Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There’s more than enough leg and shoulder room for tall adults up front, and even someone well over six-feet tall is unlikely to find head room wanting.
The minimalist dashboard design doesn’t conceal a huge number of cubbyholes, but there are storage areas ahead of the gearlever and under the central armrest, plus a couple of cupholders in the centre console. The front door bins are big enough for a large water bottle, too.
Anyone over six feet tall won’t exactly be sprawling out in luxury, but neither will they be packed in with their knees tucked up under their chin. The A3 offers a similar amount of space to the Mercedes A-Class, while the BMW 1 Series is very slightly roomier. The cheaper Ford Focus, Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia are all a lot bigger in the back, though.
There isn't much storage space in the back for odds and ends, although the door pockets can hold a small drinks bottle. You can make it more versatile by adding the optional Storage Pack. It's not drastically expensive and among its tally adds map pockets, rear cup holders and a 12-volt socket.
Seat folding and flexibility
The A3’s rear seats aren’t especially innovative. They don’t move back and forth to allow you to prioritise between passenger and boot space, or recline for added comfort, although those features are mainly the preserve of SUVs. The seatbacks split 60/40 in the entry-level Technik trim, with a more flexible 40/20/20 arrangement standard from Sport trim upwards.
The front passenger seat is manually adjustable, including for height, but four-way powered lumbar adjustment costs extra on all but the range-topping trims.
The A3's tailgate opening is a decent size and the square space it reveals is similar in size to the BMW 1 Series' boot – both can fit five carry-on-sized cases under their parcel shelves. The A-Class can go one better than that with six, but that's still miles off the family car load-lugging champ, which is the Skoda Octavia.
If you fold down the rear seats they lie at a slight angle but not enough to cause major issues with loading bulky items. An adjustable boot floor comes as standard on non-hybrid versions. It can be raised to reduce the load lip at the boot's entrance and also ensures there’s no step caused by folding down the rear seats.
The TFSIe hybrid's boot floor sits at that higher level permanently – you can't drop it down because the battery pack is located beneath. It means you lose about 10cm of depth compared with the non-hybrid A3's boot. You can still fit five cases in the TFSIe, which matches the Mercedes A250e and Volkswagen Golf GTE, it's just more of a squeeze. Once again, the Octavia (in iV form) is what you need if you want a hybrid family car with a bigger boot.
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