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New Lexus NX vs used BMW X5

We rate both of these SUVs highly – especially as plug-in hybrids. But should you buy a brand new NX 450h+ or a used example of the bigger X5 xDrive45e for the same money?...

New Lexus NX vs used BMW X5 sideview

The contenders

NEW Lexus NX 450h+ Premium Pack (Lexus Link Pro Pack) 

List Price £55,900
Target price £54,387

Our reigning Plug-in Hybrid of the Year is frugal and refined, but is it outmatched here?

USED BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sport

Price new £66,665
Price today £52,000*

This plug-in hybrid X5 has an excellent electric-only range and a smooth six-cylinder engine

*Price today is based on a 2020 model with average mileage and a full service history and is correct at the time of writing

Did you know that the first ever SUV from BMW was the BMW X5? Not the one featured in this test, of course. We're talking about the original that arrived all the way back in the year 2000. Since then, many other 'X' BMWs have followed, yet the X5 has arguably remained the defining model in the line-up. 

That's not to say it hasn't evolved, though, because it certainly has across its four generations. For instance, we now have this plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version, the xDrive45e, which was introduced a few years ago.

Lexus NX front cornering

But since then, another luxurious large SUV has rocked up that's available in a compelling PHEV form: the Lexus NX 450h+, which is cheaper to boot. 

Then again, if you go for a three-year-old X5 xDrive45e it dips just below what a new NX 450h+ will cost you. So, let's find out which SUV is better in a new versus used head-to-head. 


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Neither of these cars underwhelm in a straight line. The NX, with a 305bhp combined power output from its 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, manages a 0-60mph time of 6.5sec (in our hands) – that's rapid enough to satisfy. 

Still, the X5 trumps it, completing the sprint in just 5.1sec. It has a combined power output of 389bhp from its 3.0-litre petrol engine and electric motor. As a result, the X5 feels noticeably punchier, both off the line and at higher speeds. 

BMW X5 45e front cornering - 69-plate car

In addition, the NX has a CVT automatic gearbox and it holds the revs high upon hearty acceleration, making the NX a bit noisy when you try to build speed in a hurry. The X5, with its conventional eight-speed auto 'box, doesn't have this issue, thanks also in part to its smoother engine.

The X5 is also the better cruiser in terms of ride. It smothers bumps and potholes that bit more competently, transferring less vibrations into the interior. 

The NX is more capable in the twisty stuff, mind you, mainly due to its stiffer suspension and slightly smaller size. It feels more agile, even if its steering is a little more vague. Body lean is less pronounced in the NX as well.

In the real world, these cars travel a very similar distance on electric power alone. In our hands, the X5 went 32.5 miles, while the NX managed 33 miles.