New Range Rover vs BMW iX vs Mercedes G-Class: interiors

The iconic Range Rover has been renewed, but does this latest iteration have the right stuff? To find out, we’re pitting it against disparate luxury SUV rivals from BMW and Mercedes...

New Range Rover dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Our contenders all come with well-appointed interiors, lined with soft, classy materials, and all have generously padded seats. The Mercedes G-Class and BMW iX merge their digital instrument panels with their infotainment screens to form panoramic displays. However, the clean, uncluttered look of the iX’s dashboard comes at a cost: simple adjustments, such as changing the climate control temperature, are made tricky on the move by the need to perform them via the touchscreen.

In contrast, the G-Class harks back to days gone by with the sheer number of buttons on its dash, and its row of climate control buttons prove very handy. It’s a shame that the low-set clock and shortcut keys below are a little tricky to read, though. The Range Rover’s dashboard, meanwhile, strikes a nice compromise between those of the G-Class and iX; it manages to look clean and unfussy while still retaining a decent array of physical controls.

BMW iX dashboard

All three cars come with plenty of electric seat adjustment, and while few will find the driver’s seat in any of our trio uncomfortable, the iX’s feels relatively firm and not as sumptuous as the thrones in its rivals. The Range Rover and G-Class offer more side bolstering, too, while the latter goes one step further by actively tightening the bolsters through corners to keep you upright, if you specify the optional G Manufaktur package (£7995) fitted to our test car.

Each of our contenders offers a lofty driving position that gives you a great view ahead and to the sides. The G-Class sits you farthest from the ground and feels the most commanding, while its thin front and rear pillars and large windows mean its all-round visibility betters that of most other new cars. True, its tailgate-mounted spare wheel obstructs some of your view out the back, but iX is the biggest offender here, with its comparatively low seating position and chunky rear pillars taking their toll on rearward visibility. Luckily, as with its rivals, the iX comes with a 360-degree camera plus front and rear parking sensors.

Mercedes G-Class dashboard

The G-Class feels the sturdiest inside, as though it’s built to withstand abuse. However, it isn’t at all utilitarian; there’s lots of soft leather and attractive finishes, especially with the extended Nappa hide that’s part of the G Manufaktur package. Meanwhile, the Range Rover gives a plusher first impression, with lashings of leather covering most surfaces, although a few of the plastics feel disappointingly brittle, given the price.

The iX, too, uses swathes of top-notch materials for those parts of the interior you touch most frequently, but it also makes the least effort to cover up its scratchier plastics, such as those lower down on its centre console. This criticism may be minor, but it’s a bit of a letdown in a car costing more than £100,000. At least you can opt for the Design Loft Pack for an additional £450, which introduces a grey fabric interior that lifts the ambience.

Infotainment systems

Range Rover

New Range Rover infotainment

The 13.1in touchscreen may look like it’s been stuck onto the dashboard, but it’s reasonably responsive and has large icons that are easy to hit. An 800-watt, 18-speaker Meridian sound system is standard, or you can upgrade to a £4435 Signature Sound System, upping the speaker count to 34 and bringing a higher level of active road noise cancellation. There’s a clear, even spread of sound from this system, but it’s not so punchy that it’s antisocial.


BMW iX infotainment

The huge, 14.9in infotainment screen can be operated by touch or via the rotary controller on the centre console. The menu layout isn’t quite as intuitive as we’ve seen in other BMWs, though, being peppered with small icons that take longer to read and aim for. Some functions are oddly named, too. The standard 655-watt Harman Kardon sound system is clear and punchy, with built-in headrest speakers and a road noise cancellation function.

Mercedes G-Class

Mercedes G-Class infotainment

The 12.3in screen’s graphics aren’t as pin-sharp as those of the G-Class’s rivals, but the large icons are relatively easy to see and hit, and navigating through the menus is easy, thanks to the rotary controller between the front seats. There’s also a touchpad for inputting addresses into the sat-nav with your finger, but it’s tricky to do if you’re not left-handed. The 16-speaker Burmester sound system is even punchier than the Range Rover’s, if not quite as immersive.

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