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New Range Rover Evoque vs used BMW X5: driving

If you're shopping for a new premium SUV, the Range Rover Evoque is a great choice. But would you be better off buying a used example of a much larger BMW X5 for the same money?...

BMW X5 2015 front

New Range Rover Evoque vs used BMW X5 – driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Land Rover has just upgraded the 2.0-litre diesel engine in the Evoque, so it now produces an extra 24bhp. It's so new, in fact, that we're yet to try it, but even its predecessor had a good slug of mid-range grunt, which allowed you to make pretty effortless progress.

The 3.0-litre diesel that you get with the X5 is still a lot gutsier, though. And while the old D180 version of the Evoque's four-cylinder engine was from uncultured, we'd be amazed if Land Rover has managed to make it as smooth under acceleration as the X5's six-cylinder unit.

Where the Evoque does have the refinement advantage is on the motorway. It's better at shutting out wind noise, probably helped by its more aerodynamic shape, plus its narrower tyres generate less road noise. In fact, the X5's tyres are so wide that you could use them to roller a cricket pitch.

Range Rover Evoque 2019 sideBMW X5 2015 side

All that rubber doesn't come cheap; you're looking at least £200 each should the front tyres need replacing, and as much as £400 a corner at the back. But the up side is that the X5 has enormous reserves of grip. This is combined with minimal body lean in corners, so the X5 changes direction more eagerly than the Evoque, despite being the bigger, heavier car.

What it doesn't do is ride better. BMW has fitted firm suspension to achieve that control, so you're aware of every imperfection in the road surface. By contrast, the Evoque manages to be good at absorbing bumps without feeling floaty over undulations. Just bear mind that it's at its best on 17in or 18in wheels; upgrading to 20s makes it a little fidgety.

New Range Rover Evoque vs used BMW X5 – costs

Fuel economy, car tax, reliability

Drawing a direct comparison between the Evoque and X5 in terms of fuel consumption is a little tricky because the X5 was rated using the old NEDC test, while the Evoque has a more realistic WLTP figure.

Past tests of the D180 Evoque yielded a disappointing low-30s average in the real world, which is not too dissimilar to what we achieved in the X5. But the new D200 engine features some mild hybrid trickery to boost efficiency, so it can hopefully get closer to the 43.4mpg it's rated to do.

Range Rover Evoque 2019 rear studioBMW X5 2015 rear studio

Road tax will also be a fair bit cheaper in the Evoque if you avoid the temptation of the options list and stick with the free Fuji White paint seen in our pictures. That's because it just skirts under the £40,000 luxury car tax threshold once you've subtracted the £870 first-year tax payment from its £40,630 on-the-road price. This will keep your annual payments to just £150. The X5 breached the £40k barrier, so you'll have to pay a surcharge of £325 a year, making a grand total of £475. At least this ends once the car is more than six years old.

Our New Car Buying service can get the price of an Evoque down to £38,545, while a 2018 BMW X5 xDrive30d M Sport with below-average mileage at a main dealer is £36,000 and the two are likely to be worth a similar amount in three years' time.

Because it's new, though, the Evoque comes with a three-year, unlimited-mileage manufacturer's warranty. The warranty for the BMW is also unlimited mileage, but at two years old there will be only a year left and then you'll have to extend it, at a cost of £2500 per year, if you want comprehensive cover with full roadside assistance. Cheaper cover is available, but the trade-off is less protection. Alternatively, buy your X5 through the BMW approved used scheme and you'll get an extra 12 months included for free, but again the level of cover won't be quite as good as the comprehensive policy.

Neither car performed particularly well in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, but the X5 had the edge, achieving an 89.9% rating compared with the Evoque's 88.7%.