BMW X3 SUV
Price £30,995 - £45,395
- Great 3.0-litre engine
- Low running costs
- Spacious and well made interior
- Expensive to buy
- Costly options
- Transmission tunnel cuts into rear space
Easily one of the best premium SUVs available in the UK, the BMW X3 resembles its larger sibling, the BMW X5, but with the added benefits of its smaller dimensions making it more nimble and manoeuvrable.
Its chunky body – complete with roof rails – make it look the rugged part, while the M Sport version has even bigger bumper and tyres.
There are three engines to choose from, which all have a good balance of low running costs and reasonable performance. The 313bhp 3.0-litre xDrive35d is the fastest and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds.
Meanwhile, the most economical is the entry-level xDrive20d, which returns 50mpg while emitting 149g/km of CO2 - an impressive figure for a high-riding SUV thanks to the fitting of BMW's EfficientDynamics stop-start technology.
The interior is very comfy and built from excellent materials, with loads of equipment and accessories thrown in for good measure. Plus, the boot is massive, making it a viable family car, too.
Even base model SE comes fitted with decent standard equipment levels, while the M Sport has even more on offer. All models are sporty – including cars fitted with the surprisingly effective eight-speed automatic gearbox – and are very easy to drive. But, be wary of the larger alloy wheels and stiff suspension on the M Sport if you want any ride comfort at all.
Overall, the X3 is a high-quality compact SUV and a strong challenger for the flashier Range Rover Evoque.