Best hatchbacks

8 Mar, 2013 10:15am

Our round-up of the 10 best hatchbacks, including the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf and new SEAT Leon

Hatchbacks come in all shapes and sizes but which one is right for you? The answer is to think about how exactly what you need and want from your compact family hatch, and to choose accordingly.

If you’re spending your own cash, chances are you want something that will hold onto its value and won’t go wrong – the last thing you want is to part exchange your car years down the line and realise it is worthless. Equally, nothing will take the gloss off your new pride and joy faster than a series of unscheduled visits to the dealer to have niggles fixed.

In an ideal world you’ll also want a recently updated or renewed model, rather than a car that is soon to be axed - otherwise your new car will begin to look second-hand sooner than it should.

Long warranties and pre-paid servicing deals are attractive add-ons as they take the stress out of car ownership, while advanced safety systems promise to protect your family in the event of an accident.

Efficient engines mean low emissions and, under the current rules, the cleaner the car is, the lower the cost of annual road tax - so economical models are cheaper to tax and provide smaller fuel bills.

Company car buyers need to pay real attention here, because the amount of benefit-in-kind tax you pay on your company car depends on just two factors; its price and emissions. So company drivers will want something that comes with lots of standard kit and the lowest emissions possible, otherwise they risk being slapped with a hefty annual tax bill.

Hybrid models and features like stop-start help here, but just because a car makes sense on paper doesn’t mean it will be right for you. The car of your dreams needs to be big enough to suit your needs and look the part, too, so there’s a lot to consider.

The good news is that Auto Express has done the hard work, so you don’t have to. We've rounded up the 10 best hatchbacks on the market, and you can find out which one's right for you by clicking the links on the left.

Disqus - noscript

Gosh! Its as if Autoexpress could read my thoughts. Every single car in this list richly deserves its place.
The seminal Golf; the ubiquitous Focus; the razor-sharp A-Class and the 1-Series for premium car buyers otherwise called badge snobs.
A3 - the leaser's hero; Mazda 3 - the drivers' favourite; I30 - the vastly improved; the stylish Ceed and V40 for the safety boffins.
Last but not least the vastly restyled Leon which is now arguably the best looking of the VW C-segment cars and the cheapest.

After the Panda's mysterious omission from the city-car top 10 I suppose it's no surprise not to see the Giulietta included here... Both of them much appreciated by everybody except Auto Express. I'd rather stick needles in my eyes than drive many of the cars on these lists.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta sure is a good looking car. Italian style at its best. If you ask me and arguably the most stand-out car in its class.

I'm not a huge fan of Fiat Panda but its an important city car. Not the best looking. But very talented and with a good choice of engines. The only Panda I could consider buying is the 4WD.

I don't know the criteria by which Autoexpress compiles their Top 10 lists but I was surprised to see Skoda Citigo at the top of the list that mostly comprised highly talented B-segment cars.

I could understand Autoexpress placing the little Skoda at the top of the City / A-segment cars. But putting Citigo on top of Ford Fiesta, Audi A1, VW Polo, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio and Honda Jazz seems like an act of desperation.

I can't believe that the Cee'd and i30 are placed above the Focus. If driving enjoyment counts for so little, why is the 1 series in second place? A very strange top ten.

And why not the new C4, it is a much nicer place to be than most on that list and the drive is good, ok not sporty, but still!

Agree with this point, I have the new Civic and it's an excellent car, cannot believe its bettered by all those listed.

If any of you bothered to read the article properly, it does not say anywhere that the list on the left is in Top Ten order, it just says 'We've rounded up the 10 best hatchbacks on the market, and you can find out which one's right for you by clicking the links on the left.'
They are the 10 best hatchbacks on the market, that's why Alfa and Fiat don't appear anywhere, as they are just not good enough - It's ok to have a nice looking body, but it's pointless if the rest of the package is a let-down.

If you bothered to read other magazines you'd see that they rate the Panda and Giulietta as class leaders. For example Autocar rate the Panda as the best car in its class and it has also been the best selling car in its class for years in all of Europe. They rated the Giulietta as better than the Focus and equal to the Golf in a group test, saying they were the 3 class leaders. So you must admit it's strange they don't even get a mention from this magazine.

Actually, yes it is better. Giulietta is all style, no substance. Rebadged Fiat.

You completely lost me when I read the Kia name at number 4.
There are much MUCH better cars that you forgot to mention.
No need to continue reading such a review, thanks for saving me the trouble ;)

Errm, which Fiat exactly did they rebadge??? BTW when Autocar tested Golf, Focus, Giulietta they said they didn't even bother including the Astra because they already knew it was way out of its depth against those 3.

So we have 3 variants of the Golf Platform (Golf, Audi, Seat) 3 variants of Ford Focus Platform (Focus, Volvo & Mazda) 2 near identical Hyundai/Kia, a Merc ad a BMW.

Not exactly a truly representative test without Astra, Megane, 308 etc, etc

Agree - mine has been superb; albeit in 2.0 CDTI Sports Tourer format. 500/1550 litres of space 50mpg TANK average (on 95 mile commute), mega seats (SRI spec ones excellent) and ZERO probs over 35k miles. Ellsmere Port built too.

Just wait Till the New Octy VRS Hits the Streets then it will be Four Cars with the Same Platform on the hot hatch List, im Getting One in mettalic Black Magic gonna be AWESOME .

What a pointless contest.. How about using 5 door versions of all cars and the same engine sizes as the Golf won two categories for performance and practicality which low and behold is because it has the biggest engine and is a five door version!!!!

let the people speak... with their wallets. sales mean a lot.

They are a gorgeous car, regardless of how people pigeon hole it.

And yet by force of habit AE put the number one by a Vw. Shock.

Because AE love German brands and dislike Citroën. But I am with you. There is room for comfy not sporty cars.

1 series? Bought by dickheads.


Umm, it's not in rank order, it's just a list of the ten best....mind you, anything, even a dacia sandero, is better than a ford council-house chavs car.

Wow. You sound really tough.

AEX 1330
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links