Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
You’re unlikely to grumble about space in the front, even if you tower over most of your friends and colleagues. The seats slide back a long way and there’s plenty of head room, although the optional panoramic roof (part of the Premium Plus package) does reduce head room by about six centimetres, so bear that in mind.
The door pockets are big enough for a couple of 500ml bottles of water and there are two suitably deep cupholders in front of the infotainment touchpad, as well as a decent glovebox and storage under the large centre armrest.
Anyone over six feet tall won’t exactly be sprawling out in luxury, but neither will they be packed in with knees tucked up under their chin. Put simply, the A Class is better than average for rear-seat space and roughly on a par with its key rivals, the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf. Just remember that, if you can live without a premium badge, there are much roomier family cars out there, like the Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus.
The A Class has a lower hump in the centre of its rear floor than the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, but getting in through the A3's rear doors is easier and its broader interior proves slightly better suited to seating three adults side-by-side. You'll need to stump up for the optional Premium Package if you want your passengers to benefit from a rear centre armrest; this is a curious thing to be optional on a premium car, and one you have to add to the BMW 1 Series, too.
Seat folding and flexibility
Electric front seats (with lumbar adjustment and a memory function) are available as part of the very expensive Premium Plus Package. In their absence, the front passenger gets a manual seat with fore, aft, backrest angle and height adjustment. The seat squab can also be lengthened for better under-thigh support.
All versions of the A Class come with the flexibility of 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, which are better than the standard 60/40 seats you get with a BMW 1 Series.
There’s nothing spectacular about the boot of the A Class, although it’s spacious enough for a big weekly shop or a weekend in the country. In fact, in our practicality tests, the A Class and A3 tied by swallowing six carry-on suitcases, although it was less of a squeeze to get them in the Audi. The 1 Series, meanwhile, managed only five, although it does have more under-floor storage. The A250e's boot is a little smaller – blame space taken by its extra hybrid batteries for this.
Drop the split-folding rear seats and you end up with a large, flat, extended load space. However, the lip at the boot's entrance is a bit annoying; it creates an obstacle that you have to heave heavy items over. Rivals, such as the A3 and Golf, have a height-adjustable boot floor to mitigate this failing, and it’s a bit of a shame that's not available on the A Class.