Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
You’ll have no complaints up front in the 1 Series; there are bigger cars in the class, but compared with its premium rivals it has the most head and leg room, and lots of elbow room, too.
The door bins are a decent size, and you also get a big glovebox and a generous cubby hole under the central armrest. Combined with the tray at the front of the centre console, you'll have plenty of places for your bits and pieces.
This is one of the areas in which this third-generation 1 Series makes the most notable progress over its predecessors. The space on offer is now slightly ahead of its premium rivals, although it still looks a tad stingy in the rear compared with the Seat Leon or palatial Skoda Octavia.
Six-footers will feel their heads just brushing the roof lining, but anyone shorter should be comfortable, even on longer journeys, and there’s slightly more leg room than you get in a Mercedes A-Class, and more foot space under the front seats, too. We'd recommend avoiding the optional panoramic sunroof, though, which creates a curve in the roof lining that swoops down in front of a rear passenger's eye line.
Seat folding and flexibility
As with the A-Class or the Audi A3, there's nothing particularly amazing about the seating flexibility here – you have to pay extra for front passenger adjustable lumbar support on all trims and there are no sliding or reclining rear seats.
Like the entry-level A3 you even have to make do with 60/40 split-rear seats as standard; these aren't as adaptable as the 40/20/40 arrangement that every A-Class gets. Mid-spec A3’s and upwards get 40/20/40 split-folding seats, but in the 1 Series, it’s reserved for the options list across the range.
At 380 litres, the 1 Series’ boot is exactly the same size as the A3’s, and is bigger than the A-Class’s on paper. However, that impressive figure includes the generous space found underneath the boot floor, so in terms of usable space above the floor, the 1 Series actually lags behind the A-Class.
While the boot's boxy shape makes it easy to maximise the space available, ultimately it won't take as much luggage as an A-Class. We were able to get six carry-on cases into the latter below its parcel shelf, while the 1 Series managed five – the same number as the A3.
On the plus side, the boot floor can be clipped out of the way when you're loading items beneath the floor, and there's only a small load lip. You can also add an electric tailgate as a cost option.
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