Blue BMW X3 parked in a mountainous setting

BMW X3 review (2017-2023)

Classy and full of tech, the X3 is BMW’s mid-level SUV. It’s supremely practical with a huge boot and lots of room for families.

Pros

  • Fun to drive
  • Engines are efficient and powerful
  • Popularity ensures good resale value

Cons

  • The suspension can be firm on certain models
  • Running costs are higher than less premium rivals
  • Engines can be quite thirsty

Summary

“One of the best cars to drive of this type – ideal for the driving enthusiast and a great car for everyone else, too.”

A mid-size SUV with a very premium feel, the BMW X3 is one of the best cars to drive of this type – ideal for the driving enthusiast. But it's a great car for everyone else, too – comfortable, with great engines and a fantastic infotainment system. It represents great value as a used car and, thanks to its popularity, there are loads of examples to choose from.

We're looking here at the third-generation X3, which was introduced as a new car at the end of 2017 and represents a substantial upgrade over earlier versions.

What’s the interior like?

“The material quality and feeling of solidity is excellent and everything feels well planned out to make life easier.”

The BMW X3's interior has a premium look and feel. The material quality and feeling of solidity is excellent, the seats are superbly comfortable and supportive and everything feels well planned out to make your driving life easier.

Four adults will fit in with few problems, and a fifth could squeeze into the middle back seat for shorter journeys. Some rivals – notably the Volvo XC60 – have more space still in the back.

The back seats fold down in a 40/20/40 split, giving you lots of flexibility to carry both passengers and larger loads. Boot capacity is good at 550 litres so you can fit in several large suitcases. There’s also lots of storage, from cupholders to space for your phone and there’s a luggage compartment floor net in the boot to stop your stuff moving around.

All models have BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment system, which has a comprehensive list of features and is easy to use, either via the touchscreen or a central controller between the seats.

What’s it like to drive?

“The X3 is one of the best cars of this type to drive.”

The X3 is one of the best cars of this type to drive. There are different driving modes where the settings, such as suspension and steering, are adjusted so the car drives the way you want it to, whether that’s in Comfort, Eco or Sport mode. Everyday driving is very comfortable, although the ride is slightly firmer on M-Sport models. The driving position is excellent with lots of adjustment options in the steering wheel and seats.

If you enjoy your driving, you'll find the X3 is remarkably nimble for an SUV, and genuinely fun on an open road. In fact, it’s so good to drive, you feel like you’re in a BMW saloon rather than an SUV. It's easily the most agile against rivals like the Audi Q5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.

There are several petrol and diesel engine choices, all of which have a decent level of power. The diesel-powered 20d model has a mild-hybrid system in cars made from 2020, while a plug-in hybrid model, called the xDrive30e, is also available.

There's also an all-electric model called the iX3, with an official battery range of 285 miles.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Servicing is expensive, as are parts, but generally the X3 has similar running costs to its rivals.”

The X3 is extremely popular and some models will be more expensive than rivals like the Audi Q5. However, they all offer great value, especially if you find one that had lots of options fitted when new.

Servicing is expensive, as are parts, but generally the X3 has similar running costs to its rivals. For the best fuel economy, the plug-in hybrid xDrive30e model promises much, although it'll be at its best on shorter journeys where you can rely on its battery power rather than its petrol engine. For longer journeys, the mild-hybrid 20d will be more efficient, promising around 50mpg.

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

Cazoo makes selling a car just as easy – just enter a few details for an instant online valuation. If you accept the offer our partners will get in touch to arrange payment and collection of your car at a time that suits you.

Which one is best for you?

If you’re looking for an X3 with the ideal balance of power and economy then the 20d or 20i are the ones to go for. They deliver a great drive while still being comfortable when cruising. Extra oomph is available if you want it, in both diesel and petrol, all the way up to the performance-focused X3 M Competition, which is very fast but considerably more expensive than the rest of the range. The PHEV model can save you loads on fuel, but at a cost premium when you buy it.

When it comes to trim levels SE models will give you great value with lots of kit, but you can add to them by looking around for one that’s had options fitted. M-Sport versions have a sportier look and feel, and have better resale values, but you’ll have to pay more for one in the first place.

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