New BMW X3 vs Audi Q5 vs Land Rover Discovery Sport
BMW’s new X3 SUV will have to be outstanding to beat the class-leading Audi Q5 and Land Rover’s Discovery Sport. Let’s see if it is...
Space and practicality
Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot
Unless you’re nudging past six and a half feet tall, you’ll fit easily in the front of any of these cars. Being the only car here with a standard panoramic roof, the Discovery Sport has the least head room, and its front seats don’t slide back as far as the others’. But even so, it’s still generously proportioned. Storage is good across the board, with each car offering decent-sized gloveboxes and door bins, plus cupholders and oddment cubbies.
Move to the rear seats and some variance creeps in. The Q5 is a fraction better for leg room and the X3 for head room, but both are more than spacious enough for two six-footers. Meanwhile, the Discovery Sport has noticeably more rear leg room than the others and, along with the Q5, has the joint-widest rear seat area. A tall central tunnel in the Q5 limits foot space for the middle passenger, though, so the mere pimple-like hump in the Discovery Sport’s floor makes it the best for carrying three in the back.
The rear seats in the Q5 are fixed as standard, but for the palatable price of £350 you can swap them for sliding and reclining rear seats – a real boon for rear passenger comfort or augmenting boot space. You can’t have a sliding rear bench in the X3, but you can add reclining seatbacks for £110. Both of these useful features are standard in the Discovery Sport.
It’s the only one with seven seats, too. They’re really suitable only for carrying children, or average-sized adults on short hops, but there’s no denying that they’re extremely useful to have.
The Q5 has the biggest boot, but not by much. True, it took nine carry-on suitcases to the others’ eight, but only after a diligent game of Tetris. And with their eight cases on board, the others still had a bit of room to spare.
Both the Q5 and X3 come with 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats. The Discovery Sport has a less flexible 60/40 split, but all three have handy rear seat release points just inside their electric tailgates. These are in the form of manual levers in the X3 and Q5 and electric buttons in the Discovery Sport. With their rear seatbacks lowered, three fl at load floors greet you, making it a cinch to slide long, heavy items into all our of cars.
Q5 has the most front head room and more than enough leg room. Rear leg and head room are fine too, but the high central tunnel is most limiting for the middle passenger. It’s worth adding the £350 sliding/reclining rear seat option.
There’s a small lip to lift items over, but Q5’s boot is marginally the biggest here, taking one more case than the others. As with its rivals, a powered tailgate is standard.
Boot 550-1550 litresSuitcases 9
X3 has the most leg room up front, plus plenty of head room. Rear space is similar to that in the Q5, but you can’t add sliding rear seats – only reclining seatbacks. The shape of the rear seats make the X3 the least comfy for three, too.
The X3 is the only car here with decent under floor storage. The 40/20/40 split-folding seats can be released by handy levers in the boot (as with the others).
Boot 550-1600 litresSuitcases 8
Front seats don’t go quite as far back as the others’ and panoramic roof reduces head room, yet tall people still t easily. Small floor hump and wide rear seat area make it the best for three abreast; sliding/reclining rear seats are standard.
Like the X3, there’s no load lip and space for eight suitcases, as long as the third-row seats are folded at. The second-row seats split only 60/40, though.
Boot 154-479-1698 litresSuitcases 8