I actually thought of another SUV that is definitely worthy of consideration, but it won't be available for a few more months. It's the 2016 Mazda CX-9!
I have a 2012 CX-9 Grand Touring and it definitely meets the definition of 'near-luxury'. The newly designed 2016 (or they may call it a 2017) CX-9 is even better. It reminds me of the Volvo XC90, at least in concept and execution.
A new top-of-the-line trim 'Signature' trim level has been added to the existing Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. It stickers for $44k and has Auburn-colored Nappa Leather, genuine rosewood trim made by Japanese guitar-maker Fujigen, LED signature accent grille and interior lighting and a lot of other very attractive, high-end features.
You'd be doing yourself (and your wife) a disservice if you dismissed the CX-9 soley because it doesn't have a luxury name brand. A perfect example of quality and luxury versus a brand name- there are several Kia/Hyundai models that I'd buy in a heartbeart over some entry-level Mercedes-Benz vehicles....even at the same price! The way that M-B has suddenly managed to have several models starting in the low $30s is very simple- they're made out of cheap materials and they're not well-engineered.