While it may seem like they’ve been with us forever, the full-size luxury SUV is a relatively recent phenomenon. The category has matured and is well populated with some of the most formidable off road machines ever devised for general mass-market consumption. Interestingly, given the relatively low number of purchasers who actually take these vehicles off road, manufacturers have also endowed them with an extraordinary degree of posh. Indeed, many of the plushest rides on the roads these days are found within the ranks of the best full size luxury SUVs.
The 2016 Acura MDX is noteworthy among the best full size luxury SUVs for a number of reasons. First, as a Honda product, its engineering quotient is definitely on target. Further, its reliability and resale value are also quite exceptional. What’s more, the advanced technological features offered with Acura’s flagship SUV are absolutely outstanding. You’ll find cutting edge driver assistance technologies and an excellent array of infotainment features. Exceptionally well rounded, the MDX is arguably the most competitive vehicle in its segment. Power for the 2016 Acura MDX comes from a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower and 276 ft-lbs of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. Pricing starts at $42,865.
Audi’s first crossover utility model, the Q7 is a proven commodity—having remained on the market relatively unchanged since it was introduced way back in 2007. (It should be noted that an all-new Q7 is on tap for 2017.) The luxurious seven-passenger Audi delivers luxury car ride and handling characteristics (despite its full-size body), teamed with an exceptionally plush interior treatment and good cargo capacity. This, along with the high quality materials employed, as well as the obvious attention paid to its fit and finish, easily mark the Audi Q7 as one of the best full size luxury SUVs on the market. Strongly biased toward outstanding performance on the street, the Audi, despite its all-wheel drive powertrain is best suited to family-oriented suburban duties, though. Engines range in power from a 380-horsepower gasoline V6 to a turbocharged diesel with 406 ft-lbs of torque. Pricing starts at $48,300.
BMW’s X5 was the first sport utility vehicle of its type to come to market with a decided focus on high performance on the street. In typical BMW fashion, the 2016 BMW X5 and its X6 sibling are first and foremost all about the driver. If you’re looking for one of the best full-size luxury SUVs, but don’t want to sacrifice driving pleasure, X5 should definitely be on your short list. If you’re looking for more style, the X5’s mechanically similar X6 sibling has you covered. A choice of five propulsion units is offered for 2016, including a new 240-horsepower hybrid powertrain. For the almighty X5/X6 M versions, a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 makes 567 horsepower and 553 ft-lbs of torque. 2016 BMW X5 pricing starts at $53,900, X6 starts at $59,800.
Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV
After its complete redesign for the 2015 model year, Cadillac Escalade rules America’s highways with styling wholly reminiscent of President Obama’s state limousine. In addition to luxurious, the Escalade is generously spacious, outstandingly comfortable, and equipped with an array of the most contemporary luxury features you could possibly expect to find in one of the best full size luxury SUVs. The long wheelbase Escalade ESV provides more of the same in an even larger package. Long story short, the 2016 Cadillac Escalade is easily one of the class leaders. Designed strictly for the street, power comes from a 6.2-liter V8 good for 420 horsepower and 460 ft-lbs of torque. An eight-speed automatic is employed to route power to the rear wheels – or all four when the all-wheel drive option is selected. Escalade pricing starts at $72,970, Escalade ESV starts at $76,965.
Jeep Grand Cherokee/Grand Cherokee SRT
A relative newcomer to the ranks of luxury SUVs, the 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee offers a nice mix of style, rugged capability, and pavement-searing performance. Back in 2011, the Grand Cherokee’s significant redesign moved it up several classes in terms of standard equipment, luxury features, and perception, to number it among the best full size luxury SUVs. Jeep Grand Cherokee boasts a thoroughly fashionable interior treatment, as well as state of the art comfort and convenience. Grand Cherokee’s four available engines range in output from a 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, up through a 475-horsepower 6.4-liter V8 for the Grand Cherokee SRT. There’s also a 3.0-liter diesel V6 with 420 ft-lbs of torque. For 2016, Jeep Grand Cherokee pricing starts at $29,995.
Land Rover Range Rover/Range Rover Sport
Land Rover’s Range Rover is the most luxurious of the best full size luxury SUVs out there. In fact, the 2016 Land Rover Range Rover will take you anywhere on earth a motor vehicle could possibly travel. However, if you’re more into smoking asphalt than conjuring dust plumes, the Range Rover Sport performs on par with the best sport sedans out there. A new development for the 2016 model year is a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 with 440 ft-lbs of torque. For 2016, Land Rover Range Rover pricing starts at $84,950; Range Rover Sport starts at $64,950.
Lexus LX570/Toyota Land Cruiser
Pretty much everybody knows Lexus IS Toyota’s luxury brand. Fewer realize the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Lexus LX570 are essentially the same vehicle. Built on the same platform; the primary difference is the Lexus is finished a bit more nicely, so both qualify for this list of th best full-size luxury SUVs. One of the true benefits of the LX 570/Land Cruiser is the fact that their mechanical underpinnings are decidedly old school. When it comes to maintenance costs, this is highly advantageous because they’re very easy to work on. Power for the Lexus comes from a 5.7-liter V8 with 383 horsepower and 403 ft-lbs of torque (the Toyota gives up two horsepower and two ft-lbs of torque to the Lexus with the same displacement). Their four-wheel drive powertrains are tied together with a six-speed automatic transmission. Pricing starts at $83,825 for the Toyota, and $83,880 for the Lexus.
Lincoln’s Navigator is a relaxing highway cruiser with a broad array of luxury features in addition to comfortable seating, and serene quiet. The first American luxury SUV, Lincoln Navigator is also the first full-size American luxury SUV marketed without a V8. The Navigator’s turbocharged V6 makes 380 horsepower and 460 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard; four-wheel drive is optional. So in addition to the comfort you’d expect from one of the best full size luxury SUVs, the Navigator delivers reasonable fuel economy too. Pricing starts at $61,920.
Mercedes-Benz G Class
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV is one of the toughest vehicles ever made. Power comes from a 5.5-liter V8 with 382 horsepower and 391 ft-lbs of torque. There is also an AMG-powered version fitted with a twin-turbocharged version of the 5.5-liter, good for 536 horsepower and 560 ft-lbs of torque. The seven-speed automatic transmission feeds a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case, a limited-slip rear differential, and locking front, center and rear differentials. Sheer capability is the G-Class Mercedes’ strongest luxury feature. Pricing starts at $115,400.
Everything about the Mercedes-Benz GL is first class. After all, this is the Mercedes-Benz of the best full-size luxury SUVs. Among its many attributes, the GL-Class seats seven and is more than up to the task of dealing with a wide range of roads and conditions. Four engines are offered in the U.S. These include a 362-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo V6, a 429-horsepower 4.6-liter turbocharged V8, and a 5.5-liter twin turbocharged V8 good for 550 horsepower and 560 ft-lbs. There’s also a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 with 455 ft-lbs of torque, For 2016, Mercedes-Benz GL pricing starts at $64,550.
Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
The 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S goes just as strongly on pavement as it does offroad. Keep in mind; Porsche has an extensive rallying heritage, so any SUV the company offers must be reflective of this prowess. In addition to its sheer capability, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is an exceptionally luxurious automobile, easily deserving of inclusion on any list of the best full size luxury SUVs. The 4.8-liter turbocharged V8 in the Cayenne Turbo S makes 570 horsepower and 590 ft-lbs of torque. An eight speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. Pricing starts at $157,300.
Volkswagen’s Touareg delivers outstanding comfort on the street, while also possessing the ability to slog through mud, crawl over rocks, and traverse any sort of terrain at which you choose to aim it. Here’s something you may be hearing for the first time; the VW Touareg, Audi Q7, and Porsche Cayenne were co-developed. Further, three of the VW’s available powertrains are shared with the Porsche—one of which is a hybrid system. Power output ranges from 280-horsepower to 380. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard across the board. Pricing for the 2016 Volkswagen Touareg starts at $46,745.