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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
the X3 masks its compact dimensions well
firm, well-shaped seats
new and improved interior materials up the quality and overall luxury
interior materials are fairly nice, but some testers feel they're not as rich as they should be
At 179.9 inches long, with a 110.1-inch wheelbase, the BMW X3 sounds big, but in reality, the space allotted to passengers and cargo is somewhat tight.
Front-seat occupants get comfortable, supportive seats and plenty of room. The "firm, well-shaped seats" are deemed "excellent" by Edmunds, and MyRide.com notes that the "standard seats are more comfortable than the Sport seats," adding that a "six-footer can enjoy major amounts of headroom and actually put the steering wheel and forward footwell well out of reach." ConsumerGuide points out "good legroom and ample headroom," but says the "wide center tunnel" tends to limit foot space; they also observe the front "seats lack sufficient padding for ideal long-distance comfort" and the "manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel may not offer enough reach for some drivers."
Adults in the backseat will likely find their knees mashed up. MSN Autos states, "There's room for five tall adults, although four is a more practical number because the X3 is a little narrow, and the center of the rear seat is too stiff and high for comfort." However, the heated rear seats are an unusual, nice feature.
The interior's recent update adds more storage spaces for smaller items, but the cargo space in back is still only average, at 30 cubic feet behind the second row and 71 cubic feet when the rear seats are lowered. The Acura RDX has nearly as much space with a wheelbase half a foot shorter-and the inexpensive Hyundai Tucson has more interior room at half the price. MSN Autos notes the "rear seatbacks sit mostly flat when flipped forward to enlarge the moderately sized cargo area, and their head restraints need not be removed." Edmunds adds that there are "plenty of storage cubbies," and when the rear seats are folded forward, "a healthy 71 cubic feet of cargo space" is available. MyRide.com points out the storage areas are "fitted with netting that stretches to accommodate odd shapes and medium-sized water bottles."
The X3 has very good fit and assembly quality, but some finishes look inexpensive, particularly the hard plastics around the shifter and on the door panels. There's also considerable tire noise heard in the rear seats. MyRide.com feels the two front cup holders look like "something cobbled together and glued in place" at the last minute, and observes the doors make a "hollow echo" rather than the "solid 'thunk'" typically expected of such a vehicle. ConsumerGuide comments the "interior materials are fairly nice, but some testers feel they're not as rich as they should be." The standard upholstery is vinyl on the 2010 BMW X3, which is a bit out of place, as the standard on most cars in this class is leather. Reviewers from MyRide note the X3's wind noise, while ConsumerGuide balances that out with the "classy growl" of the engine.
The 2010 BMW X3 has good accommodations for front passengers, tight ones for adults in the rear; storage space is only average, and some materials look less than expensive.