Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 SUV driving past Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall
Mercedes-Maybach GLS600

Vehicles

Top 5 Extra-Large SUVs

BY MARK HACKING

MERCEDES-MAYBACK GLS600


With the introduction of the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600, the German manufacturer sends its prestige sub-brand out to challenge the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce head-on. It’s a smart move and the starting point for the Maybach, the resolute GLS600 full-size SUV, is an inspired one. With the Maybach version, there’s one notable compromise—only two rows of seating—but every conceivable luxury amenity is included as standard equipment.


The Maybach is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (550 hp; 538 lb-ft) that incorporates a 48-volt mild hybrid system for increased efficiency and quicker acceleration. The powertrain also delivers 7,700 pounds of towing capacity, more than enough to haul a 28-foot boat trailer. The standard adjustable air suspension system helps move things along smoothly and keeps all passengers in complete comfort.


With only two rows of seats in a large SUV with a three-row footprint, there’s plenty of space for everyone to stretch out—second-row passengers have an extra 4.7 inches of legroom when compared to the regular GLS600. It’s a toss-up as to who’s got the best seat in the house. All seats feature heating, cooling, and massage functions, while passengers in the back also enjoy power-operated leg rests, pillowy headrests, and, yes, actual seat pillows.


Up front, the driver and co-driver get to enjoy the Maybach’s expansive digital dashboard. The instrument panel is a 12.3-inch reconfigurable display that flows seamlessly toward the identically sized center console touchscreen, which is powered by the MBUX interface with voice activation. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 is a stellar SUV, a combination of supreme luxury and inspired mechanical underpinnings. From $161,550; maybach.com

2023 Cadillac Escalade SUV parked in front of mountains
Cadillac Escalade

CADILLAC ESCALADE


The completely reinvigorated fifth-generation Cadillac Escalade rightfully retains its status as the flagship model for the storied American brand. For good reason too: The Escalade features a towing capacity of more than 8,000 pounds and is something of a style-monger, with its massive and boxy design standing out in a crowded field. There are two engines, two drive configurations (rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive), five trim levels, and two wheelbase lengths (regular and extended) to help make your ride a unique choice.


In terms of performance, it’s a tough call between the 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp; 460 lb-ft) and the turbodiesel 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder (277 hp; 460 lb-ft); the latter offers close to equal towing performance and better fuel efficiency. Of the five trim levels, the Sport Platinum and Premium Luxury Platinum models are the rulers of the roost, featuring full semi-aniline leather seats in all three rows, a rear-seat entertainment system with dual 12.6-inch screens and a high-end audio system from AKG with 36 speakers, and Cadillac’s noteworthy Super Cruise driver-assist system. Also included is a touring package with adaptive air suspension system and a Wi-Fi hotspot.


All leather and chrome touches aside, the focal point of the interior is the massive, curved OLED screen—actually, three screens knitted together. The display houses the main gauge cluster, infotainment system information, and augmented reality navigation system. A technological showpiece capable of hauling a day cruiser, the Cadillac Escalade is ready for its close-up. From $76,295; cadillac.com

Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV driving on country road
Jeep Grand Wagoneer

JEEP GRAND WAGONEER


With its throwback styling, the all-new Jeep Grand Wagoneer is the most interesting entry in the luxury large SUV segment. The three-row vehicle rides on a frame adapted from the Dodge Ram but incorporates an independent rear suspension system to provide an inspired compromise between adventure-ready capability and relaxed comfort. An adaptive air suspension system ratchets things up more, raising the ride height by 3.6 inches and creating the ability to wade through 2-foot-deep water.


Under the hood, the Grand Wagoneer features a 6.4-liter V8 (471 hp; 455 lb-ft) with enough pulling power (towing capacity is 9,850 pounds) to meet the demands of almost any imaginable recreational challenge. All versions of the Jeep come standard with the brand’s legendary 4-wheel drive system, which helps create traction under heavy loads. When not towing anything, the Grand Wagoneer has the goods to deliver above-average off-roading capability for this class of vehicle.


Inside the spacious cabin, the Jeep has an especially striking digital gauge cluster and infotainment system setup. The center console features a 12-inch touchscreen mounted above a separate 10.3-inch touchscreen devoted to the climate control system. In addition, two of four trim levels have another 10.3-inch touchscreen for the front-seat passenger. To cap things off nicely, the available rear-seat entertainment system comprises another two 10.3-inch touchscreens for the second-row seats.


The Jeep brand is a huge success story around the world; the addition of the Grand Wagoneer represents a missing piece of the puzzle. This mammoth SUV has plenty of luxury and capability baked right in. From $87,995; jeep.com

Lincoln Navigator SUV driving on forest road
Lincoln Navigator

LINCOLN NAVIGATOR


When the current-generation Lincoln Navigator debuted in 2018, it absolutely raised the bar for the “cruise ship class” of large SUVs: advanced engine-transmission combination, the best seats in the business, and surprisingly lithe styling were among its standout features. Now, a revised version of the Navigator is here and it looks better than ever: revision highlights include refreshed exterior styling, a larger 13.2-inch infotainment screen, and an all-new, semi-autonomous driving system called ActiveGlide.


In terms of comfort, the Navigator already had many of the bases covered, but now it’s verging on grand slam territory—and second-row passengers are the main beneficiaries. Heated/cooled massaging seats and a 5.8-inch digital touch display to control all climate settings are now available for the rear seat. Chauffeured passengers can also enjoy more entertainment options through the available Lincoln Play with Amazon Fire TV built-in entertainment system, with wireless audio, streaming, and 16 GB of storage for each of two 10.1-inch screens.


In terms of capability, the Navigator soldiers on with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (450 hp; 510 lb-ft), linked to a 10-speed automatic transmission routing power to either the rear wheels only or to all four wheels. With the available heavy-duty trailer tow package, towing capacity is a sparkling 8,700 pounds, which makes the Navigator a competitive entrant in this group of titanic vehicles.


For maximum levels of luxury, the hot ticket is the extended-wheelbase edition and the Black Label trim level, which includes the Revel Ultima 3D audio system with 28 speakers, standard all-wheel drive, and unique 22-inch wheels. Driving the Navigator is a genuine luxury experience, mirroring that of vehicles twice as expensive. $78,405; lincoln.com

Range Rover SUV parked in front of house
Range Rover

LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER


The newest entrant on our list, the fifth generation of the legendary Land Rover Range Rover, is a bit of an outlier here—it’s less outwardly flashy than the other four vehicles but promises to be no less capable or luxurious. This sleek seven-seater is powered by either a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder with a 48-volt mild hybrid system (395 hp; 406 lb-ft) or a thundering, twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 (523 hp; 553 lb-ft). Other iterations will follow, including a plug-in hybrid variant and the recently announced high-performance SV.


For now, the Range Rover line comes in three different trim levels and two body lengths, regular and extended wheelbase. All versions come standard with Land Rover’s class-leading part-time all-wheel drive system with six different driving modes, the most extreme of which is engineered to take you further off the beaten track than most will ever go. Also standard is an electronic active locking rear differential for greater control in tough conditions, rear-axle steering for increased maneuverability around town, and towing capability of 7,716 pounds for those weekend adventures.


Plenty of plush features balance out all this rugged engineering, including a standard 13.7-inch digital instrument panel, 13.1-inch curved infotainment touchscreen with Amazon Alexa voice control, and genuine leather and wood appointments throughout. The list of desirable options includes upscale sustainable wool-blend upholstery, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 11.4-inch displays, and a Meridian audio system with 35 speakers. If you’re searching for a truly high-end big SUV with more than sufficient capability, the new Range Rover needs to be at the top of the shopping list. From $104,000; landroverusa.com