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

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 T5 going over hill

Our verdict

Why, you might ask, does the X3, with its sharp driving dynamics, impressive refinement and class-leading infotainment system, finish in a distant last place? Well, it’s a very good car, but it’s not a particularly good PHEV. Not only has boot space been badly compromised by the placement of the battery, but it also can’t go far enough on electricity to qualify for attractive BIK r ates, and it isn’t particularly frugal once the battery is flat.

The latter problem also afflicts the XC60, but it has the longest real-world electric range of the trio. It’s also effortlessly fast, it has a beautifully plush interior and it’s packed with kit.

The NX remains the best all-round package, though. Not only does it massively undercut its rivals on costs, but it’s also the most efficient, it has the plushest ride and it’s the least compromised by the need to fit in those two hearts. Throw in the promise of exceptional reliability and it has very few real weaknesses.

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1st – Lexus NX

Lexus NX front cornering

For Cheapest to buy and run; plushest ride; most frugal when the battery is depleted; lowest company car tax cost
Against Least versatile folding rear seat arrangement; lowest driving position
Recommended options Lexus Link Pro Pack (£950)

What Car? rating 5 stars out of 5

Read out full Lexus NX review >>

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2nd – Volvo XC60

New Volvo XC60 front cornering

For Most luxurious interior; best equipped; longest electric range
Against Sloppiest handling; clunky infotainment; loses its value quickest
Recommended options None

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Read out full Volvo XC60 review >>

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3rd – BMW X3

New BMW X3 front cornering

For Agile handling; best infotainment system; quietest at cruising speeds
Against Unsettled high-speed ride; shortest electric range; priciest company car
Recommended options Reclining rear seats (£890)

What Car? rating 3 stars out of 5

Read out full BMW X3 review >>

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Specifications: BMW X3 xDrive 30e M Sport (Tech Pack)

New BMW X3 badge

Engine 4cyl, 1988cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
Peak power 288bhp (combined)
Peak torque 310Ib ft (combined) 
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
0-60mph 6.3sec
30-70mph 6.0sec
Top speed 131mph 
30-0mph 10.4m
70-0mph 56.2m
Noise at 30mph 58.4db
Noise at 70mph 64.9db
Kerb weight 2065kg
Tyre size (std) 245/50 R19 
Fuel tank 50 litres
CO2 emissions 47g/km
Battery capacity 12.0kWh
Peak charging rate 3.7kW
Charging time 3hr 45min (0-100%)

Specifications: Volvo XC60 Recharge T6 AWD Plus

New Volvo XC60 badge

Engine 4cyl, 1969cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
Peak power 345bhp (combined)
Peak torque 258Ib ft (petrol engine), 228lb ft (electric motor) 
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
0-60mph 5.3sec
30-70mph 4.7sec
Top speed 112mph 
30-0mph 10.5m
70-0mph 55.9m
Noise at 30mph 59.9db
Noise at 70mph 65.3db
Kerb weight 2156kg
Tyre size (std) 235/55 R19 
Fuel tank 71 litres
CO2 emissions 24g/km
Battery capacity 18.8kWh
Peak charging rate 3.7kW
Charging time 5hr (0-100%)

Specifications: Lexus NX 450h+ Premium Pack

Lexus NX badge

Engine 4cyl, 2487cc, petrol, plus electric motor
Peak power 305bhp (combined)
Peak torque 167Ib ft (petrol engine), 199lb ft (front electric motor), 89lb ft (rear electric motor) 
Gearbox CVT automatic
0-60mph 6.5sec
30-70mph 5.4sec
Top speed 124mph 
30-0mph 12.0m
70-0mph 62.6m
Noise at 30mph 59.8db
Noise at 70mph 65.3db
Kerb weight 2050kg
Tyre size (std) 235/60 R18 
Fuel tank 55 litres
CO2 emissions 22g/km
Battery capacity 18.1kWh
Peak charging rate 6.6kW
Charging time 2hr 30min (0-100%)

Test weather conditions Damp

Cars pictured

BMW X3 xDrive30e M Sport with Phytonic Blue paint (£695) and panoramic glass sunroof (£1190)

Lexus NX 450h+ Premium Plus Pack with Terrane Khaki paint (£670)

Volvo XC60 Recharge T6 AWD Plus with Denim Blue paint (£685) and 20in five-spoke alloy wheels

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