New Cupra Formentor and Volvo XC40 hybrids vs BMW X1 25e: practicality

A plug-in hybrid SUV could make a lot of sense for families with an eye on running costs. Let’s see who makes the best one: BMW, Cupra or Volvo...

Cupra Formentor 2022 interior rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

If front leg room is your chief concern, try the X1. It has the most, followed by the Formentor, and both provide levels of head room that’ll leave you incredulous. But unless you’re way beyond six feet tall, you’ll fit just fine in the XC40, which, by the way, has the broadest interior. It also has massive front door bins that are carpeted to prevent things from rattling around, although none of these cars leaves you short on stowage space for bits and bobs.

Our contenders can all fit six-footers in the back seats, but the Formentor feels the smallest. For a start, you sit lower than you do in the others and your knees end up closest to the back of the seat in front. There’s a small gap remaining, though.

Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 2021 rear seats

The X1 has an extra centimetre or so of knee room, but it has the least head room; its rear seats are much higher than the ones in the front, you see. Still, it’s only a tall middle passenger who risks actually brushing the roof, because the middle seat is even higher. On the plus side, the X1 has the lowest central floor hump, so it’s the easiest in which to slide across and onto the middle seat.

The XC40 has the best rear accommodation. It has by far the most head room, as well as the best leg room (although only just, compared with the X1), and it has the most foot space under its front seats. Being the broadest means it’s the best for carrying three in the back, too.

BMW X1 xDrive25e 2021 rear seats

Points for seating flexibility go to the X1. It’s the only one with reclining rear seats and the seatbacks fold in a 40/20/40 split for greater flexibility than the 60/40 arrangement in the other two. The Formentor and XC40 have a ski hatch as compensation. And helpfully, you can drop the Formentor’s rear seatbacks using handles located inside the boot, whereas the others require you to go around to the rear doors to unlatch the seats.

And what about the boots themselves? Well, the Formentor’s is the only one with a noticeable loading lip, and it’s the smallest. It can hold just five carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf, and there’s no underfloor storage for the charging cables, so they take up boot space. There’s room for the charging cables under the X1’s floor, as there is in the XC40 (even with the £150 optional spare wheel fitted), and both cars can swallow seven carry-on cases in their main boot compartment.

Boot space

Cupra Formentor

Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid 245 2021 boot

Boot 345-1415 litres Suitcases 5

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 2021 boot

Boot 452-1328 litres Suitcases 7


BMW X1 xDrive25e 2021 boot

Boot 450-1470 litres Suitcases 7

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