Within the rise of EVs there’s a specific subset of spacious and sumptuous. That’s where electric luxury SUVs come in. The initial EVs from big brands like Jaguar, BMW and Volvo are all compact SUVs with quick torque and enough space for kids and soccer practice gear.
The bigger sizes haven’t diminished these EVs from their battery-powered advantage. All can make it from zero to 60 mph in well under 5 seconds. It’s like having a sports car mixed with a family-friendly vehicle.
These selections are all considered smaller SUVs that typically seat five comfortably, but Tesla’s Model X comes with an option for a third row.
We focused on fully electric crossover options that start over $55,000. No hybrids here. But also no range anxiety. This handful of SUVs can all make it over 200 miles (some comfortably over 300 miles) on a single charge.
1. 2022 BMW iX
Why We Picked It
The iX midsize SUV is far more than a BMW X5 with an electric motor swapped in for a gasoline engine. The iX is fast, quiet and handles superbly well for a 5,530-pound SUV. It is also a capable advanced driving vehicle, a delightful long-distance cruiser and the perfect weekend Costco-then-soccer runabout. BMW has built a better vehicle than Tesla, but its electric features (300-mile and lower range, no dedicated charging network) might fall short of the EV giant. Read the first drive.
- High-quality, comfy interior with 14.9-inch dash screen
- Fast charging compatible takes 35 minutes to go from 10% to 80% charged
- Free public charging for two years at Electrify America stations
- Departure from traditional BMW aesthetic
- Small buttons, hard to use iDrive control system part of its “shy tech”
- Oversized, overbearing double kidney grille
2. 2022 Volvo XC40 Recharge
Why We Picked It
Aside from a modest 223-mile range, the XC40 Recharge continues to keep up with the growing ranks of small electric crossovers; a group that includes the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model Y. Based on the gasoline-powered XC40, it’s a subtle EV that looks like its gas predecessor. It features one of the easiest infotainment systems with Android Automotive OS putting Google directly into mapping, media and voice control.
- Top safety features
- Roomy with a high-design, Scandinavian-inspired interior
- Google software built in for easy infotainment
- Lower range than competitors and less efficient battery
- Boxier design carries over from gas version
- Google-based system doesn’t always play nice with Apple devices
3. 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge
Why We Picked It
The Volvo C40 Recharge offers a lot of panache, technology from Google, top safety features and sustainable materials in its compact crossover coupe package. Backed by Volvo’s reputation for safety and reliability, it’s a great vehicle for the well-heeled buyer looking for a handsome, compact, all-electric crossover. But we’re concerned about its lower range compared to similar crossovers. Read the full review.
- Comes with 250 kWh of free charging on Electrify America charging network
- Google Android Auto system is easy and intuitive to use
- Ample power: 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque makes it slightly quicker than the XC40 Recharge
- Pricey even with the full $7,500 tax credit available
- Data connection is free for only four years, after owners must pay for the connection
- Only one trim option
4. 2022 Tesla Model X
Why We Picked It
The Model X has always been a show-stopper with its gullwing doors. Now it’s removed the gear shifter and the car’s sensors determine whether to drive forward or in reverse. The base model has a 351-mile maximum range and can hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, not bad for a 5,200-pound SUV. The top-of-the-line Plaid trim uses a tri-motor powertrain with 1,020 horsepower that can rocket to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, but that huge output reduces maximum range to 335 miles. When connected to one of Tesla’s 30,000 chargers, it can recoup 175 miles in 15 minutes.
- Longest range of any EV SUV, supercar acceleration
- Fun infotainment capabilities like Caraoke and video games while parked
- Super cool gullwing doors
- Cramped backseat for three-row configurations, beached whale styling
- Gimmicky yoke steering wheel, illusory self-driving technology
- Lower range as price creeps up with no federal tax credit available
5. 2022 Jaguar I-Pace
Why We Picked It
The Jaguar I-Pace returns for 2022 with a simplified lineup and a big price cut. The formerly top-spec HSE is now the only trim, but it’s priced like the former base-model S. Redesigned infotainment and navigation features complement faster at-home charging and newly standard driver-assist gear, but mechanically the I-Pace hasn’t changed much since 2019. It’s a svelte blend of futuristic EV style and traditional Jaguar fun, but some competitors with more range, faster charging times and more speed cost less. Read the review.
- Stylish, inside and out
- Smooth ride, luxurious interior
- Quick and agile performance
- Range doesn’t match up with advertised numbers
- Slow charging, even with updated onboard charger
- Vigorous use sacrifices some range
For 2022, our ratings categories are:
- Range, Energy Use & Charging
- Comfort & Room
- Cargo Space & Storage
- Style & Design
Overall: 100 points
- Performance (15 points) The Performance score is a subjective assessment of a vehicle’s handling, braking, acceleration, ride quality and other qualitative performance measures such as horsepower, torque, zero-to-60 time and top speed. Towing capability for trucks and SUVs also is considered. Performance of the vehicles is compared against the identified competitive set. While driving, reviewers look for attributes relative to the expectations set by the manufacturer and by consumer expectations.
- Range, Energy Use & Charging: (15 points) The Range, Energy Use & Charging score for pure electric vehicles is based on range on a single charge, kilowatts consumed per 100 miles and the comparative mile per gallon equivalent, or MPGe.
- Safety (15 points) The Safety score is based on crash test results from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Vehicles not yet rated by either agency receive zero points. Also included in the safety rating are points awarded for certain advanced driver-assistance safety features offered as standard equipment on the base trim. There are nine safety features Forbes Wheels considers mandatory for the standard offering: forward emergency automatic braking, forward collision warning, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic warning, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning or one its higher-level variants, lane keeping assistance or lane centering. Vehicles must have at least four of these in their standard offering to receive points. Vehicles that offer a Level 2 self-driving system, (a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane centering) are eligible for a bonus point.
- Infotainment (15 points) The Infotainment score is based on points awarded for certain features offered as standard equipment on the base trim. Forbes Wheels identifies certain features that are growing in popularity and therefore have been adopted by both premium and mainstream automakers. Some of these features include a minimum 7-inch touchscreen (or premium vehicles that use a rotary knob, touchpad or other mechanism to control a non-touchscreen display), wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a customizable, digital driver information display or instrument panel and at least two USB ports. Additional points are awarded for popular features that haven’t been widely adopted in mainstream vehicles such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and wireless charging capabilities.
- Comfort & Room (15 points) The Comfort & Room score is based on points awarded for the reviewer’s assessment of the vehicle’s comfort, ergonomics and overall interior feel as well as effective use of space. Points also are awarded for the measurement of rear-seat legroom and how it compares with the identified competitive set. Vehicles that offer segment-best legroom in either rear seat or optional third row are eligible for a bonus point.
- Cargo Space & Storage (15 points) The Cargo Space & Storage score is based on points awarded for the reviewer’s assessment of the vehicle’s large and small cargo spaces (as well as small-item storage) and how well they serve their purpose and effective use of space. Reviewers also consider innovative storage solutions and flexible loading features. Points also are awarded for the cargo space measurements for rear cargo hold or trunk and how it compares with the identified competitive set. Vehicles that offer a segment-best cargo or trunk space are eligible for a bonus point.
- Styling (10 points) The Styling score is a subjective assessment of a vehicle’s overall styling and design, inside and out. Reviewers also consider the configuration of the interior and how well the design plays into the function. Build quality also is a consideration.