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2022 BMW X3

Even After 15,000 Miles, Our Long-Term 2022 BMW X3 Continues to Impress

Strong fuel economy and a comfortable ride have made the X3 a standout

  • The comfortable ride makes the X3 a road (trip) warrior.
  • A recent long-distance trip resulted in the BMW absolutely thumping EPA-estimated fuel economy.
  • A wonky LATCH housing and crunchy brakes are less impressive.

Edmunds' long-term 2022 BMW X3 smoked the 15,000-mile mark thanks to, you guessed it, a long road trip taken by director of content strategy Josh Sadlier. In what has become a calling card of the best-selling BMW, the X3 is a staff favorite for road trips because of its ride comfort, storage capacity and all-around utility.

2022 BMW X3

This X3 leans toward comfort

As senior editor of written content Brent Romans points out, our X3 is comfort-oriented.

"[It's] impressively comfortable and quiet. It probably helps that we've got the most relaxed X3 spec possible, which is the xDrive30i with the standard (non-sport) suspension and the regular 19-inch wheels. (The optional 20- or 21-inch wheels are fancier but have shorter tire sidewalls, so there's less cushion.) This combo easily smooths out ruts and bumps on the road. And there's not much wind noise or tire noise. That combo makes our X3 a pleasing companion on a long drive."

That smooth ride doesn't necessarily translate to a graceful glide to a stop, as another Edmunds staffer points out.

"The BMW gets up to speed with ease and takes to the curves better than most other comparable SUVs. Unfortunately, I don't think it slows very well. I tend to perform limo stops, where you try to come to a complete stop without really feeling it stop completely. It's about finding the lightest touch on the brake pedal. But no matter what I try, the X3 refuses.

"As I roll towards a stop with featherlight brake pedal pressure, the smooth deceleration is inelegantly interrupted by some noticeable downshifts that cause some lurches. Then, just as the car is about to come to a stop, the brake pads grab the rotors, resulting in an even more noticeable lurch."

2022 BMW X3

We aren't thrilled with the LATCH setup in the X3

But the X3 isn't all fireworks, candy and puppy dogs. Josh explains an unpleasant encounter with the X3's backseat LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system for car seats:

"In case you're like I was until two years ago and have no clue how this works, here's a summary: The car seat has a couple of buckle straps dangling from it, and you clip the buckles over horizontal anchor-point bars embedded in the base of the rear seatback — the LATCH points — and then tighten the buckle straps and, boom, you're ready to haul a tiny human.

"Well, that is unless the LATCH points feel like they're giving way as you tighten the straps. That's what happened to me in our long-term X3. Specifically, only one LATCH point felt that way — the inboard one in the passenger-side rear seat. But that's one too many. As you can see in the photos, it was actually just the plastic frame popping out of its pressure fit, but initially I thought I'd broken the whole assembly. I gotta wonder, was a pressure fit the right call there by BMW? I have no clue how other manufacturers do it because this never happened to me before, but something is clearly suboptimal in BMW's execution. By the way, I tried to press the frame back in a few times, but it popped back out whenever I tightened the strap, so I ended up living with it. As an owner under warranty, I definitely would have wanted to take it to the BMW dealer for resolution, and that's extra time that a lot of people don't really have."

2022 BMW X3

We've routinely beaten EPA-estimated fuel economy

Josh recently took the X3 on a long road trip up to Washington and set a couple of notable records while doing so. He didn't just set a miles-per-gallon record (31.7 mpg), he also set a distance record of 539.8 miles on a single tank. The EPA estimates a combined 24 mpg and 28 on the highway, and we're averaging 25.2 miles to the gallon despite a heavy dose of city driving around Los Angeles.

Josh says, "A note from my LA-to-Seattle odyssey in the X3: Cranking up the average speed to 75.8 mph thanks to higher speed limits on I-5, I still saw 29.2 mpg at the pump over the course of 452 miles. Again, the EPA says 28 mpg highway for this thing. It's quite remarkable that I did better than that at 76 mph. BMW's still got that special sauce in the engine room."

2022 BMW X3

Edmunds says

We rely on our X3 for everything from commuting to long road trips — and we're looking forward to what the final 5,000 miles of our journey will reveal about our SUV.

2022 BMW X3