Space and practicality
Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot
Of this trio, the Golf is the one you’d choose if you had to sit in the back on a long trip. The margins aren’t huge over the A3, but the extra centimetre or two of leg and head room do make a difference.
The Civic is most cramped in the rear; head room is quite poor for anyone approaching 6ft tall, although our EX test car’s panoramic glass roof certainly didn’t help matters.
It’s a clear win for the Civic when it comes to boot space, though. Its luggage area is longer and wider than those of its German rivals – and that’s before you’ve factored in the huge underfloor storage area, which can swallow several bags of shopping on its own.
The A3 has the smallest boot, but again, the margin by which it loses out to the Golf is small – hardly surprising, given that both cars share the same basic underpinnings.
All of our contenders have 60/40 split-folding rear seats as standard, although the A3 is offered with a more convenient 20/40/40 arrangement if you’re prepared to cough up an extra £250.
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