New BMW X1 vs new Genesis GV70 vs Volvo XC40: practicality

When it comes to posh family SUVs, the Volvo XC40 has ruled the roost for several years. Now, though, it faces fresh competition from a reborn rival and a new challenger with big ideas...

New BMW X1 rear space

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

Unless you’re approaching six and a half feet tall, you’ll fit easily in the front of any of these cars – and that’s despite the fact that our BMW X1 and Volvo XC40 test cars came equipped with panoramic glass roofs (standard on the XC40 but a £1000 option on the X1). But just in case Stephen Merchant is reading this, you’ll find that the Genesis GV70’s seat goes back the farthest.

With its tall roofline, it matches the X1 for head room, too, and both offer more than the XC40. The margins, however, are small, as they are for storage space in the front, with each car offering a decent-sized glovebox and door bins, plus cupholders and oddment cubbies. 

Volvo XC40 rear space

There's greater variance in the rear. Space is tightest in the XC40 and its rear seats don't recline like they do as standard in the X1 and GV70, so it's more difficult for passengers to relax on longer journeys. That said, a couple of six-footers will still be perfectly happy; they'll just have less room in front of their knees than in the GV70. The X1, meanwhile, has a smidgen more still; it's the most spacious of the trio for two in the back. 

However, the GV70 is the best for three; its middle seat is the widest here and offers the most head room. The XC40 has the tallest central floor hump for a middle passenger to contend with, while the X1's middle seat is too narrow, so carrying three rear passengers is a bit of a squeeze. 

New Genesis GV70 rear space

In terms of seating flexibility, the X1 starts to gain back some serious points, with seatbacks that divide in a handy 40/20/40 split, rather than the less versatile 60/40 arrangement found in the GV70 and XC40. If you stump up an extra £300, the X1's rear seats can also be slid back and forth, enabling you to prioritise passenger comfort or boot space. 

What's more, even with those rear seats slid all the way back, the X1's boot can hold eight carry-on suitcases below the load cover, compared with seven in the XC40 and six in the GV70. The latter has quite a bit of room left over, but its unusually low load cover prevents it from swallowing more cases.

Boot space


New BMW X1 boot space

Boot 500-1545 litres Suitcases 8

Genesis GV70

New Genesis GV70 boot space

Boot 542-1678 litre Suitcases 6

Volvo XC40 

Volvo XC40 boot space

Boot 460-1336 litres Suitcases 7

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