When gathering a group of contenders for any sort of “Car of the Year” test, you must gather a group of vehicles that represent the very best of the category. So if you were to do a Performance Car of the Year, you’d gather all the newest performance cars that best represent what a performance car should be. Which is why we’re a bit confused as to why Motor Trend chose the BMW X4 for its SUV of the Year competition.

The BMW X4 is one of MT’s contenders for the SUV of the Year crown, which is a bit shocking. Firstly, it’s not very new, having debuted a few years ago. So it’s not really “of the year”. Secondly, they don’t seem to like it very much. The X4 is an interesting vehicle in that it’s sort of an SUV and sort of not. I guess that’s why BMW uses the silly “Sport Activity Vehicle” title. It’s based on the previous-generation BMW X3 chassis but it’s been given sportier suspension, steering, handling and styling. So it’s designed to be an “SUV Coupe”, if you like.

While the idea of a more stylish, sportier and sharper BMW X3 seems like a good one, the X4 is sort of a disappointment. It’s not as good of a handler as we’d hoped, nor is it very comfortable or good at being an SUV. So it’s not as good as the X3 at being an SUV but it’s not as good as a coupe at being a sports car. So it ends up being a middle-man no one really asked for.

Don’t get me wrong, the X4 does have some redeeming qualities. It is more entertaining to drive than the BMW X3 and it’s styling does stand out. It also has a surprising amount of cargo space for something with such a chopped roofline. Though, it doesn’t seem as if those redeeming qualities are going to get it very far in MT’s competition.

What did Motor Trend like about the BMW X4? “Surprising amount of cargo room”. What didn’t they like? “Driving it. Looking at it. Sitting in it.” I’m not questioning MT’s feelings on the X4, as many enthusiasts share them and they aren’t necessarily unfounded. I’m just questioning why they put it in the competition at all? It’s also unfortunate that the brand-new BMW X3 wasn’t out in time for this competition as it’s a superb SUV and would have done well.

[Source: Motor Trend]