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

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 vs Cupra Formentor vs Volvo XC40 rears

Our verdict

The Cupra Formentor has some compelling strengths here, including being cheaper to run than its rivals and having a strong list of equipment. Unfortunately, the heavy battery blunts the tidy handling you enjoy in pure-petrol versions. Its lack of space also holds it back and helps put it in third place.

If you prioritise performance and handling, the BMW X1 best satisfies, although its firm ride won't be to everyone's liking. For comfort and refinement, plus great interior quality and a practical boot, you'll want the Volvo XC40 – our overall winner. 

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1st – Volvo XC40

Best hybrid small SUV 2022 - Volvo XC40 front

For Comfiest ride; quietest at speed; strong safety score; best interior quality; most practical boot
Against Not much fun to drive; rear visibility could be better; shortest electric range; most expensive company car 

What Car? rating 5 stars out of 5

Used Volvo XC40 (2017-present) review >>

BMW X1 2021 front cornering

For Strong performance; sharp handling; well-finished, practical and user-friendly interior
Against Firm ride; tight rear head room; thirstiest when battery is flat

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Used BMW X1 (2015-2022) review >>

Find a used BMW X1 for sale >>

3rd – Cupra Formentor

Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid 245 2021 front

For Quick; really well equipped; strong safety score; best electric range
Against Very low driving position for an SUV; so-so handling; least rear space; smallest boot

What Car? rating 3 stars out of 5

Used Cupra Formentor (2020-present) review >>

Find a used Cupra Formentor for sale >>

Specifications: BMW X1 xDrive25e M Sport

Engine 3cyl, 1499cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
Power 217bhp (combined)
Torque 162lb ft @ 1500-3800rpm (petrol engine only)
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
0-60mph 6.0sec
Top speed 120mph
Official economy 156.9mpg
CO2 emissions 42g/km

Specifications: Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid 245 VZ2

Engine 4cyl, 1395cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
Power 242bhp (combined)
Torque 184lb ft @ 1550-3500rpm (petrol engine only)
0-60mph 6.1sec
Top speed 130mph
Official economy 188.3mpg
CO2 emissions 33g/km

Specifications: Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 R-Design

Engine 3cyl, 1477cc, turbo, petrol, plus electric motor
Power 127bhp (petrol), 81bhp (electric)
Torque 181lb ft @ 1600-3000rpm (petrol engine only)
0-60mph 7.5sec
Top speed 112mph
Official economy 134.5mpg
CO2 emissions 47g/km