2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test

Cargo Space


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2012 BMW X3: Home Storage in Cargo Area

January 10, 2013

2012 BMW X3

A new year means new resolutions. I decided to get organized. And by that I mean I decided to buy some home storage supplies to get some of the crap off of my junk room floor. I chose the BMW X3 to be my weekend companion.

My middle bedroom has become my home business center (printer, tripod, paper supplies), fitness room (unused Pilates machine, unused stepper, unused...you get the point), and random storage room (everything else that has no place).

So off to Osh I went. They had plastic storage containers and rolling carts on sale. Everyone else in my neighborhood, it seems, had the same idea. I dropped the seats in the X3 and filled the back with all kinds of things to make me feel better organized.

I actually went home and used them, too. I even put together my own shelves.

A clutter-free home means a clutter-free mind.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 22,869 miles

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2012 BMW X3: Wearing Well

January 7, 2013

2012 BMW X3

We're well past the 20,000-mile mark on the X3 now and its interior is holding up very well. Its front seat — even the bolsters — show virtually no wear. Carpets in both the driver's foot well and the cargo area appear rugged and the shifter still looks new. It's what we expect in all cars at the end of a long-term test.

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2012 BMW X3: Dog Report

January 4, 2013

2012 BMW X3

We lucked out with taking our 2012 BMW X3 for our Christmas road trip up north. "Score" because we were hauling three adults, all their gear, Christmas presents and my dog Mya. I could have sworn I did a dog report on this car before but turns out that was editor Scott Oldham who put his dog in the cargo area.

I usually buckle Mya in. And as you can see she's all comfy and cozy in the X3's backseat. There was some minor complaint from my brother the other backseat passenger, "She keeps kicking me" but that was the extent of it. The X3's backseat comes with all the comforts for dogs: rear vents for air, screens for privacy as well as easy-to-clean leather and lots of storage space for her gear.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 BMW X3: Hauls a 12-ft. Christmas Tree

December 24, 2012

2012 BMW X3

My plan was to haul home the Oldham family Christmas tree on the roof of our long-term 1987 Buick Grand National. I'm rebellious that way, and I knew such a jerk move would fire up the haters and firing up the haters has become a hobby of mine lately.

But I reconsidered. Strapping a 12-foot tall and very heavy Christmas tree to the original paint of our pristine 25-year old Buick would not be cool. So I used our long-term 2012 BMW X3, which has become a favorite of mine since it joined our fleet 11 months ago.

It was a smart move. The X3 handled the job without any drama, despite the large size of the tree and my children insisting that they help strap it to the roof. Thankfully it didn't fly off on the short drive home, but it wasn't exactly 100% secure either. We kept a close eye on it through the X3's large glass sunroof and it shifted more than a few of times. Next year I think we'll get a smaller tree.

Merry Christmas.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 21,200 miles

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2012 BMW X3: Perfect for Glamping?

October 30, 2012

bmwx3bed.jpg

This past weekend we took our long-term 2012 BMW X3 to Anza-Borrego Desert in San Diego County for an overnight camping trip. I scored the back of the X3, which has a maximum cargo volume of 63.3 cubic feet, since there wasn't enough room in the two-man tent for two people AND a dog. My dog Mya's snoring usually wakes me up anyway. Here's my review.

Pros: Quiet cabin that kept out the sounds from the nearby bonfire shenanigans, rear-seat shades shielded bed from some of the morning sunlight, pockets on front-seat backs provide perfect spot for storing flashlight and smartphone for easy access, not completely fold flat but not too much of an incline, those with phobias don't feel as vulnerable to wild animals or ax murderers than they would in a tent.

Cons: Those taller than 5'6" will have to sleep at an angle, as it was I had to scooch up a bit putting the top of my head between the front seats so that my feet wouldn't hit the liftgate.

Since I'm not much of a camper, I actually preferred sleeping in the X3 to a tent. Even though the "bed" was still hard despite using a Thermarest and cushion, I was able to sleep straight through most of the night. I would definitely sleep there again.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 BMW X3: Convenient Cubby

October 9, 2012

Lots of room for groceries and stuff in the back of our 2012 BMW X3. I especially like this side nook with netting. It's a perfect spot to hold bottles and keep them from rolling around the back.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 BMW X3: Packed

October 4, 2012

My family of four (two grown-ups and two kids under age 7) recently took our long-term X3 on a weekend trip up the California coast for some pool and beach time. We did our best to pare down what we brought (both to save space and because my husband is a minimalist). Here is an exhaustive list of what we crammed into the BMW's cargo space:

-- medium soft-sided suitcase

-- large messenger bag

-- large hard-sided cooler

-- medium kid's duffle bag

-- Ikea bag full to the brim of soft items

-- laptop bag

-- medium promotional backpack

-- pail of sand toys

-- pool noodle

-- large kite still in its package

-- hat

We had to put the kids' other toys in the cabin with them (which they preferred anyway), and it all felt fairly tight, but it wasn't uncomfortable.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com, @ 17,119 miles

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2012 BMW X3: No Beeps

September 17, 2012

See that "close" button on the X3's hatch? It's yet to emit any sort of beep when I hit it, which is refreshing.

Hey Toyota, did you hear that?

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

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2012 BMW X3: More News From Cargo Land

September 12, 2012

In Monday's post on the X3's supremely awesome reversible cargo cover I forgot to mention what's underneath it. As you can see here there's not a lot of storage, but there is enough for a pair of stinky gym shoes you'll forget about until the next time you climb inside.

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2012 BMW X3: The Box

September 10, 2012

So our X3 has this handy-dandy collapsable vinyl box floating around it its cargo compartment which appears to store perfectly in the elastic thingy on the passenger-side cargo area wall. An unusual accessory, but one that I suspect could be quite useful.

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2012 BMW X3: It Fits My Life

August 27, 2012

This was a first for me. I kept a long-term vehicle for an entire week. It's not that I had any grand plans or anything, I just happened to keep signing it out. In the process, I realized it's a perfect match for me.

No, I haven't lost my mind and forsaken ridiculously small sports cars and sportbikes that tempt fate; those will always be part of my DNA. The X3 just happens to fit the rest (majority) of my life. It easily accommodates a pair of golf bags. All of the essentials for a CasaHashi cookout can be transported in one trip. It's upscale enough to get respect from the valets at a nice restaurant and it's a pretty good date car, allowing a yet-to-be-discovered companion to enter/egress with grace and ease.

But the X3 is also pretty entertaining, too. Late one night on a darkened serpentine road, I decided to drive with a little more verve than normal, and this little SUV performed like a champ. I didn't even bother switching into sport mode. The shift paddles gave me the power control I needed and the X3 carved some gorgeous turns.

Throughout the last week, I piled said golf bags, tons of photo equipment and groceries into the X3 without any issues. The kicker was when Riswick and I, after finishing a round of golf, dropped by my parents' house to pick up some precious cargo: my grandfather's first-edition Eames molded plywood lounge chair from 1946. This is going to look great in my pad.

As I tied it down to the sliding anchors, James proclaimed it the six-seat X3 option and promptly gave it a try. What an odd Canuck.

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2012 BMW X3: Couple Notes on Luggage

August 23, 2012

I never got around to sharing all my thoughts from my 3,000-mile road trip in our long-term 2012 BMW X3, so here's another installment. Let's talk about luggage. Of course it's no surprise that a couple rollaboard bags (one carryon-size, one a bit larger) fit in the X3's cargo bay, but early in the trip, we noted they had a tendency to slide around and bang into the seatback and tailgate.

Then, we got a little smarter and pulled the X3's stretchy cargo net over the bags and attached the net's clips to the four tie-downs. If I'd thought about it a little more, I would have adjusted the positioning of the tie-downs on their tracks so that the net would have covered the bags a little more securely. Even with this suboptimal arrangement, the bags were prevented from sliding.

One more note, you'll notice there's no protective strip on the X3's rear bumper. I have no doubt I could get one as an accessory from a BMW dealer (although a source tells me BMW doesn't offer an official OEM bumper cover). For now, it's a minor annoyance that our long-termer doesn't have one -- we had to be hyper-diligent to make sure the bags cleared the bumper when loading and unloading to avoid scratching the paint.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2012 BMW X3: A Little Haulin'

March 28, 2012

bmw-x3-crg1.jpg

Some argue that the BMW X3 isn't that much bigger the 3 Series sedan, but I dare say it was easier to toss these moving boxes into the small SUV's cargo hold than it would have been to wedge them into the trunk of a sedan.

With the second-row seats folded down, the X3 becomes quite capable.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 BMW X3: Does the Dog Fit?

April 17, 2012

X3-and-Bandit-3.jpg

Yes he does. Bandit, my 65 pound, 11 year old mutt, does fit quite nicely in the back of our long-term 2012 BMW X3. He seemed happy back there both to and from the local dog park. And the X3's rear bumper is low enough that he could jump in and out on his own.

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2012 BMW X3: Why SUVs are Popular

June 27, 2012

bmw-x3-crg2.jpg

I'm reminded of this every time I load up this X3 with random stuff like groceries. SUVs are easy. Most of the time, there's no "packing" involved, you just throw stuff in and it fits. And on small SUVs like the X3, the liftover height is minimal so most stuff can be slid in without a hitch.

Personally, I would always rather have a sedan because of the handling characteristics, but modern small SUVs like this X3 are hard to beat if you can live without that extra level of handling and control. In other words, 99% of most car buyers.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2012 BMW X3: Will You Ever Use These Cargo Rails?

March 29, 2012

BMW X3 cargo area rails.jpg

Seriously? Are you going to use these fancy cargo compartment rails? They seem like a hassle with little payoff. And dirt, debris, and who-knows-what could fall in there and jam them.

I checked the BMW accessory site, and the depicted use is pretty lame, like strapping down a toy car. I would think you're just going to toss it in there and block it with something else. And a strap to keep a suitcase from sliding around? I didn't realize this was an issue.

Another staffer said he has used used them for a bike and a tool box, using motorcycle tie-downs. And also with luggage, but not using the $177 BMW luggage compartment lashing straps.

Do any of you use these cargo rails? What do the rest of you think?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 4,950 miles

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