2010 BMW X3 xDrive28i

Lots of space
4569cm long and 1853cm wide, there’s plenty of room for your stuff. Trust me. I used the test drive to move offices, transporting an entire network of computers, cabinet, desk, 2 chairs and electric piano. (The adjustable heated seats helped my back afterwards.)

Fine handling
Speaking of dimensions, at 1674cm tall it positions you fairly high up, but doesn’t sacrifice the experience of the road. Wide tires, a powerful engine, an all-wheel drive system and 6-speed steptronic transmission, help bring the asphalt closer. The 11.7 metre turning circle is refreshingly tight.

There’s a smoothness to the drive and extra sensitivity in your foot, aided by their ‘valevtronic’ (variable valve timing) system. You can decrease your reliance on the brakes just by being aware and lightening your touch. The sensation doesn’t get old.

A little bit of bling
The designers of this X3 Executive Edition (an $1,100 charge) seem more intent on spoiling the driver — consider the heated steering wheel — but they haven’t forgotten the passengers. Who wouldn’t love the ‘Panorama Sunroof’? It takes up most of the car? Touch the button to slide back the shade and it creates the roomy and open feel of a sunny breakfast nook.

Fuel efficiency – not so much
The valvetronic technology increases efficiency but you’re still buying mucho fuel for the X3. Its girth and guts require plenty of calories to keep it happy: 12.2L/100km in the city and 8.3 on the highway. But what do you want? It’s not pretending to be a compact.

But decent power
The 28i isn’t as muscular as its 30i sister, but there’s more than enough to make your ride home a bit of fun. An inline 6-cylinder engine puts out 215hp, taking you from 0 – 100km in 8.9 seconds. I had it out of the city for the weekend and tried this.

This is a test