For a smooth, comfortable ride over any terrain, SUVs with air suspension are the way to go. This advanced suspension technology sets SUVs apart by replacing old-fashioned metal coils with air springs.
The result? A cloud-like ride that glides over bumps and dips.
In this guide, we focus entirely on SUVs with air suspension. You'll discover the top models equipped with this feature and learn how air suspension gives SUVs their unmatched comfortable ride.
We'll explore the top models across luxury and standard brands, look at performance capabilities for on and off-road driving, review cabin comfort features, check fuel economy stats, and compare pricing so you can find the best option.
Whether you're looking for a family hauler or luxury cruiser, our top picks for SUVs with air suspension in 2023 have you covered.
Keep reading to find the best options to upgrade your driving experience!
Top SUVs With Air Suspension
[Table Of Contents]
- Audi Q7 Prestige
- Audi SQ7 Premium Plus
- Land Rover Range Rover
- Land Rover Range Rover Sport
- Land Rover Range Rover Velar
- Tesla Model X
- GMC Yukon Denali
- Ford Expedition
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
- Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV
- Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV
- Volvo XC90
- Chevrolet Tahoe
What Is An Air Suspension System?
First, let's review what air suspension is before looking at vehicles with it.
Air suspension uses a compressor to fill airbags. The airbags act like springs to suspend the vehicle.
It's crucial to mention that increasing ground clearance is beneficial for off-road driving, where obstacles and uneven terrain might be encountered.
Mention that lowering the vehicle improves aerodynamics as well as handling at high speeds, contributing to enhanced fuel efficiency.
It might be worth noting that each vehicle will have manufacturer guidelines for the optimal use of air suspension settings to ensure both performance and comfort and that these should be followed to avoid unnecessary wear and tear or discomfort during driving.
Air suspension is a luxury option on SUVs. It gives a smooth, comfortable ride. However, it’s also worth noting that while air suspension does provide enhanced comfort and adaptability, it can also lead to higher maintenance and repair costs compared to traditional spring suspension systems.
Now, let's look at the best 2023 SUVs with air suspension.
Audi has several models with air suspension available, including the Audi Q7 Prestige and Audi SQ7 Premium Plus.
The Q7 Prestige starts at an MSRP of $59,200, while the SQ7 Premium Plus is at $90,200.
The adaptive air suspension system is available as an upgrade on many of their vehicles, and it comes standard on high-level trims.
For both models, you can select from several different settings for the air suspension system, including Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, and Off-Road:
- Comfort: Smooth, comfortable ride for everyday driving.
- Auto: Automatically adjusts suspension for a balance of comfort and performance.
- Dynamic: Stiffer suspension for more spirited driving and enhanced handling.
- Off-Road: Increased ground clearance and softer suspension for rough terrain.
Land Rover offers air suspension on several models, including the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, and Range Rover Velar.
The Range Rover starts at an MSRP of $105,975, the Range Rover Sport at $83,000, and the Range Rover Velar at $61,450.
The air suspension system is standard on the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, while it's available as an upgrade on the Range Rover Velar.
The air suspension system in these models consists of air springs, which replace traditional coil springs, and electronically controlled dampers.
Range Rover ensures a serene and comfortable driving experience through its Electronic Air Suspension, which automatically fine-tunes the ride height based on driving conditions and pre-set modes.
The driver can choose from four ride heights: Access Height, Standard Ride Height, Off-Road Height 1, and Off-Road Height 2.
Access Height lowers the vehicle by up to 50mm to make getting in and out of the car easier.
Meanwhile, Standard Ride Height is the default setting for normal driving conditions.
Off-Road Height 1 raises the vehicle by up to 75mm for moderate off-road use, while Off-Road Height 2 raises it by up to 100mm for more extreme off-road conditions.
Range Rover Sport
The air suspension system in the Range Rover Sport is similar to that of the Range Rover.
The Dynamic Air Suspension automatically stiffens or loosens the suspension. It works with what Land Rover calls Dynamic Response Pro, which prevents the car from leaning too far and rolling.
The driver can choose from four ride heights: Access Mode, Off-Road Mode, Auto Mode, and Dynamic Mode.
Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar also features an adjustable air suspension system with an adaptive damper system as standard.
The driver can choose Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, and Off-Road modes to adjust the vehicle's height according to driving conditions.
- Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X employs a sophisticated suspension system that adapts dynamically to various factors, including speed, road conditions, and user-defined settings, ensuring an optimized ride experience tailored to the driving context.
This level of precision goes beyond a simple fixed adjustment based on distance or speed.
Here are the different ride height settings you can choose from:
- Very High: The car will automatically lower itself to Low after driving about 30 meters or reaching 24 km/h.
- High: The car will automatically lower itself to Low after driving about 30 meters or reaching 56 km/h.
- Medium: This is the default setting and provides the best balance of comfort and handling. The car will automatically lower itself to Low when you reach 89 km/h.
- Low: This setting is best for improving aerodynamics, making it easier to load and unload, and improving handling.
- Very Low: This setting is only available when manually selecting it or at very high speeds. The car will automatically revert to Low on your next drive or when appropriate based on vehicle speed.
Tesla reminds consumers to avoid driving aggressively when the suspension is set to High or Very High, which can cause vibrations and possible damages.
The Model X starts at an estimated price of $89,990.
- GMC Yukon Denali
GMC's Yukon Denali's Air Ride Adaptive Suspension can automatically adjust to give you a smooth ride, but you can also manually adjust it for off-road driving.
The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension allows you to adjust the ride height for off-roading, highway driving, and passenger loading/unloading.
Here are the settings you can select:
- Automatic load-leveling: Maintains optimal balance regardless of load, up to 2 inches (51 mm) of ground clearance change.
- Automatic ride-height adjustment: Lowers ride height by ¾ inch (19 mm) at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.
- Manual ride-height adjustment: Lowers suspension by 2 inches (51 mm) to facilitate passenger entry and exit when parked.
- Additional ground clearance: Raises body by 1 inch (25 mm) in 4WD HI mode and an additional 1 inch (25 mm) in 4WD LO mode, for a total of 2 inches (51 mm) of extra ground clearance.
The system also works with an independent multilink rear suspension system and Magnetic Ride Control for greater body control.
The Yukon Denali starts at an MSRP of $74,805.
- Ford Expedition
Ford's Expedition has an air suspension system that can adjust for different driving conditions. Here are your selectable drive modes:
- Normal: Provides a balanced ride height for everyday driving. This is the default mode.
- Off-Road 1: Raises the suspension 1.2 inches for improved ground clearance on rough terrain.
- Off-Road 2: Raises the suspension 2 inches for maximum ground clearance on more extreme off-road conditions.
- Aero: Lowers the suspension by 0.8 inches for improved aerodynamics and fuel efficiency on the highway.
- Entry/Exit: Lowers the suspension 2 inches to make getting in and out of the vehicle easier.
- Tow/Haul: Levels out the suspension when towing or hauling heavy loads to help maintain stability.
The Expedition starts at an MSRP of $55,725.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
Jeep's Grand Cherokee Summit's Quadra-Lift air suspension offers an electronic semi-active damping system for on-road and off-road driving.
The Quadra-Lift air suspension has been around since 2010 and is available on select Grand Cherokee trims.
This system allows the Grand Cherokee to alter its maximum ground clearance, wheel travel, and ride height. The Quadra-Lift system offers 5 modes:
- Normal Mode: This is the default mode for everyday driving.
- Off-Road 1: Raises the vehicle to provide additional ground clearance for light off-road conditions.
- Off-Road 2: Further raises the SUV for extreme off-road situations.
- Aero Mode: Lowers the SUV to improve aerodynamics, enhance highway performance, and reduce fuel consumption.
- Park Mode: Lowers the SUV for easy entry and exit and convenient loading and unloading of items.
The Grand Cherokee Summit starts at an MSRP of $64,460.
The GLE SUV starts at an MSRP of $57,700, while the GLS SUV starts at $81,800.
Mercedes GLE SUV
The GLE SUV has a switch for you to choose between three driving modes: Comfort, Sport 1, and Sport 25.
Sport 1 and Sport 2 lower the vehicle by 15mm (market dependent), and the suspension is adaptive, automatically switching the damping profile to Sport 1 above 100 mph.
Mercedes GLS SUV
The GLS SUV has a Free Driving Assist feature, part of an E-Active body control option.
This feature offers assistance when dealing with challenging terrain like sand or mud, utilizing the air suspension system to help provide traction and maneuverability.
However, it's important to note that getting unstuck in these conditions typically involves a combination of features, including traction control and differential lock, in addition to the air suspension system.
The GLS also has an Offroad Assistant menu that allows you to raise or lower the ride height of each wheel via four sliders on the screen.
- Volvo XC90
Volvo's XC90 has an air suspension system that offers five modes, including one where the driver can tailor the settings to their preference:
- Comfort: Provides a comfortable ride for everyday driving.
- Eco: Lowers the SUV for improved aerodynamics and reduces fuel consumption.
- Off-Road: Raises the SUV to provide additional ground clearance for off-road driving.
- Dynamic: Lowers the SUV for better high-speed handling and stability.
- Individual: Allows you to customize the settings of the air suspension system.
The XC90 starts at an MSRP of $57,095.
- Chevrolet Tahoe
Priced from a starting MSRP of $63,800, the Z71 trim of the Tahoe incorporates an air suspension system that provides a 2-inch elevation over the standard ride height, which is particularly beneficial for off-road driving.
It's worth noting that this height adjustment is automatic and occurs in specific driving modes rather than requiring manual input.
This system improves approach and departure angles for off-road driving and can be adjusted manually or automatically depending on the driving mode selected:
- Normal Height: This is the default mode for everyday driving.
- Increased Ground Clearance: Raises the vehicle for additional ground clearance, useful for off-road driving. Automatically activated when Off-Road or Terrain Mode is selected using the Driver Mode Selector.
- Maximum Ground Clearance: Raises the vehicle 2 inches higher than normal height, providing maximum ground clearance. It is available only on 4WD vehicles with 4LOW mode.
- Lowered Ground Clearance: Lowers the vehicle for better handling and performance. It is automatically enabled when V-Mode is enabled.
The Tahoe Z71 also features an electronically controlled limited-slip differential (eLSD), Magnetic Ride Control dampers, and adaptive air springs.
The adaptive air springs are designed to automatically adapt to varying road conditions, often lowering the vehicle to enhance aerodynamics primarily on highways, which can contribute to improved efficiency.
Is Air Suspension Worth It For SUVs?
Given the added cost of air suspension, is it worthwhile for SUV buyers?
Often, yes - if a smooth, comfortable ride is a priority.
Air suspension cushions bumps and improves control on rough roads. This makes a noticeable difference when driving SUVs daily.
It also enhances handling for SUVs when hauling heavy loads or towing.
While pricier upfront, some feel the lifetime riding benefits make air suspension worthwhile for their SUV.
Of course, your budget and needs should guide whether it's worth it for your SUV.
How Long Will Air Suspension Last in SUVs?
Every vehicle and its parts, over time, will wear and tear.
Knowing how long the air suspension will last depends on each automaker's specific air suspension system.
However, it's important to note that estimating the lifespan of an air suspension system can be quite variable, as it depends on factors such as the specific vehicle and how it's used.
Nonetheless, some owners may consider replacement every ten years as a general guideline.
What Happens if Air Suspension Fails in an SUV?
The most important part of an air suspension system is its compressor. If the compressor fails, then there is no way for the airbags to inflate.
If the vehicle is sitting at an abnormal riding height, it may be due to a failing compressor.
The air compressor is vital to your air suspension system. If the air suspension isn't working normally, contact your local dealership to diagnose the issue.
Can I Drive an SUV with the Air Suspension Off?
There may be times when the air compressor's constant filling and deflating gets annoying.
It can be tempting to turn off the air suspension completely, but doing so can cause severe damage to your vehicle.
Disabling the air suspension will cause the SUV to ride very rough as if it is constantly bottoming out, and without the suspension, there is nothing to absorb the shock from the road.
Air or Spring: Which SUV Suspension is Better?
Air suspension has its benefits when it comes to its versatility. A driver can adjust it for a comfortable ride on the highway or a stiffer ride for rougher terrain.
It's also quite beneficial when towing heavy loads because of its ability to level out the vehicle.
Air suspension systems can indeed come with higher installation and repair costs compared to traditional spring suspensions.
However, it's crucial to consider that the expense can vary significantly depending on the specific vehicle and its requirements, making it challenging to provide a universal "three times the cost" comparison.
That said, buyers need to weigh the pros and cons of getting a vehicle with air suspension.
While it is more versatile than a spring suspension, air suspension, in the long run, can be a pricey feature due to its initial cost and future repairs.
Experience a Smooth Ride in an SUV with Air Suspension
With so many 2023 SUVs offering air suspension, you have lots of choices.
Test drive different models to find the perfect ride and features.
Consider how you'll use the SUV - as a daily driver, family hauler or off-roader?
This can narrow your search to the best SUV with air suspension for your lifestyle.
While pricier, the benefits may be worthwhile if a smooth ride is a priority.
And new tech offers fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance in SUVs with air suspension.
Happy shopping for your dream ride!
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