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Used test: BMW X5 vs Land Rover Discovery vs Volvo XC90 costs

These practical and luxurious SUVs can now be bought used for around £20k, but which should you choose?...

Used BMW X5 front corner

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Out of the trio, the Land Rover Discovery has suffered the most deprecation, going from the priciest SUV here when new – by a small margin – to the cheapest. In other words, it's fallen from £47,500 to £20,000. The BMW X5 has dropped from £47,460 to £22,000, while the Volvo XC90 has held the most value, dropping from £45,750 to £22,000. It's still a good used deal, though. 

Unsurprisingly, the bigger engine in the Discovery provided a disappointing 26.7mpg real-world fuel economy figure in our hands, while the four-cylinder XC90 and X5 both managed to get up into 30mpg territory. Officially, the X5 averages 48.7mpg, the Discovery 36.7mpg and the XC90 49.6mpg.

Used Land Rover Discovery front corner

The Discovery also has by far the highest CO2 emissions and will therefore cost you the most in yearly road tax, at £360. The X5 is much better at £220, but it’s the XC90 that comes out on top, setting you back £180.

To insure, the XC90 should be – yet again – the most affordable car here. It sits in insurance group 33, meaning it'll cost you around £865. The X5, being in group 38, is more expensive at £969, while the Discovery sits in 43, pushing the cost to £1054. In terms of servicing, a two-service plan for the X5 will cost around £1080 and the Discovery £1249. You can buy a Volvo service plan – comprised of three services – for £699. 

Your outlay gets you plenty of standard luxuries, whichever of these SUVs you plump for. All three come with climate control, leather seats and cruise control. BMW and Volvo fitted an electric tailgate and myriad safety aids, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, speed limit sign recognition and lane departure warning. These safety systems weren’t available on the Discovery.

Volvo XC90 front three quarters

High-powered xenon headlights are standard on the X5 and Discovery, while the XC90 gets even brighter LED units. However, it’s a little disappointing that front and rear parking sensors and heated front seats weren’t standard on the XC90; the X5 and Discovery came with all of these items.

In our latest What Car? Reliability Survey, the X5 and XC90 featured in the luxury SUV class, but the Discovery was absent. The X5 ranked third out of eight cars, while the XC90 came fourth. As brands, BMW came 13th out of 30 manufacturers, Volvo 19th and Land Rover a disappointing 29th.