2019's Best Small Luxury Crossovers

The marketplace has spoken and manufacturers are listening. With Ford and General Motors dialing back the production of sedans in favor of crossovers we thought it prudent to take a closer look as the current crop of small luxury crossovers currently on offer for 2019. 

Acura RDX

Now in its third generation, the Acura RDX is all-new for 2019. Power comes from a 272-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A 10-speed automatic transmission routes power to your choice of front-wheel drive or an updated version of Honda’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This combination provides more than enough impetus to ensure driving enjoyment.

In true Acura fashion, interior accommodations are a mix of luxury and sport. This version of the RDX also debuts Acura’s True Touchpad Interface for the infotainment system. Rather than interacting with it on the screen, you’ll find a small touchpad at the base of the center stack. If you’re used to working with a track pad, its operation will come quite naturally. If not, while it takes a bit of getting used to, it’s considerably better than the system Lexus uses. Total cargo capacity comes in at 58.9 cubic feet.

 

Pricing starts at $37,400.

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BMW X2

Introduced as an all-new model for 2018, the 2019 BMW X2 is easily one of the best-looking models on this list. Power output ranges from 228 to 302 horsepower from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission routes power to the drive wheels. The 302-horsepower M35i is all-wheel drive only, while the 228-horsepower variants can be had with either rear- or all-wheel drive.

As you might expect, the emphasis here is placed on driving enjoyment, making the X2 the driver’s vehicle among this group. Some might find ride quality a bit on the stiff side, but the X2s handling more than makes up for this. With that said, if you don’t care about handling and are more into ride, you might want to look at another model on this list. Total cargo capacity comes in at 50.1 cubic feet. All in all, the BMW X2 is everything enthusiasts have come to love about BMWs, in a compact SUV format.

 

Pricing starts at $36,400.

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Cadillac XT4

All-new for the 2019 model year, the Cadillac XT4 is a solid competitor in this class. Cadillac’s angular styling language looks good in this size and the XT4’s exterior details lovingly caress the eye. Tasteful, yet distinctive is perhaps the best way to describe it. Power comes from (as you’ve by now guessed) a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine—making 237 horsepower in this instance. A nine-speed automatic transmission routes power to either the front wheels, or all four if you opt for all-wheel drive.

The interior styling is equally restrained. You might even consider it un-Cadillac-like at first glance. However, when you look more closely, you’ll note the gracefully sweeping arc of the dash and door panels, along with quality material choices and a plethora of luxury features. Total cargo capacity comes in at 48.9 cubic feet.  On the road, the little Caddy is quiet, rides comfortably, handles nicely and is quite swift. The four-cylinder barely makes it presence known under any situation other than full throttle acceleration—when it sounds quite pleasant. 

Pricing starts at $34,795.

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Fiat 500X

The recipient of a well deserved update for 2019, this version of the Fiat 500X has been around since 2016.  If you’ve yet to take a close look at any Fiat, the 500X is a good place to start. Power comes from a 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine capable of 177 horsepower. While this might sound paltry compared to the other models on this list, the Fiat is considerably lighter too. In other words, it holds its own just fine—thank you.  All-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission complete the powertrain.

There’s a lot to be said for Italian design and time spent inside the Fiat 500X underscores this commendably. This is one of the most eclectic interior designs you’ll find this side of a MINI. Repeating the exterior color on the dash is a nice touch you don’t see very often anymore. Total cargo capacity comes in at 39.8 cubic feet. Driving the Fiat is a delightful experience, with the little 1.3 pouring its heart into your every request. Agility is good, though you’ll see a bit more body roll than you might have expected. All in all, the Fiat 500X is a delightful car though.

Pricing starts at $19,995.

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Infiniti QX50

Model year 2019 brings a kinder, gentler QX50 to market. This version has a more subdued demeanor to go with its more luxurious interior treatment. Power comes from a 268-horsepower turbocharged four. This is mated to a continuously variable transmission and your choice of front- or all-wheel drive. A direct descendant of the Infiniti formerly known as the EX, this version moves away from handling prowess to more thoroughly embrace comfort.

To that end, you’ll find the QX50’s interior accommodations decidedly plush. Legroom is increased over previous iterations of the Infiniti crossover and the materials employed are much nicer.  Total cargo capacity comes in at 65.1 cubic feet. The infotainment system offers a variety of interfaces, including dial and pointer, touchscreen and dash-mounted buttons.  On the road, the 2019 Infiniti QX50 delivers competent power, a smooth ride and a quiet interior. Handling is predictable—if not exactly thrilling.

Pricing starts at $36,550.

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Lexus NX 300

Going into its fourth year in production, the nomenclature of the baby Lexus crossover changed from 200t to 300 for the 2018 model year. Looking every bit a scaled-down version of its RX sister, the contemporary Lexus styling language for its crossovers is best described as polarizing. You’ll either love it, or you wouldn’t be seen in it. Either way, it’s distinctive nevertheless. Power comes from a 235-horsepower (yep) turbocharged four-cylinder. This is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive as standard equipment. All-wheel drive is an option.

The 2019 Lexus NX 300 might be small in size bit it’s thoroughly Lexus otherwise. Luxury features abound, as does legroom for all four seating positions. Ingress and egress are easy and the NX is predictably quiet and smooth on the road.  Total cargo capacity comes in at 54.6 cubic feet. Handling is best described as competent, but the continuously variable transmission can dampen driving pleasure. Still, the Lexus NX is nicely outfitted and comfortable.

Pricing starts at $32,000.

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Mercedes-Benz GLC

If you’re expecting the Mercedes-Benz GLC to outclass everything else here, it pretty much does. Handsome styling, plush interior accommodations, and performance options ranging from mild to outrageous pretty much guarantee everyone can find a version of this crossover they’ll like. The base powerplant makes 241 horsepower from yet another turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. However, it’s more than eclipsed by its AMG GLC 63 sibling which delivers 469 horsepower from a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8.

The really good news here is aside from the mechanicals, much of the equipment offered with the fire-breathing AMG 63 version of the GLC can be had as options on the more prosaic GLC 300. Already comfortable and spacious, this only serves to make the GLC an even more enticing offering. Furthermore, the 2.0-liter four is more than up to the task of moving the GLC authoritatively. Handling is crisp and decidedly devoid of body roll.  Steering is responsive and ride quality is pleasant. In fact, the GLC is one of the few models in this category delivering delightful handling and a pleasant ride. Total cargo capacity comes in at 56.5 cubic feet.

Pricing starts at $40,700.

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Volvo XC40

The 2019 XC40 is an all-new model for the Swedish automaker. While it might be the smallest Volvo currently offered, it gives up nothing in style, quality of materials and, of course, safety features. Perhaps by now predictably, power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four. However it can be had in two different states of tune. One produces 187-horsepower, while the other generates 248. The higher-powered engine is mated to an all-wheel drive powertrain. The lower-powered iteration is offered with front-wheel drive.  Both are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

From our perspective, Volvo has laid solid claim to delivering the best-looking lineup of vehicles on the road. Yes, some makers have one or two products that might look better, but nobody has a better-looking lineup when taken as a whole. The XC40 definitely benefits from this, as you’ll find both its interior and exterior to be the most pleasantly styled in this class. Total cargo capacity comes in at 47.2 cubic feet. Comfort is outstanding in every aspect—save one. The headrests are a bit on the aggressive side and can’t be adjusted to be less so. The handsome touchscreen also comes in for a bit for a criticism in terms of its response time, but it’s easy to decipher and operate. Those quibbles aside, the XC40 easily ranks as one of our favorites.

Pricing starts at $33,700.

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