The Best 2019 Luxury SUVs Under $40,000
Seven Luxury Crossovers For You To Choose Fromby Safet Satara, on
Can you buy luxury for less than $40k? Consider these seven SUVs produced by companies who are focused on bringing better than average quality, more engaging driving characteristics, and better reliability than others. All of the SUVs here are residing in the compact SUV segment, but that shouldn’t deter you from choosing one of them as each one gives a unique take on what is basically the most popular segment today.
All of the crossovers listed here are of unibody construction, basically taking technology and the driving feel from smaller cars and adapting it for SUV/Crossover lovers. They are the pinnacle of compact SUV design.
Revealed in 2016 as an all-new model, the latest BMW X1 builds on the previous-gen model with increased length and width. Not only did it adapt BMW’s styling language in a better way than the first gen car ever did, but it received a more upscale cabin which manages to look and feel better while at the same time offering better comfort and convenience features.
The appearance of higher trim levels, AWD keeps price below $40k, 8-speed Automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes, 8-way power front seats, 232 horsepower 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine.
Halogen lights (LEDs cost $950 extra), 6.5" infotainment display is small, it not as big as some on the list.
With a starting price of just under $34,000, one would assume that it would take a lot of options to creep past the $40k mark. However, BMW is infamous for charging premiums for its tech, and the X1 is not an exception. Luckily, the xDrive is available for exactly $2,000 more. Add to that a $2,500 Convenience Tier with features such as the Auto-dimming rearview mirror, Auto-dimming exterior mirrors, Comfort Access keyless entry, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 1-year All Access Subscription, Universal garage-door opener, Ambient Lighting, Lumbar support, Power-Folding Mirrors, and Panoramic Moonroof and you are already at $38,400.
Nevertheless, despite a sparse looking interior with that small center screen, the X1 feels like a solid choice. It comes with a fantastic 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine mated with 8-speed automatic and xDrive system. A quite compelling package for less than $40,000.
|BMW X1 sDrive28i||$33,900|
|BMW X1 xDrive28i||$35,900|
Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X1.
This one is considerably bigger compared to the X1, however, if you want one with a turbocharged engine and AWD, you would have to spec out the 2019 Buick Envision with the Premium trim level, and this would jack up the price considerably above 40k.
It’s big, features a lot of standard equipment in its Essence trim (including leather seats, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Tri-zone automatic climate controls, and Heated steering wheel). It also comes standard with an eight-inch color touchscreen with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A more powerful turbocharged engine and an AWD system come at a hefty premium, and it’s not as upscale as other models in this segment.
Despite being built in China, the Buick Envision has seen healthy sales since its introduction three years ago. However, Buick has announced that it may withdraw the car from the U.S. car market if the trade war between China and the U.S. imposes tariffs on imported goods, so it may not be around for long. Nevertheless, it sits nicely in the compact SUV segment and offers plenty in terms of convenience, technology, and comfort. It may seem underpowered with just 197 horsepower and is limited to FWD, but the Envision Essence seems like a rather nice luxury crossover with standard LED headlights, hands-free power liftgate, and leather upholstery. You can get AWD below the $40k mark, however, you have to step back to a lower trim level, trading of some luxuriousness in the process.
|Buick Envision 1SV||$34,990|
|Buick Envision Preferred||$36,865|
|Buick Envision Essence||$38,715|
|Buick Envision Premium||$43,315|
|Buick Envision Premium II||$45,955|
Read our full review on the 2019 Buick Envision.
With an edgy design theme taken from the likes of the Acura NSX and the Precision Concept, the Acura RDX is the freshest on the market. Not only does it mark the final Acura evolution step which should launch the company into the stardom of sporty cars, but it does it in style. The 2019 Acura RDX is quite large, roomy and powerful. The only engine option is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, VTEC with 272 horsepower, and it’s paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
A powerful engine, an advanced 10-speed automatic transmission, standard Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System, handles well in most conditions, and it spacious inside.
Its styling may come off as an acquired taste and, with a starting price of $37,300, the 2019 Acura RDX becomes expensive, really fast.
As is the case with every Acura, the RDX does have that quirky and slightly bizarre quality to it. Not only on the outside but on the inside as well. The newest does look compelling inside, but one cannot escape that strange creases, shapes, and curves that are totally different compared to the last-gen model, but somehow strangely similar in character. Less than $40,000 can get you a multitude of safety gear, a panoramic moonroof, and Apple CarPlay support. Yet, if you’d like to go with AWD and have built-in navigation, the price will surge well past $40,000. Nevertheless, I find this particular SUV as one of the best offerings in this segment.
|Acura RDX (FWD)||10AT||$37,300|
|Acura RDX (FWD) with Technology Package||10AT||$40,500|
|Acura RDX (FWD) with A-Spec Package||10AT||$43,500|
|Acura RDX (FWD) with Advance Package||10AT||$45,400|
|Acura RDX (AWD)||10AT||$39,300|
|Aucra RDX (AWD) with Technology Package||10AT||$42,500|
|Aucra RDX (AWD) with A-Spec Package||10AT||$45,500|
|Aucra RDX (AWD) with Advance Package||10AT||$47,400|
Read our full review on the 2019 Acura RDX.
Perfectly suited to fight the likes of the BMW X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC, the XT4 is the newest and smallest crossover from Cadillac. Nevertheless, the XT4 is powered by a rowdy 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine, styling to die for, and a long list of options to choose from.
It looks great, is offered in three distinctive trim levels, and offers up 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque for decent blend between performance and economy.
It gets expensive fast, most color options come at a premium, and it’s a bit smaller than the BMW X3.
The newest Cadillac XT4 comes with the best gear Caddy can offer. It may be based on top of an architecture that’s shared with a number of other GM compact SUVs, but it sports a fine, plush interior that can be equipped with massage seats and other luxuries. One has to admire the sporty aura created around the car. It is evident, however, that Cadillac had to tune up its chassis and all other hardware to correspond with the XT4’s sporty character.
It starts at $35,790, but you have to add $2,500 more for AWD, or $1,500 for a sunroof. Luckily, millennials will be pleased that the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard equipment.
|Cadillac XT4 Luxury FWD||$35,790|
|Cadillac XT4 Luxury AWD||$38,290|
|Cadillac XT4 Premium Luxury FWD||$40,290|
|Cadillac XT4 Premium Luxury AWD||$42,790|
|Cadillac XT4 Sport FWD||$40,290|
|Cadillac XT4 Sport AWD||$42,790|
Read our full review on the 2019 Cadillac XT4.
The Lexus NX is an easy model it love. It is, somehow, honest and true to its compact SUV nature. Yet, its extreme exterior styling seems to be a major hit among customers, as the NX sells like crazy. The NX300 may seem like the best deal out there as it comes with a 2.0-liter engine that develops 235 horsepower. It sends it all to the front wheels for $36,185. Add $1,400 more and it will send that power to all four wheels.
Attractive appearance, quality materials, available AWD for less than $40,000, plenty of standard safety equipment.
Expensive optional equipment, it doesn’t have a lot of cargo space, and the interior isn’t as impressive as the outside.
The Lexus NX has been on the market for four years now. Despite the facelift, it’s not the freshest car on the market, but it does offer quirky and courageous styling that makes it more than competitive in its segment. Play your cards right, and you can get a full infotainment suit, four USB ports, and full complement of creature comforts while staying below the $40k threshold.
|Lexus NX 300 FWD||$36,185|
|Lexus NX 300 AWD||$37,585|
|Lexus NX 300h||$38,535|
|Lexus NX 300 F Sport FWD||$38,575|
|Lexus NX 300 F Sport AWD||$39,975|
Read our full review on the 2019 Lexus NX300.
It may be the smallest of the bunch and based on top of small hatchback architecture, but the GLA has been praised for its engaging driving characteristics, plentiful options, and a fairly decent interior. With a 2.0-liter, turbocharged that delivers 208 horsepower it may be one of the least powerful in this segment, but it is also one of the most affordable with an entry price of $33,950. AWD models start at $2,000 more.
It’s reliable, fairly well equipped, and can be had with AWD for less than $40,000
It’s based on an old architecture, has a dated exterior design, it’s not as powerful as other cars, is smaller than most in this segment, and it’s not exactly suitable for off-roading.
Thanks to a fairly low entry price, the Mercedes-Benz GLA250 can be specced up quite well and still sit under the $40k mark. Add 4Matic AWD, an interior package, a few cool details inside, and a fine exterior color to spice it all up. Of course, you will have to deal with minuscule cargo room and rather cramped rear seats, though. It’s more sophisticated but isn’t as comfortable as other models in this segment.
|Mercedes-Benz GLA 250||$33,950|
|Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic||$35,950|
Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA.
This is easily one of the most anticipated compact crossovers ever. It’s so anticipated that Volvo simply can’t produce enough of them to satisfy demand.
It is like a baby XC90, features a modern interior, and has some of the best technology and safety equipment of all cars in this segment. You can get the X40 Inscription T5 AWD for less than $40,000. That is the most luxurious and the most powerful version.
The Volvo XC40 most certainly ticks all the boxes for the city crossover. It is well priced, cool looking, quite powerful with as much as 247 horsepower on tap. Taking inspiration from larger Volvo cars it also sports a unique exterior look and a dashing interior garnished with awesome leather, wood inlays, and metal. Especially in the top-notch Inscription version which is available for less than $40,000. If you can live with a slightly smaller cargo area compared other competitors in this segment, the 2019 Volvo XC40 may be the best option. It is not a surprise Volvo can’t keep up with demand.
|Volvo XC40 Momentum||$33,200|
|Volvo XC40 R-Design||$35,700|
|Volvo XC40 Inscription||$38,395|
Read our full review on the 2019 Volvo XC40.
Which Luxury SUV is Right for Me?
It is hard to pick out a clear winner here. The Acura RDX seems like a solid choice for someone in need of a modern SUV with a lot of gear, a lot of power, and a lot of space. But choosing more than one option will move the price far beyond $40,000.
On the other end of the scale, the 2019 Volvo XC40 seems like the perfect compact city crossover. It is super powerful, extremely well equipped, and comes with AWD. All for under $40,000.