Have some cash to blow, but the wife, and/or husband, won’t let you buy a Porsche? Well, as bad as that might be, mid-range crossovers won’t solve that pain. Instead, they’ll provide a luxury driving experience with the fun factor of getting stabbed.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad. As much as we don’t like crossovers, we do think they’re better than massive SUVs. Some can even be fun to drive now and again. For these tests we will be looking at style, image, standard equipment, interior space, and driving dynamics. Price will also be considered, but not as much as the other areas.
We will have to get a price cap to keep things in the mid-level, so we’ll set it at $45,000. That should be more than enough to get the lower end luxury models from Cadillac plus the German and Japanese car companies.
Hit the jump to see the list.
10) Buick Enclave
The Buick is a decent car, but it’s not great. The look of the car is stylish and sleek, but the driving experience is lacking. The car’s design hampers outward visibility and there is way too much chrome. In fact, in direct sunlight, the chrome bits can reflect and hurt your eyes. On the plus side, the interior is spacious and the cargo room is fairly good. Prices start at $35,515.
9) Lincoln MKX
The MKX is the baby crossover of the Lincoln vehicle lineup and it sure isn’t a looker. Of course, by that we mean that the car is just ugly. In fact, there is no reason to buy this over the Ford Edge. The interior is made with cheap plastics and the brakes are awful. The interior is spacious and you get decent cargo room, but that just isn’t enough. Prices start at 38,845
8) Infiniti EX35
Like the Lincoln, the EX35 isn’t that good looking and that really matters in the crossover world. The build quality is fairly good and the driving experience is as good as it gets in the crossover world. For $33,000, you don’t get much interior space and the cargo volume is just average. As a driving machine, the EX isn’t bad, but you will be forced to sacrifice practicality.
7) Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
As far as parking lot credibility goes, the Mercedes GLK is on the top of the heap. However, does that mean that it’s a good car? No, in fact the GLK is a bit of letdown. It rides and handles well and feels like a well built machine, but the interior is a tad tight for the price. Like the Infiniti, practicality will have to take a back seat if you want this machine. Prices start at $34,600.
6) Cadillac SRX
Styling and sleek are two words that describe the crossover Caddy. The interior is comfortable and the ride is very plush. Yet, you don’t get a very good engine for the money. The base V6 is quite poor and in order to get a better motor, you’re going to have to pay some big bucks. Like the Buick, the outward visibility is hampered by the design and the driving experience is lacking. Prices start at $33,830.
5) Volkswagen Touareg
The larger version of the Tiguan, which came in first in our last top ten, isn’t nearly as good. The fuel economy really suffers with the V6 motor and, if you want any sort of options, it’s going to cost you. The interior space is lacking and ride is a tad hard. On a positive note, the Touareg is fun to drive, it can tow some serious weight, the engines are powerful, and the build quality is sublime. Prices start at $40,850.
4) BMW X3
First things first, the X3 is not a great looking machine and the ride is a bit stiff. On top of that, base price is never the real price, as BMW has a history of making customers pay serious money for idiotic options that should already be included. Now, on to the good stuff. The drive is relatively fun, the interior is made with some high end materials, the rear seat is spacious, and the cargo room is surprisingly good. Prices start at $38,850.
3) Lexus RX350
For some reason we just don’t like this machine. It could be the people who drive it or it could be the way it looks and drives. We’re not sure, but we do have to admit that it’s not a bad machine. Sure, it drives like a Lexus and the styling is a bit bland, but as far as practicality and reliability go, the RX is second to none. The ride is plush, the interior is well laid out, the seating is comfortable, and the electronics are easy to use. Prices start at $37,625.
2) Acura RDX
The RDX is everything that a crossover should be. Some might not like the styling, but we don’t mind it one bit. The driving experience is sensational, the acceleration is strong, and the comfort level is very high. Buyers will get a lot for their money and the RDX got excellent crash test scores. On the downside, the fuel economy isn’t all that great and the ride can be a tad firm. Prices start at $$32,520.
1) Audi Q5
Audi has a pretty good history with us. The A4 was our favorite sports sedan, the S4 ranked fairly high, and the S5 did as well. Add another first place trophy to the cabinet, as the Q5 takes the top spot. The interior is sensationally brilliant and the build quality is remarkable. The ride is firm, but supple and the seats are very comfortable. We love the way the Q5 handles, but the steering feel can be a tad artificial. The only thing the Q5 needs is a bit more cargo room and then it would be a perfect ten out of ten.
The Germans take the top spot, with the Japanese second and third. We all know Cadillac is on the rise, but the SRX isn’t quite there yet. It should be interesting to see what 2011 brings, as a few of these vehicles will be getting a makeover.