The premium compact crossover segment is booming all around the world. It’s now a pretty crowded segment with several very solid options, many of them coming from Europe. Three of the most popular and hottest offerings have to be the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Volvo XC60.

While these are obviously not off-road-focused models, they still have some qualities for going off the paved road. Carwow wanted to see which one can perform best off-road and decided to put them against each other across a series of six challenges to see “which is the ultimate family car off-roader.”

Interestingly, while very similar in their overall formulas, these three luxury crossovers are very different under the skin. Starting with the X3, it is powered by a hybridised 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine supported by an electric motor for a peak output of 292 bhp (218 kilowatts) and 310 pound-feet (420 Newton-metres) of torque.

Against it, the XC60, surprisingly, puts to use a 2.0-litre turbodiesel mated to an automatic gearbox and sending 197 bhp (147 kW) and 310 lb-ft (420 Nm) to all four wheels. Finally, the contender from Ingolstadt is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine good for 265 bhp (198 kW) and 273 lb-ft (370 Nm). The Bimmer is the heaviest of the three at about 1,990 kilograms (4,387 pounds) versus around 1,900 kg (4,189 lbs) for the Audi and the Volvo.

Needless to say, power is not everything in drag races, especially when they are uphill and off the road. Traction, power delivery between the wheels, weight distribution, and many other factors decide the race here. Of course, we won’t spoil it so take a look at the video at the top of this page to see which model performs the best in these conditions.