It probably seems a little hard to believe, but it turns out spending more money on a vehicle does not necessarily mean said vehicle gets better performance figures. That’s especially true when it comes to driving in inclement weather. And yes, that even goes for SUVs.
So, if you live somewhere it rains, snows, hails, or just freezes over sometimes, you want to be careful that the ride you’re cruising around in can handle the roads — even if money is no object. As such, you should probably be looking at options that, at the very least, are upgradeable to all- or four-wheel-drive. Of course, you’re likely a very busy person and you may not have the time to scour the catalogues to find a suitable sport utility vehicle. That’s where we come in: we’ve rounded up the 10 best luxury SUVs that perform just as well and look just as good in winter as they do the rest of the year.
Jaguar will most certainly go down in history as one of the best British automotive manufacturers of all time, but it wasn’t until recently that they dipped their toes into the world of SUVs. Still, with their F-Pace, they’ve managed to make a pretty wonderful, sport-focused, luxury 4×4 that’s perfect for winter driving. On top of its up to 550 horsepower and 502 foot-pounds of torque, this thing comes with all-wheel-drive as a standard feature. That means it’ll make short work of even the iciest roads, and it will look excellent and offer tons of comfort while it does.
Of course, Jaguar isn’t the only European brand that offers a stellar SUV ready for winter driving. In fact, the Swedes working under the Volvo marque have a bit of a leg up on Jag, as their XC90 holds the title of most-awarded luxury SUV. Pair that with the option to upgrade any trim to AWD (some even come with it standard), a possible 62 miles per gallon (if you opt for a hybrid powertrain), seating for seven, and 85.7 cubic feet of cargo space and it’s easy to see why this ride has garnered so many accolades. There was a time when Volvo was fairly milquetoast, but the XC90 proves that time is long gone.
You might not know it, but Porsche actually has a long history of taking their performance-focused vehicles out on the ice and snow. In fact, they recently reinstated their legendary ice races in Austria — so they know a thing or two about winter driving. And they definitely instilled the knowledge they acquired into the Cayenne, as the SUV comes standard with AWD and makes for excellent handling on frozen ground. Better still, even the lowest trim boasts 335 horsepower, so — as are all Porsches — this is truly a driver’s vehicle. If you’re more concerned with mileage, however, there’s also a hybrid version available.
Big-time rally racing fanatics will remember that Audi changed the face of the sport when they introduced their Quattro four-wheel-drive system into it. That makes them uniquely and historically apt when it comes to imbuing their vehicles with solid performance over questionable terrain like ice and snow. Of course, it’s that same technology that makes their Q8 one of the best winter-ready luxury SUVs on the market. Our one gripe with it might be that there aren’t any performance upgrades, even if you’ve got the scratch to afford them. But that’s not so bad when you consider that even the lowest trim option still has 4WD and 335 ponies — meaning there’s plenty of get-up-and-go.
While most other automotive brands around the world are all toning down their offerings, producing new ones that are a bit smaller and more city-friendly, Cadillac is still producing their commuter tank that is the Escalade. In fact, they’ve even made a version called the ESV that’s even bigger than the original. That means there’s seating for up to eight or a ton of room inside for everything you might need on any adventure. One thing to watch out for, however, is that AWD is not a standard feature on this hulking SUV — so you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting the upgrade if you really want to be sure this bad boy can handle winter roads.
One of the best parts of BMW’s X5 — besides its obvious on-brand good looks — is that all-wheel-drive is standard whether you opt for the six-cylinder xDrive40i or V8 xDrive50i engine option. And that means this ride is uniquely equipped to handle questionable road conditions regardless of the trim you want. What’s even cooler is that the brand is also offering their first factory-installed trailer hitch that will let owners tow up to 7,200 pounds, in case your winter adventures include, perhaps, snowmobiling. Mate that to the roof rack-ready rails and this ride is excellent for adventurers and all their gear.
It’s probably not an accident that the Lexus LX looks a bit like a higher-end version of the Toyota Land Cruiser, as the brands do fall under the same corporate umbrella. The LX, however, is a bit more refined for those with more particular tastes. Of course, that doesn’t mean capabilities have been sacrificed, as this big beautiful SUV still has standard all-wheel-drive, 383 horsepower, and 403 foot-pounds of torque. In fact, those last two figures are actually slight bumps over those found in the Land Cruiser. If you can afford to go all-in on this one, the $100,000+ Inspiration Series trim is choice.
It should come as no surprise that Mercedes-Benz really set the standard for luxury 4x4s with their G-Class SUV — after all, they’ve been faithfully building it in some form or another since the 1970s. Still, that has definitely not caused the brand to rest on their laurels, as they’ve just recently overhauled this legendary vehicle, making it better than ever. Available with up to 577 horsepower, 627 foot-pounds of torque, and standard 4WD, the G-Class is ever-true to its all-terrain heritage and will go down in history as one of the best 4x4s ever envisioned.
Especially if you’re fond of professional sports or hip hop, you’re probably familiar with Bentley being one of the top brands in luxury vehicle manufacturing. And their history is as rich as their customers. But it wasn’t until recently that they unveiled their Bentayga, the brand’s first SUV. Take one look at the new catalogue-expanding option, however, and you’ll see that the Bentley’s design language pared perfectly into this high ground clearance 4×4. And yes, it does have full-time all-wheel-drive, in case you’re brave enough to take this luxury SUV out on the roads during the winter. Obviously, the price is a big hurdle for most, but the absurd comfort and class-topping 600 horsepower certainly makes it more understandable.
Very few people have the right amount of zeroes in their bank account to make the Rolls-Royce Cullinan a viable option, but that’s not really a concern of the brand, as their customer base (however small) is almost certain to continue buying from them. After all, we are talking about a brand that named their first SUV after the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. Still, the Cullinan definitely ranks amongst the best luxury SUVs ever made — and since it has standard all-wheel-drive, that means it’s good for winter driving, as well.
10 Best AWD SUVs For Winter
Not everyone can afford the opulence of the vehicles above, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want a ride that can handle itself in any weather. You’ll find what you’re looking for and more on our list of the 10 best AWD SUVs for winter.