Used test – premium unleaded: BMW 1 Series vs Volkswagen Golf

These classy hatchbacks are plentiful in petrol form – but which one is the perfect antidote to the current diesel funk?...

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What Car? team
30 Apr 2016 6:0 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 0:3

What are they like inside?

The BMW 1 Series's interior is thoughtfully laid out and clearly labelled. Quality is generally impressive, too; prod most of the surfaces and you’ll find soft-touch plastics, and all the switches and buttons have a solid action. Only a few areas of the dashboard, such as the glovebox lid, feel disappointingly hard and scratchy. But on the plus side, the design of the dashboard is pretty attractive, with swooping lines and a neat instrument binnacle.

The BMW’s interior would seem positively upmarket compared with most cars’, but the Golf’s looks and feels even plusher. It’s virtually impossible to fault – even though the staid design is unlikely to get your heart pumping.

Used test – premium unleaded: BMW 1 Series vs Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf’s driving position is also tough to find fault with, and there’s loads of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel to enable almost anyone to get comfortable.

The situation isn’t so good in the 1 Series. The pedals are set too far to the right, so you sit at a strange angle, and soon find yourself wedged against the left side of the seat as you unintentionally twist yourself round to suit.

The earlier 1 Series model really fell down when it came to space in the back. Fortunately, this later version is much better, but even so there’s significantly less leg, head and shoulder room than there is in the Golf. The BMW has a shorter and narrower boot, too, so there’s less luggage space. It’s also tricky to lift heavy items into the boot and over the high lip.

Used test – premium unleaded: BMW 1 Series vs Volkswagen Golf