Space and practicality
Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot
These aren’t the largest SUVs you can buy, but you won’t notice when sitting in the front. Each has seats that slide back far enough to unfurl the longest of legs and enough head room for six-footers to sit up straight without their heads brushing the roof lining. The XC60 just pips the Q5 for interior width, so there’s less chance of squabbling over elbow room on the central armrest, but the Macan is hardly slender, either.
Move to the back and a more defined pecking order emerges. The Macan is the most compact; again, it isn’t small, but with taller front seat occupants, 6ft-tall adults in the rear will find their knees wedged against the back of the seat in front – not really what you expect from a large SUV. And even without the optional head room-reducing panoramic roof fitted (which both of our other test cars also had), they’ll be aware that there’s not much of a gap above their heads to the ceiling.
The Q5 has much more knee room than the Macan, but the XC60 is the one you’d choose to lounge in the back of. It has plenty of head room and 35mm more leg room than you’ll find in the Q5. It’s also the best at seating three adults side by side, with the Macan the tightest.
Where the Q5 scores highly is flexibility. It’s the only one with the option of sliding rear seats (£350), so you can prioritise either leg room or boot space. Tick this option and the rear seats also recline – handy if your rear seat passengers fancy a nap – and split-fold 40/20/40 rather than the standard 60/40 arrangement. The Macan gets the flexibility of 40/20/40 seats as standard. With the XC60, you’re limited to a 60/40 split, although for £450 you can fold the rear seats down (but not up) at the touch of a button.
Having the widest and tallest boot means that even without its rear seats slid forward, the Q5 will take the most luggage; we got nine carry-on suitcases in. The XC60 managed eight, but that was a bit of a squeeze, and the Macan seven, albeit with some room to spare around the edges.
Despite having the least luggage space above its boot floor, the Macan has a decent trough underneath, unlike its rivals.
All three cars get powered tailgates, and the Macan and XC60’s boots have no load lip; this is a boon when you’re loading heavy or bulky items. In the Q5, there’s a small lip, and it’s the only car that leaves a slight step in the extended boot floor when the rear seats are down.
Q5’s boot is the biggest, but it’s not perfect. There’s a small lip to lift heavy items over, plus you have to pay for 40/20/40 splitfolding seats; this also adds a sliding rear bench
Boot 550-1550 litres Suitcases 9
The Macan’s boot is shallower than the others and smaller overall, but still useful with 40/20/40 split-folding seats as standard, plus a spacious underfloor storage area
Boot 500-1500 litres Suitcases 7
Disappointingly, the XC60 has 60/40 split-folding rear seats only, although they do have a ski hatch. Like the Macan, having no load lip helps when loading large items
Boot 505-1432 litres Suitcases 8
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