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Used test: BMW X2 vs Volvo XC40
You can save around £10,000 on either of these prestige family SUVs by buying used, but which should you choose? We have the answer...
BMW X2 xDrive20d M Sport
List price when new £37,530
Price today £25,500*
Available from 2018-present
Based on the X1 but sacrifices some of its practicality at the altar of style
Volvo XC40 D4 R-Design Pro
List price when new £36,870
Price today £27,000*
Available from 2018-present
Our former Car of the Year is practical, plush, safe and good to drive
*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing
Whether it’s to fill a niche or satisfy a desire, it seems you can have your SUV in nearly any flavour these days.
If, for example, you’re not completely happy with the rugged appeal of the BMW X1, you could instead opt for the X2, a car that at first sight seems to be the result of a midnight liaison between an SUV and a coupé. Yes, there’s the swooping roofline of a coupé, but it’s also attached to a (fairly) high-rise SUV body.
Here, we’re pitching it against the Volvo XC40. True, it doesn't have a swooping roofline or look particularly sporty, but it still manages to be eye-catching in a hip-to-be-square sort of way.
Bought at two years old, as we’re testing them here, both of these family SUVs offer a decent saving on the price of an equivalent new one. But which of these two best mixes style with substance? Read on to find out...
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
At first glance, you’d think there would be very little to separate our two protagonists for performance. After all, they both have 2.0-litre diesel engines with similar muscle, they both send drive to all four wheels via an automatic gearbox and they’re both about the same size.
But the X2 is lighter and therefore quicker. It can sprint from 0-60mph in a hot hatch-rivalling 7.6sec, while the XC40 manages the dash in a still-respectable 8.4sec. That same order is repeated in rolling acceleration tests (30-70mph), with the XC40 being not too far behind the X2.
The XC40 can be a bit dithery when you initially push the accelerator pedal, while the X2 responds much more quickly and really thumps up through the gears in Sport mode. The X2’s gearbox is the smoothest in more relaxed driving, too, even though the XC40 slurs pleasingly between ratios.
In corners, the X2 is more impressive than the XC40. Its steering weights up nicely at all speeds, so it’s easy to place the car’s nose precisely. Pitch it into a corner with gusto and there’s a small amount of body lean before it settles and sails around with ease. Indeed, the way the X2’s front end hangs onto your line through corners genuinely puts a smile on your face; it’s more akin to a sporty hatchback than a family SUV. That said, it is a good few inches lower than the XC40, giving it a big advantage.
The XC40 handles nicely, though. It’s very grippy, too, but it isn’t much fun to drive briskly, due in part to its light steering, which gives little sense of connection to the front wheels. Still, it’s safe and secure, with no nasty vices.
The X2 doesn’t ride very well, though. Even if you find a used car fitted with the optional-from-new switchable dampers set to their most comfortable setting, it crashes over imperfections on urban roads. At least things improve at higher speeds, although the ride remains firm.
As for the XC40, it’s much more comfortable, aside from a tendency to sway from side to side, absorbing bumps and potholes well – a remarkable achievement, given that it comes on big 20in wheels as standard.
The penalty for those big rims is a fair bit of road noise at 70mph, although the XC40 is the quieter of the two at 30mph. In fact, the X2 is the noisiest at all speeds, with constant tyre roar over all road surfaces.
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