New BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 hybrids vs Lexus NX: costs

Running on a diet of petrol and electricity, these large SUVs all put efficiencyfirst. Time to see which offers the best all-round recipe...

BMW X3 xDrive30e vs Lexus NX 450h+ vs Volvo XC60 Recharge T6

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

If you're a company car driver, you'll benefit from lower tax if you choose these PHEVs over their petrol or diesel equivalents. However, you'll sacrifice a much bigger slice of your salary to run the BMW X3 than for the Lexus NX or Volvo XC60. That's because the percentage of the car's value that you'll pay back as tax depends on its CO2 emissions and official range – and the X3 lags behind in both regards. 

With its official range of just 30 miles, the X3 sits in the 12% benefit-in-kind company car tax bracket, and a 40% taxpayer will pay £230 per month. The NX and XC60 officially manage 40 miles or more, placing them in the 8% bracket. As a result, they'll cost £144 and £161 respectively, the XC60's larger figure being due to its higher list price. Extrapolate those figures over three years and the XC60 will cost you £2045 less than the X3, while the NX has a £2561 advantage. 

New BMW X3 vs new Volvo XC60 vs Lexus NX costs

The NX is also the cheapest option for private buyers. It has the lowest purchase price of the trio, it's the cheapest to service and it's the most frugal when running on an empty battery, returning 38.6mpg on test, compared with the X3's 31.9mpg and the XC60's 30.2mpg. And if you charge the batteries regularly (and do 40-mile journeys on average), the X3 will cost £1142 more on electricity and petrol than the NX and £1301 more than the XC60 over three years. 

Of course, most private buyers are likely to take the PCP finance route, and here again the NX comes out on top, at £796 versus £892 for the X3 and £964 for the XC60. These are all three-year deals, with a £6000 deposit and a limit of 10,000 miles a year. 

The XC60 is exceptionally well equipped, but the NX is hardly spartan, considering its competitive price; it shares such goodies as a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and start, gesture-activated electric tailgate and adaptive cruise control. These are all options on the X3.

BMW X3 xDrive30e vs Lexus NX 450h vs Volvo XC60 Recharge T5 going down hill

As is fairly typical for PHEVs, the peak charging rate of the X3 and XC60 is limited to around 3.7kW, and a full charge will take between four and five hours. The NX, however, can charge up to 6.6kW, so a full charge can take as little as two and a half hours.

Lexus has a fantastic record when it comes to reliability and once again finished top of our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey, well ahead of 16th place BMW and 17th place Volvo. The latest NX wasn't featured, but it's a safe bet that it will prove more reliable than the XC60, which scored average marks for reliability in the large SUV class. It's hard to predict how the X3 will fare; the model finished second in the large SUV category, but the majority of X3 owners polled owned non-hybrid cars. 

As for safety, all three cars were awarded the maximum five stars by independent body Euro NCAP, but it's hard to compare the results directly, because the X3 and XC60 were tested under less stringent test criteria than the NX. 

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