If you have always liked the idea of driving an SUV, but been scared away by the purchase price or running costs, now could be the perfect time to get over your fears and collect the car you’ve always dreamed of.
For one thing, advances in engine technology mean that they are no longer the gas-guzzling behemoths they once were, destroying your bank balance as rapidly as the planet with their unquenchable thirst. These days, the modern, efficient and cleaner diesel engines are capable of at least 50mpg, something that would have seemed impossible a decade ago.
But it is not just the running costs that are reduced. These are expensive motor cars, yet shop around and you can lease an Evoque or a BMW X3 for less money than you believed possible. Of course, there are other benefits to a lease deal beyond financial convenience. Choose the right package, and you can have all your servicing costs taken care of, too.
With the finances all under control, that only leaves one question to be answered – which of these iconic SUVs will you choose to park on your driveway? Let’s put them side by side and take a look.
The Evoque arrived to enormous fanfare in 2011, with one journalist memorably describing its looks as a combination of Imperial Stormtrooper and Exocet missile. Six years on, it remains one of the most distinctive and striking crossovers on the market. The recent facelift incorporates LED headlamps and a revised air intake, which make it look as special as ever.
The X3 is all BMW, and has the distinctive good looks you would expect from the marque, but is less dramatic than the Evoque, and looks like a scaled down version of the X5, which is exactly what it is.
BMW offer three diesel variants, at 2.0 litre, 3.0 litre and 3.5 litre. The first is by far the most popular, offering a great blend of power and economy, with a 0-62 time of 9.5 seconds, and 52 mpg.
Moving across to the Evoque, we again have three choices, two diesels and a petrol. Again, the most popular is the TD4 2.0 litre diesel, offering almost identical performance figures.
Both cars have an upmarket feel, which is no less than you would expect. The latest versions also come equipped with impressive infotainment systems to keep you informed and entertained on the move. Jump from one to the other, and you will probably feel that the BMW slightly edges it on luxury, but it is a close-run thing.
So let’s hit the road. Anyone who has driven Land Rovers in the past will be amazed at how nimble the Evoque feels – it really is like being behind the wheel of a hatchback, just sitting higher up. The X3 drives well, but does not have the same feeling of stability.
Some people actually use their SUVs off road, and if this is on your agenda, there is only one choice. Land Rover have been doing this for the past 70 years, and the Evoque has all the off roading technology you will need.