Feature

Used test: BMW i3 vs Volkswagen e-Golf

Used electric cars are becoming more and more widely available, so we’ve put two of the most desirable to the test

Words ByWhat Car? team

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BMW i3 interior

What are they like inside?

Tall adults will have enough head and leg room in the front of either car, but the i3’s narrower body means less room for shoulders. There’s a wide range of adjustment on both cars’ front seats, but the VW e-Golf’s backrests adjust using a wheel, meaning it’s easier to fine-tune a position than with the BMW i3’s lever.

Forward visibility is good in both, but the e-Golf’s larger rear screen and thinner pillars give you a better over-the-shoulder view.

The e-Golf is the more spacious in the back, offering more head and shoulder room, as well as more knee room. The i3 also has only two rear seats, although a couple of adults will sit in relative comfort. Families will find the e-Golf easier to live with because three children can sit across its rear seats, and the conventionally-opening rear doors make access much easier in car parks.

The e-Golf’s boot has a wider opening and the load bay is longer, deeper and wider than the i3’s. As a result, slotting in a suitcase can be a tight squeeze in the i3, whereas the e-Golf makes an easy job of it.

Both cars’ rear seats split (the i3’s 50:50, the e-Golf’s 60:40) and fold to let you extend the load area. The i3’s seats are more fiddly to fold, although they do lie flatter than the Golf’s when down.

BMW has done a superb job with the i3’s dashboard. Its layout is seriously user-friendly and the materials all feel solid – the use of recycled materials offers unique but surprisingly high-quality textures.

BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, meanwhile, remains one of the easiest to use on the market, and the i3’s 6.5in colour screen is super-sharp.

Aside from some blue detailing on its steering wheel, gearlever and door trim, the e-Golf’s interior is much the same as any other Golf’s. That means the plastics feel dense and solidly constructed, although you might find the design a little dull by comparison with the i3’s. It’s certainly functional, though: the 8.0-inch touch-screen is really responsive, with simple menus, and the climate controls are easy to reach and logically laid out.

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