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Telebest: 9 best family hatchbacks to buy

By Paul Connolly

Family hatchbacks are amongst the hardest-working cars around: school runs, weekly shopping trips, dog to the vet, commuting – you name it, the family hatchback is expected to be able to cope with a wide variety of tasks.

It’s a very competitive market with a good range of choice that can sometimes get confusing. But what are the best in our opinion.

All prices are a general guide only and are subject to change for a variety of reasons including discounting, offers, new innovations, manufacturer price rises, etc.

Honda Civic:

The British-built Civic has evolved again – and the new generation car is the best yet. It looks great, drives excellently thanks to a new suspension set-up and is very versatile.

In five-door hatchback style only (no three-door or estate versions yet anyway), the exterior and interior have been redesigned into a truly compelling package. If you’ve a few extra bucks you could always go for sporty Si trim or even the thrilling Type-R hot hatch. Price around the 18k.

Honda Civic

Renault Megane:

Renault are making some seriously nice cars these days and the Megane is no exception. It’s more upmarket than its predecessor, and an attractive dash dominated with a large tablet-style touchscreen.

Keen pricing, excellent technology including phone connectivity, and a good range of engines make it an attractive choice. From around £17k.

Renault Megane

Seat Leon:

The old adage that if you buy a Leon you get a Golf is true, but the price difference has narrowed down the years.

However, Seat has given the Leon sharper styling and more personality to ensure there is clear blue water between it and the mighty German cousin. That said, you still get the same petrol and diesel engines that power the Golf. Available in three and five doors and an estte. Priced around the £17k mark.

Seat Leon

Peugeot 308:

Peugeot has moved determinedly upmarket into VW territory lately – hardly surprising with the likes of Asian competitors like Hyundai and Kia snapping at its heels.

The latest 308 has the Golf in its sights, and is distinctly better than its predecessor. It looks great, has lots of little luxuries, a good -sized boot and the engines are amongst the most economical in this sector. Look for offers in and around the £16k mark.


VW Golf:

No round-up of family hatchbacks would be complete of course without mentioning the Golf.

Now in its seventh generation, it good a mid-life facelift in 2017 to counter some suggestions it was a little too bank manager-ish in looks. Great build quality, tech, driving ability and engine choice make it a winner. Around £19k.

The VW Golf

Ford Focus:

Not for nothing is the Focus the UK’s best-selling family hatch. It’s excellent to drive, looks good and has a massive range of engines and models.

These include everything from no-frills entry level cars to the powerful Focus ST hot hatch.

Leg and headroom is good front and back, although some rivals have bigger boots. Look for offers in and around the £16k mark.


Vauxhall Astra:

Another long-standing favourite, the Astra is a regular top 10 performer in the UK family hatch charts.

The most recent model is quieter, roomier, lighter and more economical. And it’s better looking, too. All of the above meant it bagged the 2016 European Car of the Year award – no mean feat. From around £15.5k.

The Astra

Hyundai i30:

As Hyundai increasingly looks to step on German toes, the i30 has become increasingly impressive.

The five-year warranty is an obvious attraction, but it’s the overall build quality, levels of standard kit and tech and efficiency and economy that make this a tempting proposition.

From around the £16k mark.

Hyundai i30


Efficient, reliable and always a little bit different, Mazda may be less well known than major brands, but it’s always a car to look out for.

The Mazda3 has a very economical and reliable non-turbo engine and comes as identically-priced four-door saloon or five door hatchback.

A 2017 refresh upped the ante in terms of cabin quality, handling and technology. Priced from just under £18k.

1246987_2017 Mazda3 MAIN.jpg
The Maza 3

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