The BMW X3 was the top SUV in our overall Car of the Year Awards for 2012 - and it very nearly wins the same category in the Green Car of the Year list too.
The previous X3 wasn’t BMW’s finest model at all, but the latest generation of the car is an excellent all-round family SUV. The xDrive20d gets four-wheel drive and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 184bhp and 280lb ft - enough for a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds.
However, the xDrive20d still manages to return a Government fuel economy average of 50.4mpg, and CO2 emissions of 149g/km - great levels of efficiency for such a large SUV. Even in our True MPG tests - which are conducted not in a lab but on UK roads and in British traffic - the X3 xDrive20d managed 42.2mpg. That makes it a great company car option that will also return decent real-world fuel economy.
On the road, the X3 is agile, with nicely weighted steering, and while the turbodiesel engine does make a little bit more noise than in a BMW saloon, it’s more than refined enough for an SUV.
The cabin, meanwhile, has space for four 6ft+ adults, the luggage bay can be expanded to an impressive 1600 litres and the controls are all nicely made and easy to use.
To cap it all - and this is a relatively unusual aspect to a BMW - the standard equipment list is relatively generous. Opt for our preferred trim, the entry-level SE, and you’ll get leather seats, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and dual-zone climate control.
There are few finer SUV packages out there than this, in fact. So while the Mazda CX-5’s ground-up approach to greater fuel efficiency has earned it the Green SUV award, we’d have no hesitation in recommending the X3 xDrive20d either.