The front seats are mounted low to the floor – which means tall drivers will have plenty of head room. There’s a pair of cupholders ahead of the gearstick, and the door bins will hold water bottles, although they are a little shallow. The glovebox is a decent size, and there is a central armrest, which has a shallow cubby for storing a small-ish mobile phone.
Our only gripe is with the front doors, which don’t open that wide, so getting in to the driver or front passenger seat can be a tricky manoeuvre, even in the three-door version with its longer doors.
BMW 1 Series rear space
Two passengers will be relatively comfortable, although those with a tall driver in front of them will find their knees touching the front seat backs, and head room will be tight for anyone approaching six feet tall. A third, central, passenger won’t be terribly happy, either, because the high transmission tunnel will obstruct their feet.
You can fit child seats to the standard Isofix mounting points with relative ease, but rear access isn’t the best because the doors on five-door models are quite short, the opening is narrow and the roof isn’t as high as in some rivals. Access in the three-door is tricky, too, because the wheelarch cuts into the door aperture and leaves a narrow opening to climb through.
Useful optional extras include an extended storage pack, which features storage pockets for the front seat backs, luggage nets in the boot and cupholder trays for stowing smaller items.
BMW 1 Series seating flexibility
The rear bench is split 60:40, so two people can sit in the back when you’re carrying longer luggage. There’s also the option of a ski hatch, which splits the seats 40:20:40. Most of the 1 Series’ rivals are similarly conventional, but there are no clever tricks like sliding or reclining seats. Still, folding the seats is easy enough, and the rear headrests flip automatically to make them lie flat for better rear visibility when you don’t have anyone in the back.
The front seats in the three-door model return to their original position after you’ve tilted them forwards to allow access to the back seats.
BMW 1 Series boot space
This is another area where BMW’s family hatch is good rather than outstanding. The 1 Series’ boot is only marginally smaller than in rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 Sportback. It has a small loading lip, too, so it’s easy to drop your luggage down inside, and if you drop the rear seats you get a flat, uninterrupted loadbay.
There are options such as elastic nets that are handy for lashing down loose bags or heavier items, but the standard car has plenty of bag hooks and lashing eyes to help secure whatever you want to stow inside. It’s only a shame that there’s no variable-height boot floor to help section off the boot, as you get in many rivals.
The 1 Series’ boot is also quite narrow, so you might struggle to fit a stroller or set of golf clubs inside even with the rear seats folded.