New luxury SUVs can be really expensive, but if you like having nice things, buying a luxury SUV that’s a little older can save you tons of money. By the time a luxury SUV has depreciated for a couple of years, it’s often comparable in price to a newer midrange option.
Though it won’t have that new car smell, a luxury SUV’s higher-quality materials are apt look better over the long run than a mainstream model's. Here are some of the most well-rounded luxury SUVs available on the used market, according to U.S. News & World Report's used SUV rankings.
2009 Lexus RX
The 2009 Lexus RX is popular with used car shoppers as well as experts. It’s a safe, reliable, and well-rounded midsize SUV with good fuel economy. When new, reviewers praised the RX’s driving dynamics, noting that it felt much more like driving a car than an SUV.
Lexus powered the 2009 RX with a 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 paired to a five-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive came standard on the RX, though an upgrade to all-wheel drive was available. Both front- and all-wheel-drive models earned good fuel economy for a luxury SUV of that era. The 2010 through 2014 model years also scored very well in the used car rankings, as does the more fuel-efficient Lexus RX Hybrid. So don’t hold out for a 2009 RX, specifically; in fact, in 2010, Lexus rolled out a new and more fuel-efficient transmission for the RX.
2009 BMW X3
The BMW X3 has long been a popular choice for shoppers who want a sporty compact luxury SUV, thanks to the brand’s expertise with powerful and exciting cars. The X3 is generally considered a strong value when new, and the 2009 model is one of the best used SUVs available.
The 2009 X3 ranks high in terms of practicality thanks to its strong dependability data, top-notch safety scores, and large cargo area. Yet, it’s the 2009 X3’s performance that gives it its edge, with 260 horsepower on tap from the 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine. It should be noted that the X3 was unique in offering a six-speed manual transmission in addition to the six-speed automatic, which might be enough of a perk to put a used X3 on a driving enthusiast’s short list. Though the 2009 BMW X3 earns the highest scores in our used SUV rankings, the 2010 through 2014 models are also good choices that can save you money compared with a new X3.
2010 Acura RDX
The 2010 Acura RDX is another luxury compact SUV that is highly rated in U.S. News & World Report's used SUV rankings. When new, the 2010 Acura RDX was one of the least expensive compact SUVs, with strong safety scores and good reviews from critics.
Though the RDX offers sporty handling, it leans more toward comfort than performance thanks to its spacious and quiet interior. The RDX’s 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 240 horsepower, which reviewers said was plenty, but some noted that the engine is prone to turbo lag. The front-wheel-drive version of the RDX, which was new for 2010, provided best-in-class fuel economy if driven gently, though the turbocharged motor gets very thirsty if driven with the slightest degree of vigor. If a good example of the 2010 Acura RDX is tough to track down, consider the 2009 model, as well as the 2011, 2013, and 2014 models, which are all smart options for a pre-owned luxury SUV.
2009 Cadillac Escalade
In terms of safety, reliability, and other gauges of used car desirability, the 2009 Cadillac Escalade earns similar ratings to the Acura RDX in the U.S. News rankings. That said, the large, bling-laden Escalade, which was designed to be imposing and impressive, stands on its own.
Though the 2009 Escalade is a larger SUV than some people need, it provides rare benefits, including seating for eight and more towing capacity than most crossover SUVs. An available long-wheelbase version, the ESV, adds more cargo capacity to the mix. At the time it was new, experts liked the Escalade’s interior, which provided comfortable seating and cutting-edge features. They also liked the engine, a 6.2-liter V8 with 403 horsepower.
Long one of Cadillac’s most popular models, there should be plenty of used Escalades available. The 2009 model has the highest rankings, but the 2010 through 2013 model years are also good choices. So are the Escalade Hybrid variants, though Cadillac did not make large numbers of those slightly more-fuel-efficient models.
2010 Audi Q5
The 2010 edition of Audi’s Q5 also makes the list of highly ranked used luxury SUVs on the market. This luxury compact SUV, which provides good safety scores and above-average reliability, is well-liked by critics thanks to its responsive driving dynamics and comfortable interior.
There should be no surprise that an Audi SUV, especially a compact one, would provide great handling. The brand is known for its athletic coupes and sedans, as well as its higher-end performance models. According to critics, the 2010 Q5 benefits from that expertise. It might not be the best-handling option in the category, critics say, but it provides a good balance between driver enjoyment and passenger comfort.
The Q5 engine lineup was improved later in the model’s lifecycle. The 2010 version offered just one engine option, a 270-horsepower 3.2-liter V6. The Q5 also comes standard with Audi’s all-wheel drive system, increasing its versatility. The whole Audi Q5 range, from 2009 until 2014, make strong contenders for a used upscale SUV.
2009 Cadillac SRX
Cadillac’s luxury compact SRX, particularly the 2009 model, is another example of a good used SUV. Reviewers enjoyed driving the 2009 SRX when it was new. Potential buyers who need to carry a lot of passengers should strongly consider a used Cadillac SRX.
At the time, it was the only compact luxury SUV that offered a third row of seating, although the way-back is a tight squeeze for adults. Despite the cramped third-row seating accommodations, the SRX’s cargo capacity is good for the class. The 2009 SRX is available with a V6 or a V8 engine. Shoppers should consider that the V6 provides competitive fuel economy, though the V8 is more enjoyable. We suggest skipping the 2010 SRX based on a slip in reliability scores that year, but the following model years, from 2011 through 2014, are good options.
2009 Lincoln MKX
The 2009 Lincoln MKX offers good safety scores and competitive dependability. Though the 2009 MKX stands out thanks to its mature, elegant exterior styling, critics wished those upscale touches continued throughout the vehicle.
Many critics agreed that the 2009 Lincoln MKX’s cabin was its weakest feature, and should have been finished in nicer materials for the price. That said, the 2009 MXK offered a long list of upscale features and equipment, including heated and cooled front seats and a rear-obstacle detection system. Reviewers who had driven both the MKX and its less-expensive platform mate, the Ford Edge, said that the two were very similar mechanically, despite the Lincoln’s higher price.
If there aren’t any good deals on a 2009 Lincoln MKX nearby, it might be best to consider another vehicle, as this is the only model year with high enough scores to earn a spot amongst the best used luxury SUVs.
2009 Porsche Cayenne
The Porsche Cayenne is a popular midsize luxury SUV, well-liked by auto journalists and buyers alike. A used Cayenne might be just the solution for used SUV shoppers who crave luxury and performance.
The 2009 Cayenne was offered in a number of trim levels with a variety of high-performance engines, all of which got good reviews from critics. Buyers who aren’t focused on performance and care about price and condition of a used 2009 Cayenne will likely be satisfied with any of the available drivetrains, although fuel economy plummets as engine performance increases. The 2009 Cayenne also offered a very comfortable cabin with great build quality, according to critics. Frankly, though, rankings for different model years of used Cayennes are all over the place. Try to find a 2013 model if the 2009 is elusive. A used Porsche Cayenne Hybrid is also a reliable option.
2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK earns a slot among the best used SUVs. Its reliability is lower than most of the vehicles we’ve mentioned, but still higher than average. It’s worth noting that the 2012 GLK is the newest vehicle on this list, and that has its own appeal.
The compact GLK-Class has some drawbacks: a small cargo area and fuel economy that’s merely average. When it was new, critics praised the power produced by its 3.5-liter V6 engine, saying that the GLK-Class could handle city and highway traffic with ease, aided by its smooth seven-speed automatic transmission. The five-passenger cabin is a little cramped in the back, critics say, but overall, the GLK-Class’ interior is upscale and comfortable. Reviewers also noted that the infotainment system in the GLK-Class is one of the easiest to use of that year’s options. Mercedes has maintained this compact luxury SUV’s quality throughout its run; the surrounding model years – 2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2014 – are also worth considering.