Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs BMW iX3 vs Volvo XC40 Recharge: space and practicality

While the iX3 and XC40 offer similar amounts of interior space, neither can touch the cavernous expanses of the Ioniq 5’s cabin and boot

Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Volvo is the most compact car in this test, being 210mm shorter than the Ioniq 5 and 309mm shorter than the iX3, so it comes as no surprise that it's also the least spacious inside and offers the least amount of boot space. Although, when compared to the BMW’s cabin, there’s little to differentiate the two – rear headroom is pretty much the same, while kneeroom is just a couple of millimetres short of the iX3’s.

The BMW's door pockets are big enough to hold large bottles, while a central compartment hides away the wireless phone charger and a pair of cup-holders when they’re not in use. For the most part, interior storage is well thought out in the XC40, too. There’s a removable waste bin in the centre console and large door pockets. The glovebox is fairly small, however, while four USB-C ports (two in the front, two in the back) plus a 12-volt socket mean you’ll have no problems keeping a family's worth of devices topped up.

The iX3 is physically the largest car here, but while its cabin is just as spacious as the petrol and diesel-powered X3s', it doesn’t make use of its footprint as effectively as the cavernous Hyundai. Rear legroom is where this is most obvious; even taller passengers will have no issues sitting in the back of the BMW, but the Ioniq 5 still tops it with ease.

So, while both the iX3 and XC40 offer enough room for your average family, the Ioniq 5 is a cut above. Step into the back and you’re greeted with limousine-like legroom and around 50mm more kneeroom than the iX3, to be exact. The Ioniq 5’s flat floor also provides plenty of space for feet across all three seats. Headroom is great, too – roughly the same as in the BMW – and the backrests can also recline to give even more space if needed. 

The Hyundai's cabin is filled with useful touches, including a large glovebox that opens like a drawer and a couple of deep cupholders between the front seats. Overall, it's a strong demonstration of the advantages of building your electric car on a dedicated platform, as opposed to adapting a combustion-engined one, as Volvo and BMW have done.

At 527 litres, boot capacity in the Hyundai is larger than both the BMW’s 510 litres and the Volvo's 465 litres. The area it covers is huge, but it’s fairly shallow with a high floor, which makes carrying bulky items a little trickier, particularly compared to the iX3. On the plus side though, the Ioniq 5's bumper is shallow, so it doesn’t get in the way during loading.

Fold the rear seats down, and again the Ioniq 5 tops the other two, with 1,587 litres of space compared to the iX3’s 1,560 and the XC40’s 1,328. There’s also a small space under the Hyundai’s bonnet that’s ideal for storing charging cables. There’s space under the boot floor in the BMW to keep the parcel shelf or the charging cables (but not both at the same time) and the Volvo benefits from a modest 31-litre storage space under the bonnet.

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