$9,464 - $10,154

2010 BMW X5 Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2010 BMW X5 was new.


Interior: 8.2

With loads of high-tech and comfort features, the X5's cabin is indulgent and upscale. Nonetheless, several reviewers continue to complain about the complicated iDrive interface.

  • "Interior materials exhibit a nice blend of durability and luxury, and are assembled with care. Cabin color choice plays a major role in perception of materials quality. Monotone black cabin appears stark when compared with richer beige and brown trim." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The interior is superbly finished ... there's a nice-sized glove box and deep storage well in the center console." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Ergonomically pleasing and attractively styled, the X5's interior has lost little of its class and quality. Highs are the lovely round instruments, the tasteful mix of materials, and the large, in-dash color monitor; lows are second-rate plastics here and there, the pointless insert-key-then-push-button starter, and the absence of shift paddles." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "A luxurious cabin with top-notch materials and admirable build quality furthers the X5's desirability, as do exceptionally comfortable front seats." -- Edmunds


All reviewers agree that the front seats of the BMW X5 are comfortable. However, the optional third row (a $1,700 option) is noticeably cramped for a midsize SUV. For a more spacious third row, consider the Acura MDX, which costs about $5,000 less than the X5 and has a third row that is better-received by reviewers.

Leatherette upholstery is standard across all models. A rare option is the Active ventilated seat package, which adds front ventilated seats to help keep you cool in warmer months. The Cold Weather Package adds heated front and rear seats.

  • "Second-row occupants have decent headroom, but legroom is unexceptional in 5-passenger versions. The 2nd-row seat reclines on all X5s but slides fore and aft only in seven-seat models, which can increase 2nd-row legroom. The cramped 3rd row suits kids only, and even they won't have much knee space unless the 2nd-row seat is fully forward. Entry and exit to the 3rd row require contortions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Moved to its rearmost position, the second row is a roomy place for adults. Other than its tad-too-firm cushion, center-seat comfort is decent and there's no floor hump to crowd the middle passenger's legs." -- Cars.com
  • "Those requiring an adult-friendly third row should look elsewhere, i.e., at the Land Rover LR3 and the Mercedes-Benz GL450." -- Motor Trend
  • "The second-row seats are mounted a bit too low to the floor, even though headroom is plentiful. Longer-legged passengers will likely bemoan this seating position, as it forces knees upwards. The optional third row is even more cramped and is suitable only for children." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

The X5's standard interior features are luxurious by anyone's standards. Standard on the base model are dual-power outside mirrors, leatherette upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable driver's and passenger's seats and a panoramic moonroof. A rear DVD entertainment system and a navigation system are available.

BMW's climate and entertainment control system, iDrive, is standard on the X5. However, many reviewers find it difficult to learn and use. The system and other controls have been improved for 2010, though test drivers have yet to weigh in on what they think.

  • "Frequently used audio and climate controls are thankfully separate from the iDrive system, but those adjustments governed by iDrive require a long look from the road. The optional navigation system demands frustrating interaction with complex controls and cryptic markings." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Speaking of annoying, many of the features of the X5 are controlled via the dreaded iDrive controller in the center console. But BMW has gone to great lengths to improve the interface since the original version prompted an auto-press pile-on, and I found it quite intuitive to use -- once I got the hang of it. My only real gripe is the voluminous information that is accessed by the system." -- MSN
  • "The interior of the X5 diesel is stylish; its dark walnut wood trim gave my test car a clubby feel. A panoramic moonroof comes standard, which I dig because it opens up the interior. Check it out if you haven't already; your kids will love it, too." -- Mother Proof


The X5's cargo capacity is adequate enough, though it's on the small side for its class. It provides only 7.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. However, when the third row is folded down, it expands space to 18.5 cubic feet. When both the second- and third-row seats are folded, the X5 provides 61.8 cubic feet of space. By contrast, the less expensive Acura MDX trounces the X5 by offering 83.5 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded down. The even more affordable Lexus RX 350 provides 80.3 cubic feet. Reviews say that small-item storage space in the X5's cabin is also lacking.

  • "With the 3rd-row seat up, there's enough room for a row of grocery bags; with it folded, space is good. All seatbacks fold flat to further increase capacity. X5's liftgate has a clamshell design that creates a drop-down tailgate section. High liftover means the tailgate must be dropped to load even moderately sized items. Interior storage is nothing special, and with the optional DVD system, a lowered screen prevents the ‘bomb bay' console lid -- which some testers found inconvenient -- from being opened." -- Consumer Guide
  • "There's plenty of space in the cargo area, and it was easy to get to with the power liftgate. There's a sleek-looking cargo-area cover to hide your latest purchases from prying eyes, as well as a hidden compartment under the cargo floor." -- Mother Proof

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