As vehicle shoppers continue to move away from cars, utility vehicles have risen to the top of many shopping lists. The BMW X3 is one such model, based on the same architecture as the much-heralded 3 Series sedan and 4 Series coupe. With generous utility space and no sacrifice to performance, the BMW X3 is an ideal choice for a compact luxury crossover.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2017 BMW X3 is a four-door crossover with a rear liftgate. Rear-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.

Introduced in 2004, the current model is now in its second generation and just two years removed from a major facelift. An all-new model is expected to launch next year.

Two turbocharged gasoline engines are offered with the 2017 X3. The standard 2-liter four-cylinder turbo makes 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 2-liter achieves 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Also available is a 3-liter six-cylinder with 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is mandatory with this engine. Models so equipped are rated at 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.

Pricing for the X3’s trims is as follows:

The standard X3 sDrive28i costs $39,250. If you prefer all-wheel drive, you have your choice of X3 xDrive28i ($41,250) or X3 xDrive35i ($47,950) models to consider.

Upgrades include choosing MSport or xLine trims. The MSport ($2,600 or $2,700) includes an M aerodynamic kit, a satin aluminum kidney grille, 19-inch M Sport double spoke wheels, and upgrades to the steering wheel and sport seats. The xLine ($1,500) restricts those changes to the wheels, front fascia, window surround, roof rails, and the steering wheel.

Options include cold weather, dynamic handling, technology, lighting, and driver assistance packages.

The cold weather package ($950) brings in heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and retractable headlight washers. The dynamic handling package ($1,400) includes damper and performance control, and variable sport steering. The technology package adds a navigation system, head-up display, remote services, and additional apps and instrument panel contents.

Choose the lighting package ($1,900) and your X3 receives adaptive full LED lights and automatic high beams. A pair of driver assistance packages ($950 and $1,700) bring in such upgrades as a rearview camera, park distance control, and active blind spot detection. Individual upgrades include a navigation system, heated front seats, and rear manual side window shades.

Package prices may vary according to trim and are subject to change. Vehicle prices do not reflect a $995 destination charge.

Performance Pros

While the standard engine gets the job done, the powerful turbocharged V6 is the performance maven. If you’re a 3 Series owner transitioning to an SUV, you’ll feel right at home with the xDrive35i.

Performance Cons

Our reviewers found the start-stop system is more noticeable than it needs to be. Unlike some systems, the BMW start-stop lacks the smoothness routinely found elsewhere.

Interior Pros

Although not especially lavish, our reviewers said the X3’s fit and finish is beyond reproach, making use of soft touch materials to create a refined and quiet environment.

The X3 makes very good use of interior space. Not only can it hold five individuals, but this SUV offers a generous 27.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

Interior Cons

Various package upgrades can quickly drive up your price. Convenience items such as wireless charging and WiFi hotspot are a $400 upgrade.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Besides offering a roomy cargo area, what BMW has done with that space is noteworthy. Our reviewers found the automaker paid close attention to detail by providing a carpeted cargo area along with metal cargo rails and refined seat back latches.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Apple CarPlay compatibility comes at a price. Now found in more models than ever before, including mainstream vehicles, CarPlay compatibility is a $300 upgrade. As for Android Auto compatibility, it isn’t available at any price.

The Bottom Line

You can’t go wrong when choosing any one of BMW’s five “X” series models. BMW entered the segment early, established benchmarks in design and quality, and has consistently maintained an edge, including in the X3. Basing the X3 on a rear-wheel drive platform provides handling characteristics some competing models do not offer. That said, we think an all-wheel drive BMW X3 has the widest appeal, especially for consumers residing in the snowbelt.