BMW i4 vs Tesla Model 3 vs Polestar 2: space and practicality
Large hatchback tailgates make loading the i4 and Polestar 2 easy, but the clever packaging, extra cabin space and large frunk of the Model 3 can’t be topped
The margins may be small, but in terms of head and legroom in the rear, the Model 3 is the most spacious of this trio. It’s the only car here with a completely flat floor, too, so there’s more space for passengers to stretch their legs, and it’s the best at holding three people in the back. The storage spaces in the Tesla are also generous, including the deep door pockets in the front and rear. Between the front seats are two huge central bins, and under the central touchscreen is a wireless charging pad that can top up two smartphones simultaneously while holding them in place well.
The Tesla also gets the largest ‘frunk’ in the nose, which is perfect for storing the charging cables away from anything else you might need to carry. However, even with the boot and ‘frunk’ taken together, the Model 3’s 425 litres of cargo space is the smallest here, and it’s a shame that the tailgate is so small – you might expect a hatchback rear, but despite the body shape, it’s an awkward saloon opening. This point aside, the Model 3 is packaged very cleverly.
The BMW, on the other hand, has zero storage space under its bonnet, unlike its rivals here. But, despite this, the i4’s 470 litres is still more than the figures quoted for the other two cars, which are the capacities of the front and rear cargo areas combined. One of the benefits of using the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s body as a starting point is that the i4 benefits from a practical hatchback tailgate, so the boot is much more accessible than the Model 3’s. The rear seats fold down, too, creating a total capacity of 1,290 litres. Unfortunately, there’s a large hump in the floor and a narrow middle seat in the rear, so the i4 is best suited to carrying two adults in the back at best – not three like the Tesla can happily handle.
Then there’s the Polestar, which gets a 405-litre boot that isn’t quite as large as the BMW’s, but the Swede also benefits from a large hatchback opening like the i4. There are plenty of useful features, too, such as the folding partition that keeps smaller items in place. There’s also strapping, nets and a 12-volt socket. In terms of passenger space, the Polestar is almost a match for the BMW, with only a few millimetres in the i4’s favour when it comes to kneeroom, and in all other areas the Polestar 2 is comfortable.
The Polestar’s cubby spaces, however, are the least impressive here. The door bins are shallow and the central cubby is quite small. If you like a direct breeze from the air-conditioning system, then the central vents’ position high on the dashboard and behind the touchscreen probably won’t work well for you. All three cars’ charging ports are located in similar positions to the fuel-filler door on a combustion-engined model. The Tesla’s is the neatest, with the opening integrated into the edge of the nearside tail-light.
In This Review
- 1IntroCan the ever-popular Tesla Model 3 fend off new rivals the BMW i4 and Polestar 2? Let’s find out…
- 2Range and chargingWe can’t but applaud the performance and efficiency of the Model 3 Long Range, while exclusive access to the Supercharger network makes long journeys simpler and less stressful
- 3Performance and handlingThe i4 excels in this company as the true driver’s EV, as well as offering refinement and ride comfort that make it great on longer journeys
- 4Space and practicality - currently readingLarge hatchback tailgates make loading the i4 and Polestar 2 easy, but the clever packaging, extra cabin space and large frunk of the Model 3 can’t be topped
- 5Interior and infotainmentWhile each infotainment setup here has its own merits and drawbacks, the BMW’s impeachable build quality put it well ahead of the pack
- 6Running costs and warrantyEach EV here has its merits when it comes to running costs, but the Model 3’s extremely high insurance rating is something potential buyers need to be aware of
- 7Safety and reliabilityAll three cars get an impressive list of safety kit, but Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system continues to leads the industry
- 8Verdict and specificationsThe BMW i4 effortlessly claims victory in this company thanks to flawless build quality, flagship-worthy technology and superb handling