The Mercedes has the largest luggage space of the bunch. It holds 310 liters, compared to 370 liters in the conventionally motorized A-classes. That saves 60 cartons of milk. Or, for the lactose intolerants among us: 180 cans of beer!
With the Seat Leon 1.4 e-Hybrid and the Audi A3 Sportback 40 TFSIe, you deliver even more compared to the regular petrol and diesel versions: 100 to 110 liters. So you only have 270 (Seat) or 280 liters (Audi) left. That is considerably less than, for example, the smaller Volkswagen Polo has on offer (350 liters)! Remarkably enough, the Seat offers the most cargo space (1191 liters) with the rear seat folded down. The Audi offers a maximum of 1100 liters, the Mercedes 1125 liters.
Another disadvantage of these plug-in hybrids: you will not find an extra storage compartment under the boot floor, so that the charging cable is always lying around in the luggage compartment.
The space for the occupants of this trio does not suffer from the conversion to a semi-electric car. If you can't find a nice spot in the front, you probably buy your clothes in an extremely large size store. In the back, only the Seat convinces. The Spaniard offers by far the most leg and headroom here. Compared to that, you are actually second-class in the two premium hatchbacks.
We are less enthusiastic about the operation of the Leon. The Spaniards use the same concept for their compact middle class as Volkswagen for the Golf, which means that you hardly find any physical buttons. You can activate and operate almost all functions and systems via screens and soft-touch surfaces. This requires getting used to, attention and time, because for relatively simple adjustments you often have to take a detour in the uncluttered infotainment menu.
The A3 may be closely related to the Leon, but Audi has taken a somewhat more traditional and, in our opinion, more user-friendly route for operation. For example, in the Audi you still have a clear control panel for the climate control. In the Mercedes, you hardly have to use your hands for the most commonly used systems, because you can go a long way with the smart and helpful MBUX voice control.
A lot is possible in the field of safety, but unfortunately not everything is included in the price. For an additional fee, however, you will be extensively pampered, the pads and the preventive electronic angel hair.
Curious about the full test from Auto Review 5/2021? Order the 132-page magazine in our webshop. Then you can immediately compare all figures and sizes and you can read which car wins the comparison.
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