Used BMW 1 Series review: 2011 to 2019 (Mk2) - Practicality and boot space
The BMW 1 Series is one of the less practical family hatchbacks, but it will be roomy enough for most people
Buying a sportier car usually means having to sacrifice some practicality, but the second-generation BMW 1 Series has a lot more space inside than before. It still doesn’t look great next to practicality-focused rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf, however.
Only choose the three-door version if carrying passengers in the back is not a big priority, as clambering into the back seats through the narrow gap is ungainly at the best of times. Plus, it can be hard to open the long doors if you’re stuck in a row of tight parking spaces. In both bodystyles the rear-drive layout means there’s a tall transmission tunnel in the middle of the rear floor, so the middle seat in the back is only really suitable for kids.
Another issue for families is that in the five-door the wheelarches intrude into the rear seat space, which means they can get in the way if you’re fitting a child seat. The rear side panels extend further back than the doors themselves, making it hard to open the doors wide if you’re in a tight parking space.
How big is the BMW 1 Series?
The exact length, width and height of the BMW 1 Series depends on which version you’re looking at because there are small differences in trim and in versions with different-sized wheels and body kits. In general, though, the car is about 4.3m long, 1.8m wide and 1.4m tall. It’s longer than an Audi A3, but it’s not as wide or tall as that rival. It’s nice and easy to park and place on the road as a result and should fit into a single garage easily.
How much space is there for passengers?
Once they’re settled in the back, rear passengers will notice a decent amount of headroom, and although there isn’t much space to stretch out, the 1 Series is easier to get comfortable in than the Lexus CT 200h or Mercedes A-Class.
Up front, the driver and front-seat passenger have plenty of space, and the wide door pockets can swallow up to three drinks bottles. There are also two cupholders in the centre console and even more space in the deep glovebox, as well as the dividing armrest.
How big is the boot?
The BMW 1 Series’ boot can carry 360 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place. Drop them down and they create a virtually flat loading area that will swallow an impressive 1,200 litres. A low lip means you might be surprised by what you can lift into the back, with larger suitcases and bikes posing no problem at all, though the boot opening doesn't seem as wide as some of its rivals. Still, outright space is fractionally more than you'll find in a Lexus CT or Mercedes A-Class, but not by enough to be a deal-breaker.
As standard, the 1 Series came with a 60:40 split between the rear seats, but some models will have a 20:40:20 seat added by the original buyers. You should also look out for models with the Extended Storage Pack, which adds 12v sockets, more cubbies and nets in the back seats, plus another net in the boot for securing loose items of shopping.