Luxo hatchbacks: the group test
Which of these pulls off the ‘small car, big thinking’ trick best? Ollie Marriage investigates
Posted: 19 Dec 2012
Which brings us on to practicality. Because you should be as shocked as I am to learn that the BMW, despite all the rear-wheel-drive gubbins packed into the back, has the biggest boot. It's at least as generous for passengers as the Merc, and nothing, not even the Volvo, feels as perfect when you drop into the driver's seat. It fits. Doesn't seem to matter what size or shape you are, you get in the 1-Series, and everything from the steering wheel to the pedals and gearlever is precisely where you want it.
The V40 manages to pull off the same trick nearly as well, just with a more sedate feel. Mind you don't judge the interior on first impressions, which will likely be coloured by the huddled nest of buttons on the centre console. After a short while, you realise how well organised they are, the only snag being that - unlike the other three with their transmission-tunnel-mounted Comand/MMI/iDrive controls - here you have nowhere to rest your elbow while prodding buttons.