2012 BMW X3: From a Passenger's POV
April 09, 2012
This weekend we drove the long-term 2012 BMW X3 up to Mammoth Lakes in Central California. Editor JayKav did all of the driving so I'll leave those impressions, plus trip fuel economy, to him. But here's what a front-seat and backseat passenger think of the compact SUV over 600 miles.
Front-seat passenger (me): In terms of seat comfort, honestly I didn't find it especially comfortable. The taut seat leather doesn't have much give so it's kind of hard to sit on for a long period of time. And the side bolsters get in the way of relaxing arms, as they do in most cars equipped with them. Maybe it was just problematic for someone of my stature where the bolsters fall just so, pushing the upper arms forward. And naturally, this is fine for a driver who has both hands on the steering wheel, but for someone who just wants to lie back, it wasn't the best as I kept trying to find a comfortable way to sit.
I did like the fact that as a passenger, I can plug in destinations into the nav system even while the car is moving. Especially crucial when there's no phone signal to access Yelp and you need to find the nearest rest stop.
And since the driver and I tend to disagree on what's a comfortable temperature, dual climate controls were greatly appreciated.
Overall the ride was smooth and quiet.
Backseat passenger: My friend Esther shared the backseat with a couple of snowboards poking in from the cargo area but had nothing but nice things to say about her experience back there. "The seatback is at the right angle to be comfortable. Usually backseats that don't adjust tend to be too upright for me," she said. And since she's 5'4" she enjoyed plenty of legroom and even stuck her big purse in the footwell.
Having rear controls was also nice as she could adjust fan speed and temperature via the handy dandy dials located behind the front center console.
But she ended up storing her small water bottle in the door bin instead of the fold-down armrest with the cupholders, for more elbow room.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 6,355 miles