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BMW X3 boot space, practicality and safety

2017 onwards (change model)
Practicality rating: 3.8 out of 53.8

Written by Luke Wilkinson Published: 3 April 2023 Updated: 20 April 2023

  • Plenty of space for four adults
  • Well-shaped boot and flexible rear bench
  • PHEV models sacrifice some luggage capacity

How much space is there?

Plenty. Four adults can easily get comfortable inside the X3. The middle rear seat is best reserved for occasional adult passengers, but three children should be able to sit together without arguing.

It’s easy to keep the interior looking tidy, too. There are lots of storage bins, including deep door pockets that can swallow water bottles and tablets, a huge centre console that can hold smaller handbags and a covered storage tray under the infotainment system for your smartphone.

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BMW X3 review (2023): rear seats, black upholstery
The BMW X3’s interior is spacious and well organised.

Our only practicality gripe is with the PHEV model. There isn’t a dedicated space under the boot board to store the charging cables. Instead, BMW gives you a couple of storage bags to stop them from knotting around your belongings – but they’re unsightly and they eat into vital luggage space.

Boot space and storage

The petrol and diesel versions of the X3 are the most practical. They have 550 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place and up to 1,600 litres if you fold the bench flat. The rear seat backrest also tumbles in a 40:20:40 split, which allows you to transport luggage and people at the same time.

The standard X3’s boot is comparable to the Audi Q5’s, and 55 litres larger than the Volvo XC60’s. However, if space in the boot is your priority, you’d be better served by the Land Rover Discovery Sport, as that has a 689-litre boot.

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BMW X3 review (2023): boot space, seats up, showing inconvenient charging cable bags for PHEV model
PHEV X3s lose some boot space to the battery pack and a pair of cumbersome charging cable bags.

Bear in mind that, if you opt for the plug-in hybrid X3 (like the model above), you’ll lose 100 litres of boot space to the battery pack and electric motor. The electrical gubbins also raise the boot floor by around three inches, which makes it harder to haul heavy items into the rear. It shares the same square shape as the standard car’s, though, so it’s relatively painless to pack.

Is it easy to park?

Well, the X3 isn’t exactly a city car. The latest Mercedes GLC is larger but, at 4,708mm long, it’s still one of the biggest options in its class. However, you get front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view parking camera as standard on the cheapest xLine model, while a top-down 360-degree camera is available as part of the company’s optional technology pack. So, it isn’t too difficult to manoeuvre.

Safety

  • Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating…
  • … under the old test regulations
  • Lots of driver assistance technology

Unsurprisingly, the BMW X3 achieved a five-star safety rating when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2017. However, the company has tightened up its regulations since then – and the X3 hasn’t been retested under the more stringent protocols. That means a newer five-star SUV like the Mercedes GLC could fare better in a collision.

Still, the X3 scored an impressive 93% in the adult occupant protection category – and you get plenty of safety equipment including LED headlights, stability control, a speed limiter, automatic emergency braking and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

There’s a suite of optional safety kit on offer, too, including a head-up displaycross-traffic warning, blindspot warning, adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping technology. The X3 can also give you a warning if you drive the wrong way down a one-way street.

Watch: BMW X3 Euro NCAP crash test

Euro NCAP rating

Overall NCAP safety rating 5 out of 5
Year tested: 2017
What is Euro NCAP?
Adult Occupant: 93%
Child Occupant: 84%
Vulnerable Road User: 70%
Safety Assist: 58%

Equipment and options

Each trim level will have different equipment offerings.
Basic equipment (25)
  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • ABS
  • Alarm
  • Alloy wheels
  • Audio remote
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Cruise control
  • Driver`s airbag
  • Electric mirrors
  • Front electric windows
  • Heated mirrors
  • Heated seats
  • Isofix child seat anchor points
  • Leather seat trim
  • Parking sensors
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Rear electric windows
  • Remote locking
  • Sat Nav
  • Service indicator
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
  • Traction control
Standard Equipment
Optional Equipment
M Sport Standard Equipment
  • n/a
M Sport Optional Equipment (13)
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Climate control
  • DVD
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Headlight washers
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Metallic Paint
  • Roof rails
  • TV
M40d Standard Equipment (6)
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Climate control
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Roof rails
M40d Optional Equipment (5)
  • Folding rear seats
  • Headlight washers
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Sports seats
M40i Standard Equipment (6)
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Climate control
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Roof rails
M40i Optional Equipment (5)
  • Folding rear seats
  • Headlight washers
  • Lumbar support
  • Metallic Paint
  • Sports seats
SE Standard Equipment (10)
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Climate control
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Roof rails
SE Optional Equipment (1)
  • Metallic Paint
xLine Standard Equipment (4)
  • CD
  • Central locking
  • Climate control
  • Roof rails
xLine Optional Equipment (6)
  • Electric driver`s seat
  • Electric passenger`s seat
  • Electric sunroof
  • Folding rear seats
  • Height adjustable drivers seat
  • Metallic Paint

Dimensions

Length 4708mm - 4935mm
Width 2138mm - 2212mm
Height 1676mm - 1696mm
View full specs