Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The X3 is among the best large SUVs for front seat space. Its high roofline ensures that tall adults will have no problems with head room, and leg room is top-notch, too. And with two in the front, the wide interior means you’ll not be invading each other’s personal space.
Each front door has a decent-sized bin and the glovebox is no mere token effort. The front armrest lifts to reveal a generous cubbyhole and there's another cavernous space for your keys or wallet in front of the gear selector.
A couple of tall adults can sit in the back in relative comfort, with similar head and leg room to that offered by the Audi Q5. Introduce a third, though, and all three will find it more of a squeeze around the shoulders than they would in the Q5, Volvo XC60 or Land Rover Discovery Sport. The latter offers one of the most spacious environments for rear passengers in the class.
The outside rear seats each offer a generous door armrest and a decent door bin, and the centre seatback can be folded down to become a central armrest, complete with cupholders. There’s also the option of a reclining backrest as part of the Comfort Package, which is worth considering if you want to help your rear passengers relax.
No seven-seat option is offered. If you need seven seats then look at the Discovery Sport or one of the excellent non-premium alternatives, such as the Peugeot 5008.
Seat folding and flexibility
The front passenger seat can be adjusted manually for height, but lumbar adjustment is merely an option on all variants. Electric seat adjustment, with memory settings, is standard on top trim levels.
The X3’s rear seats split in a 40/20/40 configuration and fold flat to open up more space for bulkier items. As we mentioned above, the optional Comfort Package provides reclining rear seatbacks; these come as standard in a Discovery Sport, and the Discovery Sport’s rear seats also slide back and forth. The X3’s don’t.
Behind the five seats is a boot that should more than fulfil the needs of an average family. It’s able to swallow eight carry-on suitcases with the parcel shelf and rear seats in place – one fewer than the Q5 can take, but the same tally as the Discovery Sport and the XC60. It’s also a fine square shape, with very good access and no loading lip, making it easy to lug heavy items in and out. You’ll find hooks, nets and decent under-floor storage to help keep items in place.
However, with no option of a sliding rear bench — something that, as we mentioned, is available with the Discovery Sport as well as the Q5 — you can’t increase the boot’s size without reducing the seating capacity.
The xDrive30e's battery pack lives under the boot floor, and this removes quite a chunk from its load-lugging capacity. It still provides a reasonable space that's fit for a large buggy, but the boot is much shallower than the non-plug-in-hybrid models.
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