This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest BMW X3 (11-17) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Thanks to an elevated driving position, there's a clear view of the road ahead and good visibility when turning out of T-junctions. The steering wheel adjusts for height and reach while the seat is multi-adjustable. Controls on the steering wheel for the stereo and cruise control mean you don’t need to take your hands off the wheel on the move but that said, the dash is logical and it’s easy to use when driving, with clear buttons and – on some models – a flip-up LCD screen with sat nav, telephone and trip computer.

Most recent models from late 2006 have an auxiliary point allowing you to plug in an iPod/MP3 player to listen to through the stereo on the move.

The firm ride is the biggest let down in the X3, especially as it should be an ideal family car. But on the plus side there is good head and legroom in the back with enough space for two adults, though a lack of shoulder and footroom means that the centre seat is only suitable for children. This does, however, fold down to become an armrest, plus it contains a storage box and two cupholders to make trips a little more comfortable.

It’s quiet on the move – only engine noise is occasionally noticeable and while the seats are firm they give excellent support.