2014 Luxury SUV Buying Guide

2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC

After gaining a new diesel-engine option midway through model-year 2013, the compact Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class stands pat for 2014. As with the full-size GL-Class, the diesel version is the entry-level model in the range. It’s a 200-horsepower 2.1-liter four-cylinder unit. Despite standard all-wheel drive, the GLK250 BlueTec achieves an impressive EPA combined city/highway fuel economy score of 28 mpg. Gasoline-powered GLK350 models also return with a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and 21 mpg fuel economy rating for both the rear- and AWD editions. This compact luxury SUV’s cabin is as well appointed as you’d expect a Mercedes to be, and GLK is available with a full complement of the latest safety technologies. Its looks might be a bit too boxy for style-conscious shoppers, and while the base-price range of $38,405-$39,905 is competitive, it quickly shoots skyward as you add costly packaged and standalone options.

 

2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG

Mercedes’ five-passenger midsize SUV enters the 2014 model year with no major changes. Though its official name is M-Class, model designations start with the ML prefix. The lineup consists of the turbodiesel ML350 BlueTec and gasoline V-6 ML350, V-8 ML550, and high-performance V-8 ML63 AMG. Horsepower ratings are 240, 302, 402, and 516, respectively. ML63 buyers can order a special package that increases horsepower to 550. Diesel models rate a thrifty-for-the-class 23 mpg city/highway combined while gas models range from 15-20. All M-Class variants boast high levels of refinement. They’re not especially fun to drive, with the exception of the ML63 AMG. That privilege will cost you plenty, though; its base price is $98,175. Non-AMG versions start at $48,715, but that figure is deceptive as it doesn’t include such niceties as satellite radio or a rearview camera. Worthwhile safety features, such as blind-spot alert, are only available as part of costly option packages, which further inflate the bottom line.

 

2014 Porsche Cayenne

2014 Porsche Cayenne 3

Model-year 2014 is a quiet one for Porsche’s midsize SUV following a busy 2013 that saw the addition of diesel, gas/electric hybrid (read more in the CarPreview.com 2014 Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide), and sporty GTS variants. Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling vehicle, and it does a fine job of injecting some sport into the sport utility vehicle segment. Flavors range from mild to wild with the top-line Turbo S model producing 550 horsepower. This SUV might not be as opulent inside as its contemporaries, but it more than gets the job done. It’s a worthwhile compromise considering how enjoyable it is to drive. EPA projected fuel economy ranges from 16-23 mpg city/highway combined. Like other German-brand luxury SUVs, Cayenne’s starting price of $50,575 is in line with the class, but you will have to pay plenty extra for items that are otherwise standard in other high-class SUVs. You’ll have to open up your wallet especially wide if you want the Turbo S, as it will set you back at least $146,975.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]