The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Small Luxury SUV Class Grows

May 23, 2008

BOSTON - About a decade after Toyota’sRAV4 sparked the compact-SUV revolution, automakers are planning a repeatperformance — this time in the luxury field. Like the RAV4, compact luxury SUVscan negotiate alleyways that leave their larger siblings stuck. Unlike Toyota’s original model,these SUVs offer effortless acceleration, business-class accommodations, andloads of safety features. Why the trend? Some experts say small SUVs offershoppers a cheaper path into luxury brands, much like entry-level luxurysedans. Others argue that a compact SUV fits certain lifestyles that a luxuryautomaker’s bigger SUVs cannot address, according to www.boston.com.

 

The 2007Acura RDX, one of the earliest compact luxury SUVs, will get more company inthat segment over the next few years. When BMW’s X3 hit dealerships in early2004, it shared the field with just Land Rover’s Freelander, a car that evenLand Rover admits was not a good fit for the US market. Acura was next with theRDX, which came in mid-2006, followed by the Land Rover LR2. The Infiniti EX35arrives in winter 2007.

 

Morecontenders are expected to come, including the Cadillac BRX, Audi Q5, Saab9-4X, and a yet-unnamed model from Lexus.

Mostcompact luxury SUVs start somewhere around $35,000. Ordinary compact SUVs likethe Mazda CX-7 and Honda CR-V can approach that range if they’re stacked withoptions, and larger luxury SUVs like the Lexus RX 350 and Lincoln MKX start atjust a few thousand dollars more. It comes as no surprise that Acura reportsthe CX-7, CR-V, and RX 350 are cross-shopped in significant numbers with theRDX, which starts at $33,195, according to www.boston.com.

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