Autotrader: 7 affordable luxury SUVs from nonluxury brands

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Luxury crossovers and SUVs are very nice, but they’re also very expensive. Something about that luxury brand badging really jacks up the price. And while it’s true that you’re paying for quality, you’re also paying for the logos. If the brand isn’t all that important to you, then you can save a bundle by buying a well-equipped SUV from a nonluxury brand often for much less than an SUV from a luxury brand with similar equipment.

Here are seven of the best luxury SUVs you can get from nonluxury brands in 2019.

Chevrolet Tahoe Premier

The Chevrolet Tahoe is a stalwart in full-size SUVs for good reason. It’s one of the original family SUVs with 3-row seating and true truck-like capability thanks to its mechanical similarity to the Chevy Silverado and standard V-8 engine. When you go for the range-topping Premier trim, you’re getting into real luxury territory with features like leather seating, which is heated and ventilated in front, heated second-row bucket seats with power release and folding functions, a power-folding third row of seats, wireless charging Bose premium audio and General Motors’ outstanding Magnetic Ride Control suspension. It’s not cheap, starting at $62,600, but that price looks pretty good when you compare it to full-size SUVs from luxury brands. 

Ford Expedition Platinum

The Ford Expedition Platinum.

The Chevy Tahoe’s top competitor, the Ford F, +1.54%   Expedition, is the best that it’s ever been. The top-of-the-line Expedition Platinum starts at $73,365 and comes standard with almost every feature you can possibly get on an Expedition. It also gets a performance upgrade, bumping its twin-turbo V6 up to 400 horsepower with premium fuel. A few of its many luxuries include leather seating with massaging front seats, active noise cancellation, wood interior accents, a panoramic moonroof and much more. The Expedition Platinum is awesome, but for a similar price, you can get the mechanically similar Lincoln Navigator which is definitely worth considering if you’re shopping in this price range. 

GMC Terrain Denali

Whether GMC is a luxury brand is debatable since so many of the trucks and SUVs it sells are the high-end Denali models, one of which is the GMC Terrain Denali. This is the smallest and most affordable SUV on our list, starting at a reasonable $37,800, which is still less than the starting price of many luxury SUVs this size. Its feature list includes a potent turbocharged engine, LED headlights with distinct signature lighting and a hands-free power lift gate. The distinct Denali exterior gives a hint of the luxury inside which includes leather seats that are heated and cooled in front, a heated steering wheel and real brushed aluminum accents. 

Honda Pilot Elite

If you like the idea of a practical midsize crossover with three rows of seats, the Honda HMC, +0.26%   Pilot is one of the most family-friendly SUVs in its segment. It has a third row of seats you can actually use, plus a roomy cargo area to boot, giving it almost minivan levels of practicality. When you go all the way up to the Elite model starting at $48,020, you get standard all-wheel drive (AWD), leather seating, heated second-row captain’s chairs, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless charging, a hands-free power lift gate, a moonroof and more. A Pilot won’t make you the coolest mom at soccer practice, but the Elite model is a great luxury value that is ready for family duty. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

It wasn’t that long ago that Jeep was a niche off-road brand. However, over the years it has blossomed into a diverse lineup of SUVs from affordable small crossovers up to luxurious offerings like the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit. The Grand Cherokee holds on to its Jeep heritage by delivering strong off-road performance when equipped with 4-wheel drive (4WD) and the Summit model starting at $52,540 takes it to new heights of luxury for the brand. It has an upscale interior with quilted leather seating, 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio, the latest safety tech and a refined exterior distinct to the Summit trim. 

Mazda CX-9 Signature

The Mazda CX9 offers serious luxury in the Signature model.

The Mazda MZDAY, +0.44%   CX-9 is a surprisingly premium crossover no matter which trim you choose, but if you shell out $45,365 for the ritzy Signature model, you’ll be treated to a serious luxury. Like the Honda Pilot Elite, the CX-9 Signature comes standard with AWD, which is optional on every other trim. It has unique exterior styling plus Nappa leather seating and genuine wood interior accents. You also get Bose premium audio, second-row sunshades, a moonroof, navigation, leather seating that is heated and ventilated in front, and a whole lot of safety tech. One thing we wish was available in the CX-9 Signature that is surprisingly absent is second-row captain’s chairs.

Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser.

Ah, the Toyota TM, +0.71%   Land Cruiser. It’s been quite a while since this off-roading legend has gotten an update with its current generation starting back in 2008, but we still can’t help but love this brute. It’s a big SUV with three rows of seats that boasts stellar off-road capability with its standard 4WD and V-8 engine that few of its rivals can match. On top of that, it has a comfortable on-road ride and a surprisingly luxurious interior with leather seating that is heated and ventilated in front, heated second-row outboard seats, a heated steering wheel, a generous host of modern safety tech, navigation, JBL premium audio and more. As charming as the Land Cruiser is, with a starting price of $85,165, you may want to shop for more affordable SUVs from luxury brands unless off-road performance is your priority.

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