Space and practicality
Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot
All three cars can accommodate two six-footers in their front seats with room to spare, but the Skoda has the most head room. Meanwhile, the Mazda’s broad interior offers marginally the most shoulder space.
In the back, the Skoda is roomiest, with noticeably more head room than its rivals. Passengers over six feet tall will find their heads brushing the ceiling in the back of both the Vauxhall and Mazda, with the former providing fractionally the least clearance.
It’s a different story when it comes to leg room, though. The Mazda has the least, but it and the Vauxhall will still seat a couple of tall adults without their knees brushing the front seatbacks. The Skoda, meanwhile, offers luxury limo levels of knee room.
Sitting three adults side by side on a long journey isn’t comfortable in any of our trio, because the middle passenger has to straddle a big tunnel on the floor.
When it comes to boot usability, there’s a fundamental difference: the Skoda and Vauxhall are hatchbacks, whereas the Mazda is a saloon. As such, it’s no surprise that the Skoda and Vauxhall have more practical boots, with the Skoda’s being the biggest; it’s longer and deeper than the others, with a wider opening, and we managed to fit a whopping 10 carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf.
You also get 60/40 split-folding rear seats as standard with the Skoda, although they leave a slight step in the floor of the extended load bay when folded and there’s a big lip at the boot entrance.
That’s not to say the Vauxhall’s boot is an embarrassment, though. It easily swallowed seven carry-on suitcases and its hatch opening is usefully wide. Its boot also has a slightly lower lip at its entrance than the Skoda’s and its rear seats split in a more flexible 40/20/40 configuration and lie flat, with no annoying steps.
Meanwhile, the Mazda’s rear seats split 60/40 and lie flat, too, but the relatively small boot opening makes it tricky to get larger items in to begin with. We managed to squeeze in seven carry-on cases, but only just.
Saloon boot opening impedes access, but we fitted as many cases inside as in the Vauxhall. The Mazda is the worst for rear seat space, although most people will be able to sit comfortably
Boot 489 litres Suitcases 7
A class leader for space; four tall adults will be supremely comfortable inside. The Skoda’s boot is also huge; we fitted 10 cases into it. It’s just a shame there’s a big lip at the entrance
Boot 625-1760 litres Suitcases 10
The Vauxhall’s boot took seven cases and had room for other smaller items around them. Rear space isn’t a match for the Skoda’s, but there’s more leg room than in the Mazda
Boot 490-1450 litres Suitcases 7
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