As befits a car in this segment – and of this price – the BMW X3’s cabin is a classy, well finished place. The switchgear and instruments are shared with other BMW models, but the X3’s blend of a tall dashboard built around a central display screen and its relatively upright seating position work together to create an unmistakable SUV vibe.

It’s decently spacious, with enough adjustment in the front seats and steering column to ensure that even the tallest driver can get comfortable. Using all of the front legroom dramatically diminishes the space left for rear seat passengers, but a decent compromise will allow four average-sized adults to sit in reasonable comfort. The X3 is bound to become something of a school run favourite, in which case there’s plenty of space for kids in the back and good access through the rear doors.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The electric handbrake automatically applies itself when the engine is switched off or the driver’s door opened, but it needs to be disengaged manually each time.

Boot capacity has been increased to an airy 550 litres – 70 litres more than that of the previous generation – and it is accessed via a low tailgate aperture. We have sampled BMW's sports seats (standard on M Sport models, optional on SEs), which gripped a bit too keenly for comfort on longer journeys for our liking.

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The entry-level SE trim includes nappa leather upholstery, 17in alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and hill-descent contol, while other creature comforts include heated front seats, 6.5in display iDrive infotainment system, including sat nav and DAB, and cruise control. Upgrade to xLine and you will find larger alloys, sports steering wheel and door sill finishers, while the range-topping M Sport trim gets an aggressive bodykit and styling features, sports suspension, sports seats, run-flat tyres and 19in alloy wheels.

As with any BMW, there are numerous options that can be added to the X3 to make it more comfortable or unique to the owner, such options include wireless charging, a Harman and Kardon speaker system, TV and Wifi preparation, electric towbar, heated rear seats, and reversing or 360 degree cameras.

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