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Used test: BMW X1 vs Volkswagen Tiguan vs Volvo XC40: costs

German family SUVs such as the BMW X1 and Volkswagen Tiguan are great used buys, but can the safe, stylish and Swedish Volvo XC40 beat them?...

BMW X1 engine

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety

The BMW X1 looks to be a veritable bargain at £25,000, compared with the £28,000 you’ll need for a VW Tiguan, or the £30,000 required for a Volvo XC40. Those prices apply to example with the engines and trims on our test cars. When you remove those factors, the X1 starts at around £18,000 (for an excellent example), the Tiguan is around the same and the XC40 costs from around £25,000. 

The faster depreciation of the X1 acts as a double-edged sword, because while it's the cheapest of our three cars to buy now, it's likely to cost you the most money during long-term ownership as it continues to lose value at a steeper rate.

Volkswagen Tiguan steering wheel

You'll also fork out more to insure the X1 because it sits in group 34, which is a far higher group than the XC40 in group 30 and the Tiguan in 21. At least the BMW should have the lowest servicing costs, followed by the Volkswagen then the Volvo. None of these examples cost more than £40,000 new, so all will be charged the flat-rate fee of £155 for yearly road tax. You can find out more about the current road tax costs here.

All three cars come with plenty of standard kit. The key differences are that the X1 is the only one with a powered tailgate and the XC40 has an electric driver’s seat, while the Tiguan has the most luxury goodies when you factor in its standard adaptive cruise control and sunroof.

We would definitely recommend looking out for the Convenience Pack on the XC40; it includes power folding rear head rests and a boot floor that can be hinged up to reveal hooks for hanging shopping bags on.

Volvo XC40 Euro NCAP crash test

Safety experts Euro NCAP awarded the XC40 a maximum score of five stars, matching the X1 and Tiguan. The XC40 is the best at protecting front-seat occupants, while the X1 is better for pedestrian protection because of its active pop-up bonnet. All three get automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard, while the XC40 and Tiguan add traffic-sign recognition and lane-keeping assistance, which were both optional on the X1.

According to the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, the XC40 is the most dependable car of the trio. It finished in eighth out of 28 cars in the family SUV category, while the X1 placed 12th and the Tiguan came 20th.  

BMW as a brand ranked the highest in the manufacturers table, coming 13th out of 30 car makers featured. That's a good result, and is some way above Volvo and Volkswagen in 19th and 20th respectively.