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Best Small Luxury SUVs of 2021 (New & Used)

2021 Volvo CX60 / Photo Credit: Volvo

We Rank the Best Compact Luxury SUVs

A compact luxury SUV offers more passenger and cargo space than a small luxury car, along with upscale looks and engaging performance.

In general, compact luxury crossovers and SUVs offer good fuel economy ratings, enough room for five adults, and the option of all-wheel drive.

Related Luxury SUV Rankings

How We Ranked These Compact Luxury SUVs

We determined the best small luxury SUVs using a combination of factors, including estimated fuel cost, cargo space, horsepower, and safety scores, for the 2021 model year. We also considered the vehicle’s price when equipped with five Key Features that many new car shoppers look for: all-wheel drive, Android Auto/Apple CarPlayautomatic emergency braking, and blind spot monitoring.

Best Used Small SUVs

We have ranked these SUVs based on their 2021 stats, but we have also included information on the used versions of each vehicle, and we’ll point out which model years to look for. You can often get a car that looks identical to the new version and costs significantly less. If you click on the link below each vehicle, you can search Carfax’s used car listings for that model. Every car in Carfax used car listings comes with a free Carfax Report.


2021 Volvo CX60 / Photo Credit: Volvo
2021 Volvo XC60 / Photo Credit: Volvo

1. 2021 Volvo XC60

  • Base Price: $41,700
    • w/ Key Features: $44,995
  • Cargo Space: 63.6 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 24 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 250

The Volvo XC60 offers two spacious rows of seating, a versatile cargo area, good horsepower rating with its base engine, and competitive fuel economy.

The XC60 has fared well in crash evaluations and includes a ton of technology and safety features.

Research the Volvo XC60

Used Volvo XC60

The XC60 was last redesigned in 2018 and hasn’t changed much since then, so 2018-2021 XC60 models have nearly identical styling and similar features. You can save by considering older model years or a certified pre-owned Volvo. The XC60 debuted in 2010 and received a refresh in 2014. Those models have boxier styling inside and out.

Shop for a Used Volvo XC60


2020 BMW X3
2021 BMW X3 / Photo Credit: BMW

2. 2021 BMW X3

  • Base Price: $43,000
    • w/ Key Features: $45,995
  • Cargo Space: 62.7 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 25 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 248

The BMW X3 deftly combines elegance and performance, with comfortable seating for five passengers across two rows and an enticing lineup of engine options. It also offers lots of cargo space and has good gas mileage.

It has good crash test ratings and comes standard with lots of safety features.

Research the BMW X3

Used BMW X3

Models from 2018 onward have similar styling to the 2021 shown above. The X3 debuted all the way back in 2004, with significant updates in 2011, 2015, and 2018. The X3 has gotten larger over the years, but every version maintains BMW’s signature mix of sportiness and upscale design.

Shop for a Used BMW X3


2020 Lincoln Corsair
2021 Lincoln Corsair / Photo Credit: Lincoln

3. 2021 Lincoln Corsair

  • Base Price: $35,945
    • w/ Key Features: $41,185
  • Cargo Space: 57.6 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 24 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 250

The Corsair was a new addition to the brand’s lineup for 2020. This stylish SUV seats five passengers, has good safety scores and fuel economy ratings, and undercuts most competitors on price.

It has good acceleration and a smooth ride. There’s also a long list of standard infotainment features and advanced driver-assist systems.

Research the Lincoln Corsair

Used Lincoln Corsair

The Corsair debuted in 2020, and those used models are nearly identical to the 2021 shown above. Before Lincoln sold the Corsair, their compact SUV was called the MKC (2015-2019), which is also worth a look on the used market.

Shop for a Used Lincoln Corsair


2020 Audi Q5
2021 Audi Q5 / Photo Credit: Audi

4. 2021 Audi Q5

  • Base Price: $43,300
    • w/ Key Features: $44,395
  • Cargo Space: 53.1 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 25 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 248

The Q5 is one of the more well-rounded compact luxury SUVs on the market, balancing an upscale yet practical interior with engaging performance that doesn’t compromise ride quality.

This SUV comes standard with lots of infotainment tech and all-wheel drive, but notably, full-speed automatic emergency braking is missing from the features menu.

Research the Audi Q5

Used Audi Q5

Models from 2018 onward have similar styling to the 2021 shown above. Audi introduced the Q5 in 2009, and its styling has only changed gradually since, so if you like the ’21, chances are you’ll like the versions all the way back to its first model year.

Shop for a Used Audi Q5


2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB / Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz

5. 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB

  • Base Price: $38,050
    • w/ Key Features: $39,150
  • Cargo Space: 62 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 26 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 221

The GLB is another new addition to the segment, in just its second year. It’s one of the few small luxury SUVs on the market with an optional third row, to seat up to seven passengers.

It provides plenty of standard infotainment features, though most cutting-edge safety features are optional.

Research the Mercedes-Benz GLB

Used Mercedes-Benz GLB

The GLB debuted in 2020 and hasn’t changed much for 2021.

Shop for a Used Mercedes-Benz GLB


2020 Lexus NX 300h
2021 Lexus NX / Photo Credit: Lexus

6. 2021 Lexus NX

  • Base Price: $37,510
    • w/ Key Features: $40,360
  • Cargo Space: 54.6 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 24 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 235

The NX features an upscale cabin that seats five passengers, good safety scores, one of the more unique exterior designs in the segment, and a low starting price compared to rivals.

The base NX hits most of the high points in terms of features, though its performance isn’t as sporty as many competitors.

Research the Lexus NX

Used Lexus NX

The Lexus NX debuted in 2015 and has received only minor updates since, so 2015-2021 NX models have nearly identical styling and many of the same features. You can save by considering older model years or a certified pre-owned Lexus.

Shop for a Used Lexus NX


2019 Acura RDX / Photo Credit: Acura
2021 Acura RDX / Photo Credit: Acura

7. 2021 Acura RDX

  • Base Price: $38,200
    • w/ Key Features: $44,625
  • Cargo Space: 58.9 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 23 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 272

The RDX has an eye-catching exterior design, comfortable accommodations for five passengers, and one of the most powerful base engines in the class. It’s well rounded and a good value.

The base price of the RDX is on par with many fully loaded non-luxury compact SUV models, though it costs a lot extra to get the sought-after features targeted for this roundup.

Research the Acura RDX

Used Acura RDX

The Acura has seen many notable styling and engineering changes since its 2007 debut, including the addition of Acura’s shield grille in 2010, a major update in 2013, and a full redesign in 2019. The 2019 update also brought a 4-cylinder turbo engine in place of the old V6. Models from 2019 onward are nearly identical to the 2021 shown above.

Shop for a Used Acura RDX


2020 Alfa Romeo Stelvio / Photo Credit: FCA
2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio / Photo Credit: Stellantis

8. 2021 Alfa Romeo Stelvio

  • Base Price: $41,500
    • w/ Key Features: $45,590
  • Cargo Space: 56.5 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 24 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 280

The Stelvio has exotic and unique looks, seating for five passengers, enjoyable driving dynamics, and one of the highest base horsepower ratings in the segment.

It hasn’t been evaluated for crashworthiness, but can be purchased with advanced safety technology features.

Research the Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Used Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The Stelvio debuted in 2018 and hasn’t changed much since.

Shop for a Used Alfa Romeo Stelvio


2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 / Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC / Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz

9. 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC

  • Base Price: $43,200
    • w/ Key Features: $46,250
  • Cargo Space: 56.5 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 24 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 255

The GLC offers a compelling combination of luxurious design, cutting-edge features, and athletic performance. The GLC was thoroughly refreshed for 2020: interior and exterior styling, updated infotainment and safety technology, and a more powerful engine lineup.

It has a lot of enticing options, but the base trim is still a decent choice, with a competitive horsepower rating and key safety features.

Research the Mercedes-Benz GLC

Used Mercedes-Benz GLC

The 2021 GLC arrives mostly unchanged, though Mercedes is no longer offering the plug-in hybrid model. 2020 GLC models have refreshed styling and features, though 2016-2019 models are of the same generation. Prior to the GLC, Mercedes’ compact SUV was called the GLK, a much boxier crossover that they produced from 2010-2015.

Shop for a Used Mercedes-Benz GLC


2020 Infiniti QX50 / Photo Credit: Infiniti
2021 Infiniti QX50 / Photo Credit: Infiniti

10. 2021 Infiniti QX50

  • Base Price: $37,950
    • w/ Key Features: $40,975
  • Cargo Space: 65.1 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 25 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 268

The QX50 was redesigned for 2019 and is now much more practical than the previous generation, with more interior space and a more efficient 4-cylinder engine. This comfortable SUV seats five passengers.

It has good safety scores and lots of features. However, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility did not become available until 2020.

Research the Infiniti QX50

Used Infiniti QX50

The QX50’s last major redesign was in 2019, and models produced since then are virtually identical to the 2021 shown above. The QX50 name dates back to 2014. Prior to that, Infiniti’s compact SUV was called the EX, which ran from 2008 to 2013.

Shop for a Used Infiniti QX50


2020 Porsche Macan / Photo Credit: Porsche
2021 Porsche Macan / Photo Credit: Porsche

11. 2021 Porsche Macan

  • Base Price: $52,100
    • w/ Key Features: $55,820
  • Cargo Space: 52.9 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 21 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 248

The Macan is more expensive and less practical than most competing compact luxury SUVs, though it does offer unique styling and driving dynamics. The posh interior provides comfortable seating for five.

In addition to the high base price, it costs a lot to equip a Macan with the popular features considered for this overview.

Research the Porsche Macan

Used Porsche Macan

The Macan’s styling hasn’t changed significantly since its 2015 debut, so models from that year to the 2021 model year should look similar.

Shop for a Used Porsche Macan


2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport / Photo Credit: Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport / Photo Credit: Land Rover

12. 2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport

  • Base Price: $41,900
    • w/ Key Features: $46,400
  • Cargo Space: 51.2 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 21 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 246

Unlike a lot of the SUVs already mentioned, the Discovery Sport offers real off-road capability, and it does so in style and comfort. The Discovery Sport is less well-rounded than many competitors, but that’s worth the tradeoff to its target audience. It’s also one of the few compact luxury SUVs with an optional third row.

The Discovery Sport is Land Rover’s most affordable model, and it doesn’t cost much extra to get key infotainment and safety features. It’s not particularly efficient or spacious, however.

Research the Land Rover Discovery Sport

Used Land Rover Discovery Sport

2015-2021 Discovery Sport models have similar styling, though the 2020 model gets a lot of tech updates. You can save by considering older model years, but make sure you’re getting the features you want. Prior to 2015, Land Rover’s small SUV was called the LR2 (2008-2015), and before that, the Freelander (2002-2005). Both models had a boxier design and fewer luxury features.

Shop for a Used Land Rover Discovery Sport


2021 Jaguar E-Pace
2021 Jaguar E-Pace / Photo Credit: Jaguar

13. 2021 Jaguar E-Pace

  • Base Price: $40,995
    • w/ Key Features: $47,145
  • Cargo Space: 52.7 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 24 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 246

The E-Pace is a subcompact luxury crossover that drives and rides like a sports car, and it’s got the looks to match. Inside, the E-Pace seats five, and the cabin offers plenty of features. All-wheel drive comes standard, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were new for the 2020 model year.

It has premium pricing, so it’s not a good bet for everyone, but it’s in line with more performance-oriented competitors.

Research the Jaguar E-Pace

Used Jaguar E-Pace

The E-Pace debuted in 2018 and hasn’t changed significantly since.

Shop for a Used Jaguar E-Pace


2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
2021 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque / Photo Credit: Land Rover

14. 2021 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

  • Base Price: $43,300
    • w/ Key Features: $44,980
  • Cargo Space: 50.5 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 23 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 246

The Evoque is sleek, sophisticated, and one of the most capable off-roaders in the subcompact luxury SUV class. The Range Rover Evoque also features tons of technology, including a new 48-volt mild hybrid system. Interior space is tight in the rear row, though there is space for five passengers.

It has a long list of standard and available features, but some of the safety and driver assistance aids cost extra.

Research the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Used Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover Evoque was fully redesigned for 2020, though it gets plenty of updates for 2021. Older models, which date back to 2012, may look different and have fewer features, but can save you a lot of money versus buying new.

Shop for a Used Land Rover Range Rover Evoque


2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe / Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe / Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz

15. 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

  • Base Price: $51,650
    • w/ Key Features: $52,700
  • Cargo Space: 49.4 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 24 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 255

The GLC Coupe is based on the GLC, but it ranks lower because it’s a little less versatile. Mercedes calls this version of the GLC a coupe because it features a sharply raked roofline, giving it a sleeker appearance, though that cuts into its passenger and cargo space.

The GLC Coupe also costs more to start than the regular SUV model, though it includes all-wheel drive and lots of desirable features.

Research the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

Used Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

The GLC arrives for 2021 mostly unchanged. Mercedes refreshed it for the 2020 model year, though 2016-2019 models are of the same generation; you can save by considering older model years.

Shop for a Used Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe


2021 BMW X4 / Photo Credit: BMW
2021 BMW X4 / Photo Credit: BMW

16. 2021 BMW X4

  • Base Price: $51,600
    • w/ Key Features: $52,595
  • Cargo Space: 50.5 cu ft
  • Fuel Economy: 25 combined mpg
  • Horsepower: 245

The X4 is based on the aforementioned BMW X3, though it features coupe-like styling courtesy of its raked roofline. Otherwise, it’s pretty similar to the more practical X3, which offers more interior space and costs less.

On the upside, the base X4 configuration includes key safety and tech features.

Research the BMW X4

Used BMW X4

The X4 debuted in 2015 and received its last significant update in 2019. Models from 2019 on will look similar to the 2021 shown above.

Shop for a Used BMW X4


Next Steps

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