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Used test: BMW X2 vs Volvo XC40 interiors
You can save around £10,000 on either of these prestige family SUVs by buying used, but which should you choose? We have the answer...
Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality
Remember that we mentioned the X2 feels more like a sporty hatchback than a proper SUV? Well, that’s how it feels from behind the wheel, too. Yes, it has a slightly raised ride height and the option of jacking the seat right up, but the only people you tower over are those driving sports cars.
The XC40 is somewhat different, with its seats mounted much farther from the ground beneath a loftier roofline, giving you a towering view of the road. Okay, you won’t be fooled into thinking you’re in a Range Rover, but you at least feel like you’re driving a proper SUV.
It isn’t just the X2’s low stance that leaves a black mark against it; its sloping roof, chunky rear pillars and tiny rear screen make reversing tricky, too, even with standard rear parking sensors. A rear-view camera was optional from new, but you couldn’t get a 360deg camera, whereas you’ll find one on the XC40’s options list.
The XC40 scores for having much bigger windows and slimmer rear pillars, but again it has only rear sensors as standard. Meanwhile, when night falls, you’ll be pleased to find that both cars have powerful LED headlights.
The low-slung X2 does without the electric seat and lumbar adjustment of the XC40, but most of our testers were still able to find a reasonably comfortable driving position. That said, our shortest testers found the adjustable under-thigh support didn’t go in far enough, leaving the seat base digging into the backs of their knees. There are no such issues in the XC40; its electric seat is very comfy.
Although the X2 clearly isn’t perfect, you won’t hear us grumbling about how its interior looks and feels. It’s clearly based on the X1’s – no bad thing – but BMW has introduced some even more expensive-looking trims, a gear selector that looks like it’s from the 5 Series and contrasting stitching on the dashboard. There are also plenty of soft-touch plastics and some seriously high-quality switches and stalks. However, it’s disappointing that the X2 doesn’t have leather seats as standard.
As good as the X2 is, the XC40 runs it exceedingly close. Although there are a few more hard plastics inside and some of the switches aren’t quite as precise, we’re splitting hairs – and many will prefer the XC40’s more minimalist interior design.
We doubt anyone will have any issues with the space in the front of these two. Both are within a couple of centimetres of each other for shoulder room, no one is likely to find their head brushing the ceiling and the front seats slide back a long way to accommodate longer legs. Although the XC40 has the least front head room by some margin, this was largely down to the presence of the optional panoramic sunroof in our car.
Those in the rear will notice more of a difference. The X2’s roofline makes it the worst for rear head room, and rear leg room isn’t wonderful, either. So the XC40 is the best for head and leg room and has the widest rear seat area.
The X2 has the least storage for your odds and ends. There are a couple of cupholders in front of the gear selector, plus a tiny shelf. Look under the central armrest and you’ll find a shelf for your phone, while underneath that is another cubby with a USB port.
The XC40 has much bigger door pockets up front and there’s more space for oddments around the gear selector. Between the front seats is a bigger cubby that even has a removable bin with a spring-loaded lid. The rear door pockets are less impressive, but there are trays between the outer rear seats and the doors.
The X2’s boot may look relatively small, but it has a huge underfloor storage area that can (just) swallow a couple of carry-on suitcases. The downside is that there’s a sizeable lip to contend with at its entrance, and there are no buttons or levers to fold the rear seats from the boot.
Even with a spare wheel fitted, the XC40’s boot can accommodate seven cases with ease. It also has storage cubbies to stop your stuff from rolling around, plus the option of a pop-up divider to hang shopping bags from. Factor in a low load lip and it’s easily the best boot here, even if Volvo charged extra for a powered tailgate from new.
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