be built on a dedicated EV platform. While its looks may be divisive, there is no doubting the iX’s appeal in the newly growing electric sector of the luxury SUV market.
Three versions are available, the xDrive40, xDrive50, and the sportier M60, offering up to 257, 380, and 357 miles of battery range respectively. While all models should prove easy to live with everyday with such solid ranges, they also offer an incredibly refined drive, plenty of head and legroom, and a high level of overall quality.
Make no mistake, the iX is a heavy car with a kerbweight of 2,440kg, so if you’re looking for the usual BMW sportiness and agility, you may be disappointed. However, if you’re after a luxury cruiser that reaps the savings and benefits of going electric, the iX should be high on your list.
10. Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Put simply, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the most luxurious SUV money can buy. This is reflected in the prices, which start from more than £250,000, making it head and shoulders the most expensive car in this list.
For the money, buyers get trademark contemporary Rolls-Royce opulence in a huge, high-riding package. Not only is it the most lavishly appointed SUV you can buy in Britain, it’s the biggest too, sizing up noticeably larger than even the Mercedes GLS.
Under the bonnet sits a 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine producing 563bhp and 950Nm torque. It lives an unstressed life, and contributes to the immensely refined and serene environment the Cullinan is on the move.
The firm’s first SUV is aimed more towards people who will climb behind the wheel rather than the chauffeur market. To that end, it’s good to drive too, while Rolls has worked hard to ensure that the Cullinan is not just a leviathan for the road – it’s immensely capable off-road too. Throw in trademark Rolls’ personalisation, and it’s clear that the Cullinan is an SUV worthy of its prestigious badge.