First class or cattle class? we have bothj
1. FORD FOCUS TITANIUM
Hardy, workmanlike dash miles away from ‘luxury’ despite gimmicky Jaguar-esque rotary selector, brushed aluminium trim and classy night-time lighting. Messy dials seem especially cheap. Still, there’s heaps of room, practicality and functionality, while all the tech is present. Seats provide basic comfort and support front and rear, and there are decent levels of space too. No rear air vents (again) is an annoying omission. A scrappy effort for ‘Titanium’ flagship. Cargo capacity is a useful 375L. Spare is a space saver.
3. MAZDA 3 ASTINA
The latest 3 possesses possibly Mazda’s best-ever smallcar cabin – it’s certainly the quietest. Lovely steering wheel, fine seating, great ergonomics, gorgeous instrumentation, premium controls and fastidious quality set the cocooning Astina apart. However, entry/egress out back is limited due to lower roofline and smaller door apertures, vision out is limited in every direction and back-seat legroom also lags behind Golf’s despite scalloped front seatbacks. Spare is a space saver, but boot volume is just 295L.
2. HOLDEN ASTRA RS-V
Getting on now, the Astra’s interior is at least cohesive, and actually rarely puts a foot wrong in terms of functionality and practicality, but it won’t raise your pulse. Seating is adequate front and rear, but the leather is slippery and most plastics seem bargain-basement. RS-V feels too built down to a price and mean in this company, with no rear vents or centre armrest. Noisiest of the lot by far, too, with noticeable plastics chatter inside on rough roads. Boot offers 360L, spare is a space saver.
4. VW GOLF 110TSI HIGHLINE
Easiest access, great driving position, highest quality, most space, biggest storage and best practicality set Golf apart six years on. Dull, blocky dash houses updated and upgraded multimedia and instrumentation that also keeps VW at the pointy end of the pack. Highline’s seating in both rows is also a class above, feels very Audi-like. Now no longer the quietest with the new 3 here, but it’s refined. Boot capacity is 380L, with a space-saver and the group’s lone ski port.