The BMW X3 competes in one of the most profitable segments of the motoring market so it needs to be good to secure its position. It faces stiff competition in the form of the Range Rover Evoque, a model that blends the luxury and premium appeal of its larger brothers with prices and dimensions more suited for mass-market appeal. We compare the two to find out which comes out on top…
Range Rover Evoque vs BMW X3 – styling
The Evoque has been on sale since 2011 but remains one of the most striking crossovers on sale. The squat looks and sleek front end detailing stand out and the recent facelift has simply enhanced this with refreshed LED headlamps and different air intakes. The car’s popularity might have made it less exclusive, but it still has bags of premium appeal.
In comparison, the X3 comes across as a little dull. That’s not to say it’s unattractive but, compared to the Evoque, it’s much more mainstream in terms of styling, and apes the larger X5 in some aspects. A 2014 facelift brought updated front lights to mirror those in the 3 Series but it cannot rival the visual drama supplied by the Range Rover.
Range Rover Evoque vs BMW X3 – interior
The Evoque’s interior mimics its larger siblings – the minimalist design and materials feel upmarket, if not quite as nice as those on its German rivals. There’s also a brand new infotainment system, with a much wider screen and improved feedback compared to the pre-facelift model. It’s far from perfect, but it’s much better than before.
The X3 interior shares much of its design with other BMWs on sale which helps it feel consistently high quality if a little dull. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to spend time, with pleasing materials throughout, and the impressive iDrive infotainment system. It might not make you feel as special as the Evoque, but the X3 feels better quality overall.
In terms of space, you might be surprised to know that the two cars perform rather similarly. The Evoque might have a much squatter design and narrow windows, but five adults should fit for short journeys, and the 575-litre boot can swallow most holiday luggage. The X3’s cabin should be a little more airy, but can only muster 550-litres of boot capacity. Fold the rear seats, however, and the BMW’s 1,600-litre capacity is 155 up on the Evoque.
Range Rover Evoque vs BMW X3 – driving
The Evoque is surprisingly agile for a car carrying the Range Rover badge and, in some ways, feels like a tall hatchback thanks to its well controlled body movements. Factor in a compliant ride, even on the largest wheels, and it’s an impressive package.
Many will expect the X3 to drive well too and, while it has intuitive handling and good grip, it doesn’t have the same unshakeable stability of BMWs of old. The compliant ride the X3 gains in return is worth the sacrifice, however – though the optional M-Sport pack does undo some of the hard work.
In terms of off-road abilities, you won’t be at all surprised to learn that the Range Rover Evoque beats the BMW X3 hands down. Most Evoques have a full compliment of off-roading toys such as wade-sensing technology plus off-road driving modes. The X3 has hill-descent control and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, but anything more than a muddy track is best left alone.
Range Rover Evoque vs BMW X3 – engines
The Evoque comes with just three engine choices – two diesels and one petrol, all 2.0-litre, four-cylinder units. The lower powered diesel offers 150hp and a claimed 63mpg, although it takes a leisurely 11.2 seconds to reach 62mph from rest and is only available with two-wheel drive. Next up is the 180hp TD4 which comes with four-wheel drive, a 0-62mph time that’s 2.1 seconds quicker than its less powerful brother, plus an optional nine-speed automatic gearbox. The Si4 petrol engine has 240hp and its 7.1-second 0-62mph time is hot-hatch fast, but the higher running costs means it only suits performance fans.
BMW previously offered a comprehensive range of engines in the X3, but that has been whittled down to three, and all are diesel choices. By far the most popular is the 20d – that has 190hp and is capable of reaching 62mph from rest in 9.5 seconds and returning 52.3mpg. The 30d has 258hp and completes the 0-62mph sprint in 5.9 seconds, while the 313hp 35d manages an impressive 5.3 seconds.
Range Rover Evoque vs BMW X3 – value for money
The Evoque costs from £30,600, but the huge scope for personalisation means it’s not too difficult spend more than £50,000 on a nicely optioned Autobiography model. The most popular variant is SE Tech which gets plenty of options and, with the TD4 engine and automatic gearbox, it costs from £37,000.
The BMW X3 is priced from just less than £34,000 and rises to £47,000 although, like the Evoque, you can expect the long options list to add many thousands to the price. The popular xDrive 20d M Sport has a list price of £39,585 and gets some extra sporty details to lift it above lesser models.
In terms of running costs, the two-wheel-drive eD4 version of the Evoque can achieve up to 65.7mpg in mixed driving, with the TD4 returning 58.9mpg with a manual gearbox, and 55.4mpg with the automatic. If you’re brave enough to spring for the petrol then you’re looking at just 36.2mpg. The most frugal 20d X3 returns 57.6mpg, but stepping up to the 30d or 35d means you’ll see 49.6mpg or 47.1mpg respectively.
Range Rover Evoque vs BMW X3 – verdict
Both of these crossovers are good choices whether you’re after something practical for the family or something comfortable and fashionable to drive through town. Of course, which one comes out on top depends on your own personal preferences, but you won’t be unhappy with either choice.
The BMW X3 is practical, efficient and fairly entertaining to drive while the Range Rover is arguably more stylish but feels its age inside. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that the Evoque’s residuals are among the strongest around, so you should get a good proportion of your money back when it comes to reselling.
Save money on your new crossover
Check out our Range Rover Evoque deals page to check out the latest savings available with carwow, or visit our BMW X3 deals page for offers on its German rival. Alternatively, use our car chooser to find your ideal new motor or see our best savings on our car deals page.