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New Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar XE vs BMW 3 Series: practicality

The electric Tesla Model 3 provides a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel power for executive saloons. Let’s see if it can beat the fossil-fuelled BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XE...

BMW 3 Series rear seats
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What Car? team
18 Sep 2019 12:20

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

You aren’t going to have a problem fitting into the front of any of our contenders – even if you’re well over six feet tall. There are bigger differences when it comes to rear seat space, though. The 3 Series and Model 3 are closely matched for leg and head room, but you feel a lot less claustrophobic sitting in the back of the latter, thanks to its bigger side windows and standard panoramic glass roof. The XE’s limited head room makes it the least agreeable for rear passengers.

Jaguar XE rear seats

All three cars have saloon (rather than hatchback) boots, so the rear screen doesn’t lift up with the bootlid to give a bigger aperture. You’ll fit the most luggage in the Model 3, though; it has the largest main boot area, and there’s lots of underfloor storage and another small storage area under the bonnet. In total, it can swallow 10 carry-on suitcases, whereas the 3 Series can hold seven and the XE just five.

Tesla Model 3 rear seats

You have to pay £440 extra if you want split-folding rear seats in the XE; these come as standard on the Model 3. However, the 3 Series goes one step further with 40/20/40 split-folding seats; these offer greater flexibility than the 60/40 split in the Model 3.


BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series boot

Fine for two tall adults in the back, but add a third and things become quite cramped. The 3 Series is the only car here with 40/20/40 split rear seats, giving great flexibility when carrying long loads.

Boot 480 litres Suitcases 7


Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE boot

XE is by far the most cramped in the back and has the smallest boot. It’s also the only one of our trio without folding rear seats, although you can have them if you’re prepared to stump up £440.

Boot 410 litres Suitcases 5


Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 boot

As a middle rear passenger, you’d choose the Model 3 every time, thanks to its generous knee and foot space. Plus it can take the most luggage – especially when you factor in underfloor space.

Boot 450 litres (r), 92 litres (f) Suitcases 10


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