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8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 9.0
Interior: 8.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.1
Safety: 9.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 BMW X3 Review

The 2016 BMW X3 combines excellent performance with a quality interior. It also receives high safety scores and a good reliability rating. 

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Agile handling
  • High fuel economy
  • Spacious, upscale cabin
  • Rough engine start/stop system

2016 BMW X3 Overview

Is the 2016 BMW X3 a Good Used SUV?

The 2016 BMW X3 is a great pick for those shopping for a used luxury compact SUV. The X3 rewards drivers with athletic handling and powerful engine options, making it one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in this class. It’s also practical, offering roomy seating and cargo space, user-friendly features, and high fuel economy ratings. Factor in great safety scores, a long list of available safety features, and strong reliability ratings – and there’s a lot to like about the X3.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 44 BMW X3 reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 BMW X3?

You can expect to pay between $25,000 and $40,500 for a used 2016 X3. These figures are based on approximately 200 listings for the 2016 BMW X3 on our site. The average price is $32,300. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 BMW X3 Cost to Own?

The X3’s five-year cost for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance is projected to be $29,700,  or about $5,900 per year. That’s slightly above-average for the luxury compact SUV class. By comparison, the Lexus NX and Lincoln MKC have some of the lowest five-year costs in this class (around $24,700 and $23,900, respectively).

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New X3?

The 2018 BMW X3 is fully redesigned and starts at $41,000. A used X3 can save you a lot of money, especially if you want a base model with few options. However, you won’t miss out on too many features by sticking with a used model. Changes for 2018 include an updated version of the iDrive infotainment system, refreshed styling inside and out, a high-performance M40i model, and convenience features like ventilated seats. If you want a brand new SUV, the 2018 X3 is surely a fine option. However, its updates just feel incremental rather than evolutionary.

Read about the new BMW X3 »

On the other hand, a new luxury SUV doesn’t have to break the budget. Consider the 2018 BMW X1, which starts at $33,900. The X1 is only slightly smaller than the X3. It still provides zippy engine performance, athletic handling, comparable interior space, and a similarly long list of advanced safety features.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 BMW X3?

The X3 has a good reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about X3 reliability »

2016 BMW X3 Recalls

At the time of this writing, there is one safety recall for the 2016 X3. The SUV’s child seat anchors could weaken over time with use, increasing the risk of injury to a child in a crash. Before buying a used X3, make sure this recall has been addressed.

See more information on BMW X3 safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the BMW X3 Is Best?

The 2016 X3 is part of a generation that spans the 2011 to 2017 model years. There were no major changes for 2016 or 2017. That means you can save money by shopping for a 2015 X3 and still find the same features and performance as these later models. The 2011 through 2014 models are also fine options, but these models have different interior and exterior styling. They also aren’t available with a diesel engine, and they have lack some safety features like forward collision warning and blind spot monitoring.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 X3 »

Which Used BMW X3 Model Is Right for Me?

BMW offers the 2016 X3 in four trim levels: sDrive28i, xDrive28i, xDrive28d, and xDrive35i. Essentially, the powertrains define the various trims. The sDrive model has rear-wheel drive, while the xDrive models come with all-wheel drive. The trim’s numbers and letter indicate its engine. The 28i has a turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine. The 28d has a turbodiesel four-cylinder, and the 35i has a turbocharged six-cylinder gas engine.

Regardless of the trim, all models come standard with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a USB port, automatic climate control, leatherette seats, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a power tailgate, fog lights, and alloy wheels. Available features include a navigation system, a head-up display, a panoramic moonroof, leather upholstery, heated seats (front and rear), and a suite of active safety equipment.

See 2016 BMW X3 trims and specs »

Certified Pre-Owned BMW X3 Warranty

The BMW CPO program is available on vehicles with less than 60,000 miles on the odometer. Each CPO BMW receives the balance of the original new-car warranty, plus an additional one- or two-year/unlimited-mile warranty. Each BMW undergoes an inspection before earning CPO status. Other benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the BMW warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether it is eligible for the CPO program.

According to our analysis, BMW has a good CPO program. However, you’ll find more robust programs with Infiniti, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.

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Read more about the BMW certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the X3?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 BMW X3 the highest safety score of Good in all areas tested. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the X3 a perfect five-star rating for all crash tests except one. The X3 earned four stars for rollover safety.

The 2016 BMW X3 is available with a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, parallel park assist, a 360-degree view camera, adaptive pivoting headlights, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and Active Driving Assistant (lane departure warning and forward collision warning with brake assist).

See X3 safety scores »

2016 BMW X3 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 BMW X3 or 2016 Audi Q5?

The BMW X3 is a better overall SUV than the 2016 Audi Q5. Both vehicles boast athletic handling and zesty engine performance, but the Q5 has a lower reliability rating than the BMW and far fewer safety features. The Audi’s infotainment system isn’t as user-friendly as the X3’s, and its ride quality isn’t as forgiving. Stick with the X3.

Which Is Better: 2016 BMW X3 or 2016 Acura RDX?

The 2016 Acura RDX matches the X3 in most categories. The RDX offers generous seating and cargo space, muscular engine performance, and a long list of available safety features. That said, the RDX likely costs less to buy and maintain, and its ride focuses more on comfort than athleticism. Although the RDX features a posh cabin, the X3’s is a little nicer. Ultimately, both are good SUVs. The choice largely comes down to price and personal preference.

Compare the X3, Q5, and RDX »

2016 X3 Performance

How Does the 2016 BMW X3 Drive?

The 2016 X3 comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive (sDrive), though all-wheel drive (xDrive) is available. Three engine options are available: a turbocharged four-cylinder with 240 horsepower (sDrive28i and xDrive28i), a turbocharged six-cylinder with 300 horsepower (xDrive35i), and a turbodiesel four-cylinder with 181 horsepower (xDrive28d).

There isn’t a bad option in this lineup, though we think the BMW X3 xDrive28i fulfills most owners’ needs. All three engines operate quietly and provide brisk acceleration. Each offers more than enough muscle for climbing hills and passing other vehicles as well. The eight-speed automatic deserves some of this credit; it’s smooth and downshifts promptly when you need more power. The only hiccup is the rough engine stop/start system, which saves fuel when stopped in traffic. It can be disabled, however.

The X3’s steering is quick and nicely weighted, and its taut suspension keeps the SUV stable around turns. Strong brakes slow the X3 with confidence. The downside to the X3’s stiffer suspension is that it results in a rather firm ride, though it’s still comfortable. The suspension soaks up smaller road bumps and dips nicely, but rough pavement leaves the X3 feeling jittery.

Does the 2016 BMW X3 Get Good Gas Mileage?

The X3 earns great fuel economy for its class. The BMW X3 sDrive28i and xDrive28i models both return 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The BMW X3 xDrive35i gets 19/26 mpg city/highway, and the diesel-powered X3 xDrive28d gets 27/33 mpg.

Read more about X3 performance »

2016 X3 Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 X3 Seat?

The BMW X3 is a 2-row SUV with five seats. The front seats are comfortable, and they provide generous head- and legroom. Forward, side, and rear visibility is excellent, and the driving position is nice as well. The rear seats are similarly cozy and spacious. Even taller adults can sit in the back comfortably. Leatherette upholstery comes standard, while heated and leather seats are available. The X3’s cabin stays hushed at higher speeds, thanks to its ample sound insulation. The interior materials have a premium look and feel, but overall styling is reserved, in contrast to the showier Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Porsche Macan.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 BMW X3?

The X3 has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. The IIHS evaluated the LATCH system for ease of use, giving it the next-to-lowest score of Marginal due to some of the anchors being hard to access.

2016 BMW X3 Features

All X3 models come standard with a 6.5-inch iDrive infotainment screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, and a satellite radio. Available features include a navigation system with a larger screen, a head-up display, and a Harman Kardon stereo. The iDrive infotainment system employs a rotary dial and buttons located on the center console. The system has a learning curve, but overall it works well and responds quickly to inputs. Additional audio and climate controls are neatly arranged on the dashboard and within easy reach.

See 2016 BMW X3 specs »

Read more about X3 interior »

2016 BMW X3 Dimensions

BMW X3 Cargo Space

The X3 has 27.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats. It has a roomy 63.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, which is great for a luxury compact SUV.

2016 X3 Length and Weight

The BMW X3 is 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from between 4,030 and 4,230 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 BMW X3 Built?

The 2016 X3 was built in South Carolina. The BMW X4, X5, and X6 SUVs are also assembled there.

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