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Top 5 Luxury CUVs 

Listed here are the top 5 Luxury CUVs of this year
Dan Heyman

Recently, we gave you a quick round-up of some of the top players in the burgeoning subcompact crossover segment; that is to say micro-SUVs that start out life as B-segment compact sedans, get given higher ride heights, all-wheel drive, and some slightly ‘butchier’ styling to match.

However, that article only really scratched the surface, as luxury CUV manufacturers were left off. That’s because as quick as the automotive market is to move to new segments these days, even the luxury folks want in on the action, and we’re not talking one manufacturer taking a risk on something new; we’re talking nearly every manufacturer coming to the table with something to offer.

BMW X4 (MSRP: $47,050)

The latest addition to the ever-growing BMW X family, the X4 borrows its styling from the larger X6, and its underpinnings with the X3. Technically, BMW calls it a “Sports Activity Coupé”; call it what you want, it’s an interesting thing. The sloping roofline looks fairly athletic, but it will imfringe a little on rear headroom. Which could be OK, assuming you don’t plan on putting much more than a baby seat back there. Up front, it’s all BMW; all the controls are subtly tilted toward the driver, the steering wheel is nice and thick-rimmed, and the view out pretty good. Two engines are available: a 241 horsepower turbocharged 4-culinder, and a mighty 300 six that makes equal amounts of torque. The latter means the X4 is the most powerful vehicle on this list, unless you count the AMG version of the GLA (see next entry). Both models come standard with xDrive AWD, one of the reasons this has the highest base MSRP on this list.


Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (MSRP: $37,200)

Of all the cars on this list, this one most closely resembles the hatch on which it’s based. Which doesn’t really matter in North America, because said hatch—the A-Class—has never been made available here. So, styling-wise, the “hatch-on-stilts” image is pretty strong on the GLA, especially when it’s riding on the skinnier tires that come with the base GLA250 model, good for 208 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Upgrade to the stonking GLA 45 AMG model, and not only do you get a bloody great big roof spoiler, but the most powerful 4-banger available at retail, good for 355  hp and 332 lb.-ft. of torque. Inside, where the X4 is driver-centric, the GLA is a little more cossetting for everyone, thanks to fancy metallic switchgear, sharp infotainment screen (that looks a little tacked-on, if we’re honest) and fine leather and, in the case of the AMG, suede surfaces. Like the X4, both models come standard with AWD, making this one of the better bargains on this list. It is the smallest of them all, though.

Mercedes GLA

Lexus NX200t (MSRP: $41,450)

Based on the Toyota RAV4 the Lexus NX200t starts out as one of the bigger vehicles on this list, but some swoopy styling cues—especially the roofline—mean it’s a little smaller inside than its cousin. What those styling cues do, however, is make for the most eccentric-looking cars on this list (a first for a Lexus, perhaps), thanks to touches like the sharp, spangly headlights (with LED DRLs), two-tone wheels and a blacked-out spindle grille, assuming we’re talking about the F-Sport version. Non-F-Sport versions get a silver grille, which doesn’t quite have the same visual impact. Power for both versions is the same: 235 hp, and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, which puts it right in the thick of this list. You feel the power, too; take-off is brisk, and thanks to smart turbo geometry, at-speed passing is rarely a problem. Oh, and if being green is of more importance to you than being overly quick, there’s a hybrid version, too, which is unique to this list.

Lexus NX200t

Land Rover Discovery Sport (MSRP: $41,490)

This is probably the biggest paradigm shift on the list; that “Sport” moniker is important, because it differentiates this Land Rover Discovery Sport from the previous Disco, which was as big, blocky, heavy and inefficient as can be. Now, a 2.0L, turbocharged four-banger gets you 240 hp and 340 lb.-ft. of torque, which is a lot of power when you only weigh 1,744 kilos. It looks good, too; you can see the family connection with heavy British medal like the Range Rover Sport, for example. Often times, taking lines from a larger car and transferring them to a larger one (or vice versa) doesn’t really work, but with the Disco Sport, it does. Add in the fact that you’ve got an interior covered in the fine real cowhide that Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles are known for, and you have an enticing proposition.

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Audi Q3 (MSRP: 34,300)

The smallest car on this list, the A3 is nevertheless a worthy competitor. For starters, it looks good in that understated, elegant yet somehow youthful manner that so many Audis do. Also like so much of the Audi line-up, it also has magnificent interior accoutrements, from the materials used, to the way everything’s fastened together. Tight as a drum, it is. Power comes from a single engine choice: a 2.0L I4 making 200 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque; that does make it the least-powerful car on this list, but a sportier “RS” version is available in Europe and could very well make it over here, if the movement continues at its current pace.

Audi Q3

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