New Volkswagen Golf and Seat Leon vs Ford Focus: practicality

We pit the all-new Volkswagen Golf and Seat Leon against the big-selling Ford Focus to see which is the best family hatchback on sale today...

2020 Volkswagen Golf rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

Front space is fine in all three; rear seat space is where the real differences are. The new Golf isn’t much different from the old model, with enough rear head and leg room for anyone around six feet fall but not a lot of the latter to spare. The Focus and Leon have plenty left over; even if you’re tall and sitting behind someone who has slid their seat back, your knees will have loads of clearance.

The Focus and Leon are also far more accommodating when you need to carry a third adult in the back; anyone sitting in the middle rear seat of the Golf will really struggle for leg room.

2020 Seat Leon rear seats

To make matters worse, getting into the Golf’s middle seat to start with is also trickiest, especially if you have big feet, not least because of the awkwardly positioned USB sockets; it would be easy to kick, and potentially damage, any cables plugged into them. The Focus doesn’t have the high central floor hump of the Leon and Golf, so it has the most foot room for a middle rear passenger.

Both the Focus and Leon have above-average-sized boots for the family car class, taking six carry-on suitcases below the parcel shelf with room left over. The Golf? Well, it managed just five cases.

2020 Ford Focus rear seats

On the up side, the Golf is the only one with a height-adjustable boot floor that creates a separate compartment below when it’s raised to its highest position. Doing this also reduces the size of the lip at the boot entrance – handy if you’re heaving heavy items in or out. In the Focus and Leon, there’s a substantial drop down to the boot floor.

When you drop the rear seatbacks in the Focus and Leon (all three have a 60/40 split), you’re left with a step in the floor of the extended load bay. That’s something else the Golf’s height-adjustable floor can sort out; it creates a flat floor all the way to the front seats, so you can slide long loads in more easily. Speaking of long loads, the Leon and Golf also have a ski hatch, which adds a bit more flexibility.

Boot space

Volkswagen Golf

2020 Volkswagen Golf boot

Boot 381-1237 litres Suitcases 5

Seat Leon

2020 Seat Leon boot

Boot 380-na litres Suitcases 6

Ford Focus

2020 Ford Focus boot

Boot 341-1320 litres Suitcases 6

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