Drive Car of the Year 2024 – Best Luxury SUV under $150K FINALISTS

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Car Of The Year

Finalists announced for the Drive Car of the Year 2024 – Best Luxury SUV under $150K category


Over the next few weeks, we’ll be explaining all the categories and contenders for Drive Car of the Year 2024. Testing is currently underway, with the final winners to be announced early next year.

Drive Car of the Year 2024

Now in its 18th year, the annual Drive Car of the Year awards program continues to be the Australian new car buyer’s most trusted advisor. 

At Drive, we test drive more than 200 new cars every year, evaluating each against its innate promise to sort the best from the rest. We divide the 400-plus new passenger cars, SUVs, 4WDs and utes into 19 price-banded categories focused on the end-user, then analyse the strengths and weaknesses of every car to find the cream of the automotive crop.

Read more: 

Drive Car of the Year 2024 is a go!

Drive Car of the Year Overview

Drive Car of the Year 2023 winners

Drive Car of the Year 2024: Best Luxury SUV under $150K

FINALISTS CONFIRMED 

*Updated 5pm, December 14, 2023 

The first round of voting has been counted and our Drive judges have selected the cars that will challenge last year’s winner, the Jaguar F-Pace, for the title of Best Luxury SUV Under $150K. This category is a slight tweak to last year’s Best Medium Luxury SUV award to now include medium or large SUVs with luxury leanings.

The Jaguar F-Pace returns in 2024 to defend its crown as the front-running luxury SUV purchase. But it’s now up against new competitors, some of which are the toughest in class. But the Jaguar F-Pace’s undeniable performance heritage and state-of-the-art technology are high benchmarks to beat. 

The F-Pace’s powertrains are smooth, powerful, and quiet – all hallmarks that luxury car buyers hold in high regard. Cabin-wise, the F-Pace’s understated elegance shines through for buyers looking for an obviously premium experience.

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Not typically a part of premium car conversation, the Kia EV9 has snuck its way into the Best Luxury SUV Under $150K category thanks to its high price, and the value it brings for that price. That you’re getting such a technically advanced electric vehicle platform, cutting-edge infotainment and a hugely spacious cabin are all key reasons to consider the Kia EV9 a premium vehicle. 

The Korean carmaker hasn’t skimped on the details either. The cabin is beautifully appointed with high-end materials, and its silent driving experience is sure to wow buyers. It’ll have its work cut out for it to compete with the traditional luxury market, but this car at least offers something different in its electrified powertrain.

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The Mercedes-Benz GLC has notably gone from a wide-ranging line-up of variants to a single specification only – the GLC300. While it seems like a strange direction for the brand to take given the popularity of SUVs, the new-generation GLC300 exudes luxury wherever you look. 

It comes with a powerful and efficient 2.0-litre turbo engine under the bonnet, an incredibly well-appointed cabin with choice materials wherever you look, eye-catching looks for the exterior, plus a spacious cabin whether you’re in the first or second row. As well, the infotainment system is one of the most sharply integrated systems you could ask for.

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Over the last 20 years, Porsche’s Cayenne has become the backbone of the German manufacturer’s model lineup, and is as synonymous with the brand as its iconic 911 sports car. Even though just the entry-level, self-titled Cayenne flies under our $150,000 price ceiling, the variant offers a spacious cabin, quintessential Porsche looks, a dynamic and signature Porsche driving experience, and a suite of new technologies for the driver to utilise. Powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 under the bonnet which outputs 260kW/500Nm to all four wheels, the Cayenne is every bit as rapid as you’d expect from the nameplate.

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The Drive Car of the Year Best Luxury SUV Under $150K will be announced on February 19, 2024. 

The below was first published on November 17, 2023

For many, the SUV has become the go-to vehicle, from the small run-about to the hulking off-roader and tow hauler. While all these types have to some degree been equal parts fashionable and practical for their owners, there are buyers who want an SUV that offers a high degree of luxury and technology and are prepared to pay for it.

That’s where the Drive Car of the Year Best Luxury SUV Under $150K comes in. This award is an updated version of last year’s Best Medium Luxury SUV, now open to any medium or large SUVs with luxury leanings under our price cap.

These are all premium vehicles that need to look the part with high-quality of cabin materials and thick paint and to some degree, a jewel-like detail finish. Plenty of room for a family and given these SUVs roll into the six-figure prices, the best in technology and safety as well as creature comforts is a given.

Even though there’s a Who’s Who of premium vehicle manufacturers in this list, there are also brands stepping up into more expensive territory such as Jeep and Mazda, as well as new brands we’ve never seen before such as Ineos.

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Which cars are eligible for this category?

Drive’s rules require that, for a car to be eligible, it must:

  1. Be all-new or significantly updated,  
  2. Be on sale by December 31, 2023, and 
  3. Retail examples be made available for Drive to road test before that cut-off date. 

That means that many entirely suitable and very appealing luxury SUVs won’t make the cut. They have been judged already, with their strengths not quite outstanding enough to pull them to the top. Likewise, there is a luxury SUV that will not be judged simply because it won’t arrive in time; that is, the Polestar 3.

Eligible Ineligible
Cars that are all-new or significantly updated since they last contested Drive Car of the Year.
– New categories are open to all cars that fit category requirements.
– Last year’s winner is an automatic inclusion.
– These cars meet category requirements but have not changed since they previously contested Drive Car of the Year and are not a carry-over winner.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Audi Q7
Audi Q8
BMW iX
BMW iX3
BMW X5
BMW X6
Genesis GV80
Ineos Grenadier
Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar I-Pace
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia EV6
Kia EV9
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Range Rover Velar
Lexus RX
Lexus RZ
Maserati Grecale
Maserati Levante
Mazda CX-60
Mazda CX-90
Mercedes-Benz EQB
Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
Porsche Cayenne
Range Rover Sport
Tesla Model Y
Volkswagen Touareg
Volvo XC90
Unchanged:
Audi Q5 
BMW X3
BMW X4
Alpina XD3
Audi SQ5
Hyundai Ioniq 5
Genesis GV70
Jeep Wrangler
Volvo XC60
Kia Sorento
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
Lexus NX
Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class
Nissan Pathfinder
Peugeot 3008
Porsche Macan
Toyota Kluger
Toyota Prado
 
Not here in time:
Polestar 3

What are the next steps?

The winner of the 2024 Drive Car of the Year Best Luxury SUV under $150k will be announced in February 2024.

Before then, we will announce the finalists, all of which deliver on the buyer’s expectations of performance, practicality and prestige in a well-rounded package. One thing is certain: this category promises to be one of the toughest confronting our 11 experienced judges.

Read more: 

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