Tall adults will have no complaints in the front of the X3. There’s enough head and leg room for them to stretch out and enough shoulder room so that it doesn’t feel claustrophobic.
The amount of space in the front of rivals is similar; a Volvo XC60 ultimately has more head room and an Audi Q5 has slightly more leg room, but really, we’re talking about a couple of centimeters here and there. Getting in and out of the front seats is easy, too.
The inside of each front door has a deep, if rather narrow, pocket. There's also a useful cubbyhole just in front of the gearlever – perfect for throwing your mobile phone, wallet or keys into.
BMW X3 rear space
Like its main rivals, the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60, the X3's rear seats are best suited to two adults or three children. Whoever sits in the middle has to deal with a narrow seat base and splay their feet either side of a chunky transmission tunnel running along the floor.
A Discovery Sport has slightly more leg room in the back, but the X3 is slightly roomier in the back than an XC60 or a Q5. Two child seats will fit with ease either side of the middle seat, and access to the rear is good, too.
Both rear passengers get a cubbyhole, but you’ll struggle to fit a large water bottle inside. There are pockets on the front seatbacks for extra storage, though, and rear window sunblinds are available as options, as are heated rear seats.
There's no seven-seat option like there is on the similarly priced Land Rover Discovery Sport.
BMW X3 seating flexibility
The X3’s rear seats split 60/40 and fold down as standard, but if you pay extra BMW will fit more user-friendly 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats instead. Whichever you go for, the rear seatbacks lie at a slight angle once folded down, but not enough to cause a major headache. Unfortunately, there's no options of sliding or reclining rear seats, whereas there is in the rival Land Rover Discovery Sport and Audi Q5.
The front passenger seat has plenty of adjustment, but changing the height of the seat or the angle of the backrest is fiddly. Electric front seats with lumbar adjustment are an expensive option.
BMW X3 boot space
Based on official figures, the X3’s boot is larger than both an Audi Q5’s or a Volvo XC60’s. Our measurements also show that the X3 has the longest and tallest boot of the three, which aids day-to-day practicality. However, there are other cars in the class with larger and more practical boots, including the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Getting bulky items inside is easy, because the X3’s boot opening is nice and wide, and there’s no large loading lip to negotiate at the entrance, either.
Every X3 also comes with an electric tailgate for easier access, and folding down the rear seats doesn’t leave a step up in the boot floor, even though the rear seatbacks lie at a slight angle when down. Spending extra gets you BMW’s Extended Storage option, which includes storage nets on the sidewalls, further storage underneath the boot floor and lashing rails and eyes.