New Honda Civic and new Vauxhall Astra vs Seat Leon: practicality

This trio of family hatchbacks each takes a different approach to maximising efficiency. Let's see which one is the best choice...

New Honda Civic rear space

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

There should be very few complaints from those sitting up front, because all three cars come with plenty of head and leg room for six-footers. All of them have cupholders, too, as well as a storage tray for a mobile phone and a centre cubby with a padded lid that doubles as an armrest.

Rear passengers, though, will be happiest in the Seat Leon. It’s the most generous for head room and the most accommodating when you need to squeeze in a middle passenger. Rear leg room in the Honda Civic, meanwhile, is even more plentiful, but its large central floor hump robs foot space for a third occupant, while the sloping roof means anyone tall is likely to find their head brushing on the ceiling.

New Vauxhall Astra rear space

By comparison, the Vauxhall Astra is a little disappointing. Rear head and leg room are limited for a six- footer, while a lack of space for feet beneath the front seats makes it feel even more restrictive. The door openings are relatively small, too;  this takes its toll on ease of access, whether you’re an adult trying to get in or simply leaning through the aperture to load children into their car seats.

All three cars have boots with wide openings that make access easy. The Civic’s and Leon’s boots can each accommodate six carry-on suitcases below their parcel shelves, while the Astra has an appetite for only five.

Seat Leon rear space

Mind you, the Astra is the only car here to offer a height-adjustable boot floor. This feature not only boosts versatility but, when in its highest setting, also eradicates the awkward drop down from the loading lip to the floor of the load bay. That makes it easier to heave bulky items out than it is from the Civic or Leon.

All three of our contenders have 60/40 split-folding rear seats, while the Astra and Leon also have a ski hatch that lets you thread slim items through between two outer rear seat passengers. It’s worth noting, too, that the latter two cars are available in more versatile estate car body styles if you need even more boot space.

Boot space

Honda Civic

New Honda Civic boot space

Boot 415-1220 litres Suitcases 6

Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra boot space

Boot 422-1339 litres Suitcases 5

Seat Leon

Seat Leon boot space

Boot 380-1301 litres Suitcases 5

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