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Used test: BMW iX3 vs Jaguar I-Pace interiors

These electric SUVs, when bought at two years old, come with incredible savings of around £15,000 each. But which should you buy? We have the answer...

BMW iX3 2021 dashboard


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

If you’re a fan of lofty driving positions, you’ll be happiest in the higher-riding BMW iX3, and the good visibility that comes with that vertical advantage is made all the clearer by its less obstructive windscreen pillars. The iX3’s boxier shape and larger windows also provide better vision backwards and over your shoulder than you get in the Jaguar I-Pace. Both have parking sensors front and rear, with the I-Pace adding a 360deg camera if the original owner ticked said option. However, while the iX3 makes do with a regular rear-view camera, it’s sharper and less laggy than the I-Pace’s.

In both cars, the steering wheel and pedals line up well enough to avoid discomfort on a long journey, and there’s enough adjustment in the wheel and seat to accommodate somebody five feet tall just as comfortably as it does a six-footer. We should point out that, while the iX3 Premier Pro gets fully electric seats with lumbar support adjustment and memory as standard, you’ll need an example with the optional 14-way seats fitted (from new) in order to get both of those things in the I-Pace S.

Jaguar I-Pace 2021 dashboard

Both cars have big, 12.3in digital instrument panels instead of conventional analogue dials, with the I-Pace’s able to display a greater variety of information. However, it’s the iX3’s interior controls that are easier to use, thanks to having physical buttons for the air-con and stereo. The I-Pace relies more heavily on touch-sensitive controls that may look good in the showroom but are more distracting to use on the move. Still, at least you can tweak the temperature and heated seats using one easy-to-find dial.

The iX3’s 10.3in touchscreen is mounted high on the dash, so it’s easy to see, although we prefer to use the rotary controller between the seats to scroll through menus on the move; it’s much less distracting than hitting icons on a screen. That controller, plus logical menus and sharp, easy-to-read graphics, make it one of the best systems on the market. In the I-Pace, you have Jaguar's latest Pivi Pro infotainment system. This uses a responsive 10.0in touchscreen with clear graphics and menus that are fairly intuitive to navigate. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard (the same can be said for the iX3), along with an easy-to-follow sat-nav system and a punchy Meridian stereo.

BMW iX3 2021 boot

At first acquaintance, both feel suitably plush, with lots of squidgy plastics, metal detailing and attractive trims. Look a little harder at the lower sections of the interior of either car and you’ll find scratchier plastics, but the iX3 has a slight edge in overall quality, thanks to its better fit and finish.

There’s plenty of room to lounge in the front of either SUV; both have lots of head room and enough leg room for somebody six feet tall. Those with exceptionally long pins will find that the iX3’s seat goes back a little farther, but neither car will have you clashing elbows with your front passenger or fighting over storage spaces.

Six-footers will have space to spare in the back of either car, but while the I-Pace has more, the margins are slim and we suspect most will prefer travelling in the back of the iX3. For a start, it’s easier to get into, thanks to having bigger doors and thinner sills to step over, and its larger windows make it feel less claustrophobic than the I-Pace.

Jaguar I-Pace 2021 boot

Unlike its rival, the iX3 has a central floor hump to straddle, but the middle rear seat is wider and comfier than the I-Pace’s and can recline for extra comfort.

Both cars have 40/20/40 split rear seats as standard, so you can move long loads while still carrying a couple of rear passengers in comfort. There’s more chance of you needing to extend the boot of the I-Pace, though; it’ll take one less carry-on suitcase than the iX3 below the load cover, and its heavily raked roof limits overall capacity with the seats down.

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