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#4

in 2010 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $23,132 - $23,132
Original MSRP: $38,850 - $38,850
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2010 BMW X3 Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Most critics praise the BMW X3's high-quality, luxurious cabin. Its main downsides are the sometimes confusing controls and a cramped rear seat.

  • "Where the X3 disappoints is in the intangible and tactile, how the interior looks and feels. Textures and materials have been improved, including a higher quality of optional leather, but there's still no mistaking the X3 for one of BMW's luxury sedans." -- Automotive.com
  • "Interior materials are fairly nice, but some testers feel they're not as rich as they should be given the X3's lofty pricing. ... Some minor rattles were noted in the cargo area of one test example." -- Consumer Guide

Seating

The 2010 X3 offers ample room in the front seats, though the rear is a bit cramped -- a typical complaint in the compact SUV class. Leatherette upholstery is standard. The optional Cold Weather Package ($1,000) comes with heated front and rear seats as well as retractable headlight washers.

For a more spacious and comfortable rear seat, consider the Audi Q5, which costs about $2,000 less and comes with a sliding rear seat to increase seating or cargo space.

  • "As always, we appreciated the impressive interior layout that yields a nearly perfect driving position while offering rear passengers the kind of legroom they might expect in a one-size-bigger ute." -- Car and Driver
  • "The standard front seats are comfortable and firm, with sufficient support for sporty driving; there are also optional sport seats and sublimely comfortable 16-way power seats. The rear seats are quite agreeable as well, with plenty of head- and legroom for average adults." -- Edmunds
  • "Inside, the X3 masks its compact dimensions well. The driver's seat, which comes with standard eight-way power adjustment, has lots of travel in all directions. Combine that with the telescoping steering wheel and there should be adequate room for drivers of all sizes." -- Cars.com
  • "The front seats are supportive and comfortably bolstered. The standard seats are more comfortable than the Sport seats and quite adequately restrain occupants' posteriors when the road begins to wind." -- Automotive.com
  • "Seat cushion is set a bit low for optimal adult comfort, but overall [rear-seat] room is more than sufficient." -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

Reviewers like the quality of the X3's interior appointments, although some have complaints about the button-heavy dashboard. Standard features include a leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic steering wheel, vehicle and key memory, automatic climate control, an auxiliary audio input, a service interval indicator, HD radio (newly standard for 2010), and remote entry/tailgate release.

A Premium Audio System ($675) comes with eight speakers and a Digital Sound Processor that has settings to make acuoustics within the car sound like a jazz club, concert hall or cathedral. A Navigation System is available for $1,800, but reviewers find it frustrating to use and caution against it. The X3 doesn't offer a rear DVD entertainment system, which may be a testament to the fact that it's a little small to be a good family vehicle.

  • "The X3's interior has fold-flat second-row seats and tasteful wood trim on its instrument panel and center stack. This wood also decorates gracefully sculpted front door pulls that angle front-to-rear between twin door-storage pockets at their lower ends." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The driver's cupholder is in the center console, rather than popping out of the dash to the left of the steering wheel, as it does on some Bimmers. This is a blessing, because dash-level cupholders always seem to splash beverages on your left knee during hard driving in a small vehicle like the X3." -- BusinessWeek
  • "A few features proved frustrating. The optional navigation system is a bear to use -- even without BMW's much-maligned iDrive system. The center console box ratchets open and shut in noisy motions sure to awaken sleeping passengers. The auxiliary jack for MP3 players is mounted on the back of the center console, facing the backseat. That makes for a long reach for drivers." -- Cars.com
  • "Previous X3 interiors never felt quite up to par with other BMWs, but that is no longer the case. More soft-touch materials and a healthy amount of lustrous wood trim dress things up convincingly, although BMW's button-heavy ergonomics remain. The navigation system is a joke, making us almost wish for iDrive." -- Car and Driver
  • "Audio and climate controls are logically arrayed and marked, but some are a bit out of easy reach. The navigation system includes a screen that flips up from the dashtop at eye level. It only absorbs a few audio functions, but some testers find it difficult to program." -- Consumer Guide

Cargo

With the rear seats folded down, the X3 provides 71 cubic feet of cargo space. This is quite respectable for a compact SUV and beats out some competitors. By contrast, the Audi Q5 provides only 57.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Interior storage areas, however, are sparse. They include a front center console armrest, storage nets on the front seatbacks and front passenger footwell, and dual cupholders.

  • "Cargo area, at 71 cubic feet, is impressive." -- Automotive.com
  • "Storage throughout the cabin is generous: each front door has two lower bins, both fully enclosed for more secure small-item storage." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • "Cargo area has compact station wagon floor space but SUV height. Rear seatbacks fold without removing the headrests or flipping the lower cushion, but don't rest fully flat. Generous front-door map pockets are nice, but interior storage is meager otherwise." -- Consumer Guide