Editor’s Top Picks for SUV’s that get you up there in style
Top 10 Luxury Compact Sized SUV Ranking – Sports SUV’s for 2022
One of the more popular segments for SUV’s is the compact sized / crossover class of vehicles designed to incorporate more utility into a daily driver. Since this ranking list is all about Luxury and Sports performance we will focus on those attributes as well as style points. The top 10 list is comprised of the best SUVs that drive and perform nearly as well as a BMW 3 Series, and have the utility you need to tackle the most traitorous snow covered mountain roads.
This is category is especially interesting to those who live in the foothills or flatlands 100+ miles away from their favorite drive to ski resort. For these consumers 90% or more of their driving will be on dry or wet roads, and only about 10% navigating the deep snow. This is where the sports suspension, air suspensions, dampeners, horsepower, and comfort features stand out the most. There’s nothing more fun than carving, accelerating, and passing traffic up through the tight mountain turns with car or SUV that “drives on rails” and accelerates without hesitation.
If you want to maximize your snow performance you should select the base model engines under 300 HP, and opt for smaller rim sizes (18 – 19″) which help with smoothing out the ride and improving snow grip. Fortunately this also lowers the price range by $10,000 – $30,000 on average. However, most of all want the beefier, sportier variations which take us up into 300 – 600 HP …. just because we can. Keep in mind that even the mighty X5 will struggle in the snow with the M version equipped those low profile / wide tires, insane HP, and reduced ground clearance. So, if you want to keep somewhat of a balance & you still want the extra oomph, maybe 350 HP or with the 20″ rims will be a good trip choice.
The features and options you should spend the money to include are heated seats, heated windshield, air suspension, and dampeners. These will help you to increase performance, comfort and drivability though all conditions.
One further comment on all of these vehicles… tires are 90% of your traction in the snow – So you’ll need to do some homework to ensure you don’t buy an $80,000 high performance SUV just to spin out on the first snow patch in the road due to poorly rated snow tires. It’s not uncommon for a new performance car to come with summer oriented tires that are not even M+S rated. Not only will you spin out, but you will have to put on chains here in California without M+S
So please visit a quality tire dealer or check out the great reviews on Tire Rack to find your best set. I’ve been running the Michelin Pilot Sport AS4 and find that you get a great balance of summer, wet, and snow performance.
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- Jaguar F Pace 2022 Review
- Mercedes GLC 2022 Review
- Mercedes GLC Coupe 2022 Review
- Audi Q5 / Q5 Sportback / SQ5 2022 Review
- Acura RDX 2022 Review
- Volvo XC40 2022 Review
Top 10 Mid Sized SUV Ranking / Family Haulers / Outdoor Enthusiasts for 2022
The most popular SUV category is the Mid Sized SUV as they’re great for families, ski trips, summer camping, and hauling your gear. Here we have blended the need for utility, comfort, and road handling in all conditions. So, you’ll see quite different profiles of SUV’s like the Ford Bronco and Porsche Cayenne compared to each other, even though they are developed with completely different consumers in mind.
Our top 10 list takes a best of breed approach where each of these have stand out, industry leading features that separate them for all of those models that did not make the list. Our core focus is on mountain driving conditions where you need ground clearance, mountain highway performance, and some off road / side road utility.
When it comes to trims and features we still recommend keeping with the base engines offering more modest HP, and smaller rims to smooth out the ride while improving snow performance. However, these vehicles are much heavier making them more amenable to take on higher HP engine trims, and larger rims… Still you probably want to stay under 400 HP if you plan on doing some serious snow driving.
Like with all snow driving, tires are the 90% that really matters when it comes to gripping the road on snow and ice. You can to choose from more sedan style performance like the Pirelli Zero for the Cayenne to more truck oriented tires like the BF Goodrich for the Ford Bronco. Please ensure you get a minimum of M+S rated tires to ensure that you don’t spin out or get stuck.
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- Mercedes GLE
- Audi Q7
- Volvo XC 60
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Ford Bronco 2022 Review
Top 10 Full Size SUV Ranking for 2022
The Full Size SUV category is for those looking to spread out, have the kids watch a movie, haul all of your gear, coolers, luggage, dog, or even tow your boat. These SUV’s are beasts on the road and tend to smooth out all the bumps and pot holes for an enjoyable relaxing ride up to the mountains. You know who you are if this category is for you. Rolling down the road sitting up high and mighty, with a smooth and comfy roady feel.
So, for this category we’ll focus on comfort and utility. This category is much more narrow compared to Mid Sized SUV’s, and there is quite a bit of redundancy in the GM, Toyota, and Land Rover line ups. GM offers the Cadillac, GMC, Chevy and Buick versions all built on the same platform. We have selected the Chevy Tahoe to represent the overall group even though there are some differences between logos and models.
This is one of the categories where US Auto Makers have a much stronger presence and offer the consumer some great choices. That said, BMW, Mercedes and Audi have really come on strong over the years to produce the euro designed equivalents of this US Lifestyle SUV.