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Sometimes you just want to make a statement and not drive what everyone does. While we agree that the BMW X3 SUV does a lot well and it’s BMW best-selling SUV for those reasons, sometimes it’s nice to have something that doesn’t look like every other SUV in the Trader Joe’s lot. Fortunately, there are a lot of SUVs that pack the performance and luxury of the BMW X3, but without the super-familiar kidney bean grille. Here are five alternatives to the X3 that you might not have considered.

Is a BMW X3 worth the money?

a 2023 BMW X3 on a twisty road
2023 BMW X3 | BMW

In many ways the BMW X3 is hard to fault. It’s sporty, it holds a lot of cargo, and it carries the important BMW badge on the grille, if you care about those things. The big update for the X3 was for 2022. The X3 was made a bit bigger all around and the wheelbase was expanded. The big news was the addition of a 48-volt mild hybrid system in the X3 M40i version. The X3 comes in X3 sDrive30i, X3 xDrive30i, and X3 M40i trims, and starts at $45,400.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio has Italian styling

When you’re looking at luxury and premium SUVs, often the badge is what you’re looking for. Not many SUVs stand out like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, with its funky triangle grille and sporty stance. But, underneath this Italian’s sporty skin is a 280-horsepower base engine with top notch handling. Of course, we love the 505-horsepower Quadrifoglio version that outguns even the BMW X3 M40i variant, which has 382 horsepower.

The Stelvio’s exterior dimensions are nearly identical to the X3s, and it holds a similar amount of cargo. Inside it isn’t quite as luxurious but if you want to make a statement the Stelvio will.

The Subaru Outback Touring is stealth luxury

White 2023 Subaru Outback driving up a hill, highlighting its release date and price
2023 Subaru Outback | Subaru

Sure, the Subaru badge won’t raise eyebrows like a BMWs, but sometimes that’s a good thing. The top-level Outback Touring packs much of the luxury of the X3 into a package that you won’t mind getting dirty, and it costs less. It comes with standard all-wheel drive, a large cargo hold, heated seats and steering wheel, and more. If you like the idea of the X3, but don’t want to flaunt the Bimmer badge, the Subaru in luxury Touring trim may be worth a look.

The Acura RDX is tech heavy

Orange Acura RDX Luxury SUV on the road
Acura RDX | Acura

The RDX is known for its sharp handling, and in the small SUV world, not many can match it. It comes well equipped, and its 272-horsepower engine packs more of a punch than the X3’s base motor. The Acura is front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option, as are several trim and sport packages.

The A-Spec version adds some performance and appearance upgrades, while the Advance and Technology add more goodies. The center stack is full of buttons and switches in the Acura that make it feel more like a helicopter gunship when you’re driving it than a grocery getter. However, it only earns average scores from J.D. Power.

Mercedes-Benz GLC is the natural competitor

a while GLC on a mountain road
The new 2023 Mercedes GLC | Mercedes-Benz

The new for 2023 GLC is the natural competitor for the X3. It’s a bit larger, and for 2023 it’s getting a total refresh that will make it feel a lot newer. The interior has been spruced up with a new, sleek, two-cockpit feel split by a large center screen. The big news is that it’s packed with technology inside, and in the engine bay, with a new hybrid version and four gas versions.

Jaguar E-Pace is the unlikely competitor

Jaguar SUVs Consumer Reports
2022 Jaguar E-Pace | Jaguar

The 2023 Jaguar E-Pace flies under the radar. Sure, it has the badge, but it is a bit stealthier than the Bimmer. That is until you put your foot in it, and you feel its 248-horsepower. The Jaguar has a cabin and an overall feel of buttoned-down leather and satin chrome, rather than the stiff leather and black plastic of the X3. The X3 does hold a bit more stuff, and it has slightly more interior room. The Jag starts at $48,000.


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