BMW X3 | Audi Q5 | Land Rover Freelander | Volvo XC60 review

17 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on BMW X3 | Audi Q5 | Land Rover Freelander | Volvo XC60 review

Stephen Ottley

Inside this review.

Make BMW Family X3 Series F25 Year 2011 Badge Description xDrive20d Steptronic Doors 4 Seats 5 Transmission Automatic Engine Configuration Description In-line Gear Num 8 Cylinders 4 Build Country Origin Description UNITED STATES Overall Green Star Rating 3.5 Fuel Type Description Diesel Drive Description 4X4 Constant

If you want proof the financial crisis is over, look no further than luxury-car sales – in particular, the luxury soft-roader figures. While demand softened in May, you’ll find double-digit growth for brands including Porsche, Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz. The segment as a whole is up by almost 20 per cent for the year.

A big part of that growth is down to small cars – or, more accurately, smaller soft-roaders. The boom of the past decade has spawned more luxury compact soft-roaders as people look for high-riding, premium-badged SUVs, without the need for seven seats or lots of extra space.

BMW defined the genre with its X3, launched in 2004. It created a segment beneath the big offerings, such as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz ML and Audi Q7.

Since then, rivals have been coming thick and fast and now include the Land Rover Freelander, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60.

These cars cater to people who want the benefits of a soft-roader, such as higher ride height, but who have a city lifestyle.

That’s because these cars are more at home in the urban jungle than off the beaten track. They are all still all-wheel-drive, though, which has other benefits – most notably improved traction in wet weather or when the going gets slippery.

Since the arrival of the original X3, the acceptance of turbo diesel engines has increased as buyers realise their fuel-economy benefits and car makers produce quieter, more refined oil-burners.

All the big players offer a diesel variant and most price it as the entry-level model.

BMW has just given the X3 a fresh lease of life, with a new-generation model designed with its new rivals in mind. So, can the new X3 claim top spot in this highly competitive market?

We’ve picked the entry-level X3, the xDrive20d, which happens to be a turbo diesel, and put it up against its direct rivals: Audi’s Q5 2.0 TDI, the updated Freelander2 SD4 SE and the reigning Drive Car of the Year champ in the ”SUV Over $40,000” category, the Volvo XC60 D5.

Photo location courtesy of the Prince Albert Inn, Braemar, NSW. For more details, go to

How they compare

BMW X3 xDrive20d

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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