BMW i3 review

Category: Electric car

Section: Passenger & boot space

Available fuel types:electric
Available colours:
BMW i3 2018 doors open interior view
Add to shortlist
  • BMW i3 2018 front cornering
  • BMW i3 2018 grille rear tracking
  • BMW i3 2018 front seat dashboard
  • BMW i3 2018 doors open interior view
  • BMW i3 2018 panoramic roof
  • BMW i3 2018 right panning
  • BMW i3 2018 grille detail
  • BMW i3
  • BMW i3 2018 control close-up
  • BMW i3 2018 front cornering
  • BMW i3 2018 grille rear tracking
  • BMW i3 2018 front seat dashboard
  • BMW i3 2018 doors open interior view
  • BMW i3 2018 panoramic roof
  • BMW i3 2018 right panning
  • BMW i3 2018 grille detail
  • BMW i3
  • BMW i3 2018 control close-up
RRP £36,025What Car? Target Price from£34,357
Share review

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

The i3 is pretty spacious in the front, thanks to the lack of a proper centre console (the bit that divides driver and passenger) and a gear selector located on the steering column instead of between the seats. The dashboard floats on top of a deeply scalloped base, so there's even more leg room than you’ll find in larger rivals such as the Kia e-Niro. There's no issue with front head room, either, thanks to a tall roofline.

The glovebox is on top of the dashboard and is deep enough for a couple of drinks bottles; you could fit a couple more in the door pockets. There's also an elasticated net under the centre of the fascia that makes a handy place to stow odds and ends.

The storage area in the armrest is big enough for a mobile phone or two, and there are a couple of cupholders between the front seats – although the second one is positioned quite far back (almost behind the seats) so it's awkward to use.

Rear space

The i3 has unusual rear-hinged rear doors to aid access but, even though these open to reveal a decent aperture, adults won't want to spend any great length of time in the back. Tight knee and head room are the main issues, although the thick pillars won't help those who suffer with claustrophobic. The front seatbacks are hard, too, so aren’t comfortable for long-legged passengers to rest their knees against.

There are only two seats in the back although each one does have an Isofix child seat mounting point, and those rear-hinged doors make lifting a young child in an out relatively easy. Annoyingly, though, the rear doors can't be opened without the front ones being opened first.

BMW i3 2018 doors open interior view

Seat folding and flexibility

Unlike most rivals, whose rear seats fold in a handy 60/40 split, you have to make do with a 50/50 fold in the i3. Dropping the seats is an easy process, though, thanks to handles located near the headrests. These can be reached from inside the boot.

The front passenger seatback doesn't fold down flat to free up additional load space for longer items, but this is a relatively rare feature in the class.

Boot space

Don't buy an i3 expecting to get the same sort of space you'd find in a BMW executive saloon – the load space is more in line with what you'll find in a conventional small car. Indeed, the i3's boot is actually smaller than a Ford Fiesta's.

It's just about big enough for a modest load of weekly groceries, but it'll struggle to cope with, say, a buggy. The car's narrowness means that bulky items, such as golf clubs, will be fiddly to fit across the boot area, while the high boot floor limits the amount of clobber you can fit below the tonneau cover.

The floor itself is pretty flat, though; there's no awkward boot lip to lift items over.

Also consider

Honda E

2020 - present

Great to look at and to drive, but a high price and meagre ran...

Kia e-Niro

2020 - present

A fantastic, practical, comfortable electric car wit...

Kia Soul EV

2019 - present

Small boot and a fidgety ride, but a decent to drive and with...

Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life

2020 - present

Huge electric people carrier that falls down on range and...