20 June 2009

X3 vs Q5 vs XC60 vs Freelander

For the May 2009 issue, NZ Autocar put these Euro SUVs head to head to find the best. This is how they ranked them:

Fourth: The biggest selling of them, the BMW X3 came dead last, easily. It was considered, too expensive, too small and ugly. Why would the X3 be so popular then? People buy a badge. They get ripped off but hey, a fool and his money is soon parted.

Third: The rest were closer but the Audi Q5 earned this spot. It was deemed as a good looker but what let it down was its steering and ride.

Second: Then came the Volvo XC60. The testers liked its interior very much but a poor engine was the main gripe.

First: The Land Rover Freelander (LR2) was first and unequivocally so. It was considered a great all round vehicle, with its powertrain, steering and ride all good and thus winning the contest. It was also the only one that could really go off road.

A fair result as German vehicles are totally overrated by just about everyone, it seems bar me, and those who know better. Volvo is working hard to succeed but suffers from not having a logo of Germanic origin. Likewise the Freelander. The Land Rover is very good value in NZ, easily undercutting the Euro competition on price, while also outperforming them to boot.


  1. This brief little assessment is truly bias against German engineering in particular and completely without any merit stating any specifics. I happen to be an ex owner of an Audi A4 and current (2nd time) owner of an X3 & 330i with some Volvo experience.
    So to say that X3 came DEAD last is absolutely a joke. Although LR2 was created 1st as a small SUV and imported to N. America, it never gained the reputation of the LAND ROVER badge and from my humble opinion looks like an “upscale” Ford Explorer (and that’s some “fugly” piece of crap) plus anyone that I new who had one had lots of problems with it. Plus, currently LR & Volvo has very poor reliability rating in the USA by JD-Power – although I don’t agree with many of their opinions, there must be some evidence to support that claim.

    Anyway the only thing I can agree on that BMW in general are more expensive in comparison on paper! (at least in USA)...but when you drive one for a little more than a test-drive 90% of folks do justify the price. Keep in mind that BMW is the only company that operates all on-its-own!!! THEY ARE THE LEADERS! ….LR sold by Ford to Tata (India), Volvo (also getting sold by Ford to “at this point” Geely (China) and Audi Q5? …well, is finally here …so sure it looks great, but just wait till the (I feel delayed) NEW X3 comes out! …the Q5 will just look like a “puffed-up” VW.

    And the prices are all around ~$42K USD, so that’s not much to dispute about, other than that BMW “nickel & dime” you on all the options, so they do end-up bit more $$$ …and I really hate them for that and only for that. Anyway, the X3 even though now in its 7th year of production! still has the most sporty and responsive handling of the bunch hands down!, and that’s not just my OPINION period!

    And finally what happened to all the Japanese contenders in this category?...well there’s the Acura (Honda) RDX, and Infinity (Nissan) EX35 …for the most part I guess, since Lexus RX is a little bigger.

  2. Hello Voytek. The article is a New Zealand Car magazine assessment. Prices in NZ will vary from other countries and pricing was a consideration in the article. The Japanese brands you mentioned are not sold in NZ.
    I think German made vehicles at the premium level are over priced, ugly or bland in styling and undesirable.
    Of course, everyone will have thier own opinion. Journalists rarely agree even. It all comes down to personal taste. If you buy something and are happy with it, that is good.