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Top 7 Luxury 4x4s

2011 Mercedes_Benz GL-class luxury SUV
2011 Mercedes_Benz GL-Class luxury SUV

Luxury 4x4s – you either love them or hate them.  These are the cars that more often than not, are at the receiving end of the harsh criticisms from the opinionated eco-warriors and extreme environmentalists.

There are many nicknames that these beasts of the car world have been given, such as “Gas Guzzlers”. But this doesn’t seem to detract from their high rate of vehicle sales or the elite esteem that many still hold them in.

And so, despite the green conscience and pressure that is often placed on automotive ratings, we have decided to compile a list of the top 7 luxury 4x4s, high-end SUVs, Premium 4x4s or whatever title you prefer to label this class of multi-purpose vehicles.

Luxury SUVs offer both on and off road capabilities, size, space, practicality, plus a large amount of luxury features.

Coming up with a list of 5 Top Luxury 4x4s – SUVs was not easy, so why stop at 5? We decided to add on an extra two, but this didn’t making the choices that much easier. Here is our list of the Top 7 Luxury 4x4s –

Range Rover Sport
The Range Rover is often recognized as the best premium off-roader on the market, and it has the advantage of 40 years of experience, courtesy of the British marque.

The variety of models that Range Rover offers makes it appeal to a wide range of customers. For example, the Sport models attract plenty of sports stars and WAGs, while the more subtle, tradition Range Rover appeals to the laid back, Labrador-owning, middle-classes.

Whether it is the Vogue model or the Sport Supercharged HSE, the Range Rover brand offers comfort, style and smooth driving conditions. There is also a massive variety of engines and specifications available so you can really tailor the vehicle for your needs.

The Range Rover brands offers quality in all aspects and is a great car, not to be overlooked.

Volkswagen Touareg
The Touareg is massive. In fact, probably the widest in the category, and this is shown in the off road performance of this luxury model.

That being said, the Volkswagen variant doesn’t receive the same kind of reception or the same reputation as the other more extravagant members of this category. However, the price tag does reflect this.

Just like most of the premium luxury 4x4s, the German option is also available with a wide range of engine variants, although only two petrol engines are available.

Volkswagen is a brand known for quality, both in terms of the drive and interior quality, across the range. However, the Touareg does not achieve the same levels as some of its more extravagant competitors. That isn’t to say quality is low, just that this model is more at home at the budget end of the segment.

Audi Q7

The Audi Q7 has been updated for the 2010 launch with a new set of engines and a reduction in running costs.

If the Touareg is the widest, the Q7 is definitely the largest on the market… its huge. At times, it can be seen as too big because it makes simple things like parking difficult and nerve racking.

As it is an Audi, you’d expect a good interior quality and an equally good drive quality, and you won’t be disappointed. This luxury feel is furthered by the enormous range of technology, including ‘Intelligent’ airbags, Anti Slip Regulation (ASR) and an Electronic Stability Programme. Also, just for that added touch of luxury, there is an option of a HDD Satellite Navigation System.

Porsche Cayenne
The Cayenne was famously awarded one of the worst ratings by WhatGreenCar? for the shocking impact this performance focussed 4×4 has on the environment. As is often the case, the more environmentally damaging a car is, the better its performance is. This is most certainly the case for the Porsche entrant in this segment.

You won’t be disappointed with any of the models in the Cayenne range as they all deliver in terms of shear performance. The entry level 295bhp 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine will take you from a standing start to 62mph in just 7.8 seconds and then will take you to a top speed of 143mph.

In terms of interior quality, it’s not in the same league as the Range Rover, but the performance almost makes up for it. It is quick, handles well and is a good looking car. A good choice if you’re looking for a luxury 4×4.

BMW X5
The BMW X5 is one of the more economical cars in this category, although that isn’t the most difficult title to achieve. However, when you combine that economy with the X5’s performance, it makes it a very strong contender for top luxury 4×4.

The X5 is the popular choice for the executive, and its road performance is very befitting of that reputation.

The executive appeal of the luxury 4×4 is not confined to the drive quality, but also in the executive feel of the cockpit. Leather is present throughout the interior, as well some executive technology such as cruise control and many more driving aids.

Pricing for the BMW X5 isn’t the cheapest, but it instead sits in the middle of the road. When these prices are put together with drive quality and an excellent feel, it makes the BMW a very attractive proposition.

Mercedes GL
The GL is renowned for its interior space and comfort, and as that first comment would indicate, the Mercedes option is another big 4×4.

This vehicle has the ability to comfortably seat seven people whilst still being able to maintain a roomy and comfortable interior. It is a nice place to be, and this feeling is only furthered by the luxury interior of the German entrant.

This space and comfort is the main asset of the Mercedes option and it stands out as the most practical choice on the market.

However, the GL is expensive to run and fairly awkward in urban areas and in traffic, the same way the Touareg is.

If you are looking for comfort and practicality – and don’t mind paying for it – then the GL is the one for you. If you are looking for a class leading drive and performance, you would be best off looking at a different vehicle.

Lexus RX
The Lexus RX is available in either 350 or 450h variants. The ‘h’ isn’t there to trick you, it does stand for hybrid, and it is a 4×4. This oxymoron proves that you can be environmentally concerned and drive a 4×4 – apparently they’re not mutually exclusive terms.

The Lexus is cheaper than many of the other 4x4s on the market, starting at around £41,000 and going up to around £55,000 for the 350 model.

The hybrid version is a little more expensive, starting at £42,000 and going up to around £57,000. This brings it into middle of the 4×4 pricing range, but the hybrid technology should make a lot of the cost redeemable in the long term.

The Lexus come with a high quality interior but lacks the more exclusive, luxurious quality of some of the 4x4s on the market.