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Hyundai Ioniq 5 vs BMW iX3 vs Volvo XC40 Recharge: interior and infotainment

While the iX3 and XC40 interiors are as well built as you’d expect from their respective brands, the Ioniq 5 is simply more comfortable and packed with technology

Hyundai Ioniq 5

As is the case with BMW's combustion-engined SUVs, few rivals can touch the iX3 when it comes to interior build quality. Everything feels incredibly solid and the materials are a cut above its rivals here – neither of which feels particularly cheap, mind you. The driving position offers a huge range of adjustment and a panoramic sunroof makes the space feel more open. 

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BMW’s iDrive remains one of the best car infotainment systems on the market right now. Every iX3 comes with BMW Live Cockpit Professional, featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. You can either use the touchscreen interface or the iDrive rotary dial in the centre console, but either way the menus are easy to navigate and the graphics are crystal-clear. Similarly, the fully digital dials are sharp and easy to read.

Inside, the XC40 features the same modern, clean and understated design as everything else in Volvo’s current line-up. The carpet used on both the floor and doors is created from recycled bottles, which is not only in keeping with the Swedish brand’s sustainable approach, but also reduces the amount of hard surfaces in the car’s cabin. 

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There's a set of digital dials behind the steering wheel, while in the centre of the dashboard is a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen running Google’s Android Automotive operating system. It includes a full suite of Google Automotive services, including Google Assistant and Google Maps, similar to the unit found in the Polestar 2. In October 2021, Volvo also introduced a Range Assistant app for the XC40, which can help you maximise and monitor accurate, real-time electric range.

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However, while the BMW and Volvo interiors feel somewhat conventional, the Hyundai’s cabin design stands out as much as its exterior styling does. It feels luxurious and spacious inside; even in the black colour scheme of our car, it seems so much airier than its rivals here – helped in no small part by the flat floor and wide dashboard. Quality is great; the feel of the control stalks behind the wheel in particular is the best here, although the vast expanses of rather plain plastics on the doors look a little unfinished. It’s not quite as solid as the near-flawless BMW, but it’s on par with the Volvo for sure.

All versions of the Ioniq 5 get a pair of 12.3-inch screens: one behind the wheel, and another central one for the infotainment. The system features a similar interface to other Hyundais, but its graphics are much cleaner. The digital driver’s display is also intuitive and easy to read, but perhaps doesn’t boast the same resolution as the very best out there. What is good is how well the driver assist systems are integrated. For example, Ioniq 5s with blind-spot cameras display the images in real time in the instrument panel when the indicators are turned on.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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