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BMW X5 vs Porsche Cayenne vs Volvo XC90

The plug-in versions of the XC90, Cayenne and X5 all average more than 80mpg in official tests, but which is the best hybrid SUV?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Volvo XC90 front

What will they cost?

These plug-in hybrids will be most popular among company car drivers, and with that in mind the Volvo XC90 looks great value because it’ll cost roughly half the amount of its rivals in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax: Β£141 compared with Β£283 for the BMW X5 and Β£310 for the Porsche Cayenne, assuming you’re a 40% rate payer.

However, the XC90 is the most expensive to lease at Β£773 per month. The Cayenne costs Β£737 and the X5 Β£615, while the XC90 is also predicted to depreciate more quickly than its German rivals.

Running costs are extremely low when running on electric power in all three cars, but fuel bills rocket when the petrol engines kick in. Our real-world economy figures were taken after the electric range had run out (Volvo claims this happens after around 27 miles, compared with 22 for the Porsche and 20 for the BMW), at which point none of our trio average more than 29.0mpg.

The X5 is the cheapest to buy on finance. Put down a Β£5000 deposit on a three-year PCP deal and you’ll pay Β£899 a month, compared with Β£946 for the Cayenne and Β£949 for the XC90.

All three cars have powered tailgates, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, cruise and climate control and leather (or man-made leatherette in the case of the Cayenne) upholstery. However, the XC90 also has adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof and keyless start as standard, all of which adds up to around Β£3000 on the German cars. At least BMW counters with free metallic paint and heated seats, leaving the Porsche looking decidedly stingy.

The Cayenne also trails its rivals for active safety provision. Both the XC90 and X5 come with automatic emergency braking, speed limit-sign recognition and lane-departure warning as standard; AEB isn’t even an option on the Cayenne. Porsche also came a woeful 36th out of 37 manufacturers in our most recent reliability survey, while BMW came 28th and Volvo 25th. All come with three-year warranties, although the XC90’s runs out after 60,000 miles while the others offer unlimited mileage.

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