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

These used SUVs are all practical, luxurious and available for around half what they cost new. But which is the best buy?...

Volvo XC90 vs BMW X5 vs Land Rover Discovery

Our verdict

All things considered, the XC90 is the most successful blend of luxurious SUV and practical family car here. It’s not quite as brilliant to drive or as refined as you might hope, but its high-quality, spacious and cleverly thought out interior makes amends. It’s more expensive to buy than the other two, but it should be cheaper to run in the long term, and it comes brimmed with standard safety kit to help keep you and your loved ones of harm’s way. Put simply, if you’re planning to spend up to £25k on a seven-seat SUV, the XC90 is your best bet.

The X5 isn’t far behind, though. It’s more comfortable and generally more enjoyable to drive than its Swedish rival, and it’s a quieter cruiser, with less road and suspension noise. However, the X5 is the least accommodating seven-seater here. It’s perfectly adequate if your needs extend to collecting a gaggle of 12-year-olds from football practice once a week, but not if you regularly need to ferry around seven people.

Considering the age of the Discovery, it puts up a surprisingly good fight. It’s easily the most spacious of our trio and is relaxing and pleasant enough to drive if you do most of your miles on big A-roads and motorways. It’s also by far the most capable off road. Unfortunately, it’s hugely expensive to run, lacks some important modern safety features, has the least intuitive infotainment system and isn’t as well equipped as its rivals, which is why it must come last.

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1st – Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 front three quarters

For Classy interior with user-friendly seats; refined and punchy diesel engine; lots of standard kit
Against Unsettled ride, road and suspension noise
Verdict As good as it gets for this money

What Car? rating Five out of five stars

Read our full used Volvo XC90 review >>

Buy a used Volvo XC90 >>

2nd – BMW X5

Used BMW X5 front corner

For Great to drive, brilliant infotainment system, plenty of kit; most reliable
Against Cramped third row
Verdict The best to drive, but not the best all-rounder

What Car? rating Four out of five

Read the full used BMW X5 review >>

Buy a used BMW X5 >>

3rd – Land Rover Discovery

Used Land Rover Discovery front corner

For Massively spacious interior, incredible off-road ability
Against Thirsty, short on safety kit, most unwieldy to drive; least reliable
Verdict Outclassed, but not embarrassed

What Car? rating Three out of five

Read our full used Land Rover Discovery review >>

Buy a used Land Rover Discovery >>

BMW X5 xDrive25d SE 7 seater

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
List price when new £47,460
Price today £19,935*
Power 215bhp @ 4400rpm
Torque 332lb ft @ 1500-2500rpm
0-60mph 8.3sec
Top speed 137mph
Fuel economy 48.7mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2 emissions 154g/km

Land Rover Discovery 3.0 SDV6 SE Tech

Engine size 3.0-litre diesel
List price when new £47,500
Price today £22,943*
Power 252bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque 443lb ft @ 2000rpm
0-60mph 8.8sec
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 36.7mpg (NEDC Combined)
CO2 emissions 203g/km

Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
List price when new £45,750
Price today £23,453*
Power 222bhp @ 4250rpm
Torque 347lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm
0-60mph 8.2sec
Top speed 137mph
Fuel economy 49.6mpg (NEDC Combined)
CO2 emissions 149g/km

*Price today is based on a 2015 model with average mileage and full service history according to the What Car? Valuation service, correct at time of writing

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