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Used car of the week: BMW X3

If you want an SUV that’s roomy enough to keep the whole family happy, yet has car-like handling and roadholding, the BMW X3 may fit the bill

Words ByClaire Evans

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BMW X3

The previous generation BMW X3 is as spacious inside as the larger X5 and it has exceptional driving manners for a 4x4.

And, when it comes to boot space, the X3 actually beats rivals, such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and other larger SUVs.

Its only obvious shortcoming is that its interior doesn’t match the premium finish of those of rivals. That said, the post-2006 facelifted cars to have better quality interior trim.

The X3 is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines that are powerful enough to exploit its handling, but also relatively economical.

One word of warning, though, the X3 has a firm ride, so we’d avoid Sport and M Sport models for the sake of comfort.

If you want a BMW X3, but can't afford a brand new one, it's worth considering the previous generation model. Read on to find out how much you should pay for a used BMW X3 and which model to choose.

What budget do I need?

The previous generation BMW X3 was on sale from 2004 to 2011, so there are plenty of examples to choose from. Although you can get one of the earliest cars for less than Β£3000, it’s best to spend at least Β£7000 to get a 2.0d SE with 70,000 miles and full service history.

If you can stretch to Β£8000, you should be able to get a facelifted model, or push the boat out another Β£2000-Β£3000 and you should be able to get a 2010 or 2011 2.0d from a main dealer.

If you’re after a sporty model, such as the M Sport, expect to spend at least Β£7000 for a 3.0d with 60,000 miles.

What version should I go for?

Post-2006 facelifted X3s have better interior trim and more efficient engines, so we’d recommend one of these. While the 2.0d would seem a sensible choice, we think the 3.0d is a better bet because it has similar running costs and is likely to be better equipped.

Talking of trim, all models come with aircon, an alarm, central locking and electric windows, but we’d choose an SE at least in order to get parking sensors and cruise control.

If you’re going for a Sport model make sure you can live with the firmer ride before you buy.

Any problems to be aware of?

Early 2.0d cars have suffered with engine problems and timing chain failure which can be expensive to rectify.

Turbocharger issues have also been reported, and it’s important to note that post-2006 cars with diesel particulate filters could suffer with blocked filters if they’ve spent all their time doing low speed, short urban drives.

What next?

Read our used BMW X3 review, or click here to read our new BMW X3 review.

Want to buy a BMW X3? Click here to buy a new car with What Car?

Watch our video review of the BMW X3

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Nissan X-Trail


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