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2012 Compact Luxury SUVs

Head-to-head tests of compact luxury SUVs

BMW X3 outpoints Land Rover Range Rover Evoque while new Prius V hatchback provides excellent efficiency and utility

The 2012 BMW X3, which originated the compact luxury SUV market, handily outpointed its European rival, the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, in a head-to-head matchup by Consumer Reports.

While the X3 scored an 80 in CR's road test, the Evoque received a Road Test score of 60, scoring near the bottom of its category. The X3 is one of the few SUVs that feels sporty to drive, and a new eight-speed automatic transmission helps bring its fuel economy to a respectable 22 mpg overall on premium fuel.

With its unique styling, the new Evoque turns heads, but it has many shortcomings, including a cramped cabin, stiff ride, artificial-feeling steering, and troubling emergency handling.

The new 2012 Prius V received an Excellent road test score. No other vehicle comes close to its blend of versatility and fuel economy. This wagon version of the Prius hatchback has a big cargo area and roomy rear seat yet still returns 41 mpg overall.

The X3 does an impressive job of combining sporty handling, a lavish interior, and surprising fuel economy, said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT. Although the stylish Evoque has won lots of accolades in the press, including North American Truck of the Year, our more thorough testing reveals quite a few flaws.

CR also tested three other vehicles in the magazine's March issue: The 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan, which got some updates for 2012 and scored a Very Good test score; the 2012 Toyota Prius V, a family-friendly wagon version of the Prius; and the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. Despite some recent improvements, the iconic off-roader remains CR's lowest ranked vehicle with a Road Test score of 20.

The BMW X3 was redesigned for 2011 while the Land Rover Evoque is new for 2012. The Volkswagen Tiguan competes in this class but at a lower price; it was updated for 2012. The iconic Jeep Wrangler got a new modern drivetrain for 2012. Despite a familiar name, the Prius V is a new model for 2012.

Posted Mar. 19, 2012. ©



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