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Used test: BMW X1 vs Cupra Formentor vs Volvo XC40 costs

These plug-in hybrid SUVs keep running costs low and, as two-year-old used buys, buying costs reasonable. Which is best? We have the answer...

BMW X1 xDrive25e 2021 side

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

You'll see the largest discount off new with the BMW X1 because it's dropped from £40,480 to around £31,000 over two years. The Cupra Formentor isn't far behind, going from £40,280 to around £33,000. The Volvo XC40 has gone from £39,445 to around £35,000, meaning you'll save the least amount off new, and making it the most expensive car here to buy. On the other hand, it does suggest good resale values for the future. 

Out of our trio, the Formentor has the highest official combined fuel economy figure – 188.3mpg. The X1 comes in at 156.9mpg, while the XC40's number is 134.5mpg. Do keep in mind that these figures will be difficult to achieve in real-world conditions, and you'll need to make sure you keep the battery charged up to get anywhere near them.

Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid 245 2021 side

More points go to the Formentor when we talk about insurance. It occupies the lowest insurance group of the three cars, group 26, meaning it will attract a fee of around £719. The XC40 is next up in group 28, and should cost around £765. The X1 is significantly pricier being in group 41, and will set you back around £1015. 

For two services of the X1 through BMW, we were quoted £720. For a single service of the Formentor, you can buy a Cupra plan costing £295. You can buy a single-service Volvo plan for the XC40 for £350.

Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 2021 side

All three rivals have leather or part-leather seats, climate control with a zone for each front passenger, an electric tailgate and power-folding door mirrors, but the Formentor – the best-equipped car here – also comes with keyless entry, electric front seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and climate control for the rear seats. The X1 and Formentor add heated front seats.

All three cars should come with a cable that can be plugged into a domestic three-pin socket, plus a Type 2 cable for faster charging using a home wall box. However, the peak charging rate in all of them is limited to around 3.7kW, meaning a full charge will take between three and three and a half hours.

The Formentor scored strongly in the tough new Euro NCAP safety tests that were introduced last year, while the XC40 also rated highly in 2018’s less stringent tests. The X1’s results from back in 2015 are largely irrelevant now, because of the test's updates.

BMW X1 2021 interior details

In our latest What Car? Reliability Survey, only one of our contenders was represented specifically in hybrid car form, that being the Volvo XC40. It came 12th out of 39 family SUVs – a good result. The petrol BMW X1 managed an impressive fourth place finish, while the Cupra Formentor proved too new to feature in the survey. 

As brands, BMW and Volvo placed 16th and 17th respectively out of 32 manufacturers. Again, Cupra didn't feature.