Best used hatchbacks 2021

We round up the best used hatchbacks for 2021 - cars that are great for practicality, running costs and comfort

A used hatchback could be just about the best all-round transport you can buy. These models are designed to be good at everything, and there are so many models out there that offer just that.

There's an enormous amount of hatchbacks available on the second-hand car market, so we've picked out some of the best choices, which you can find below. Each one succeeds in being a great all-rounder, suitable for being your only car all year round.

The family hatchback class is made up of cars that are around the same size as a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus - those cars are often seen as the benchmark in the class. They often come with a huge range of trims and engines, from lowly 1.0-litre petrol models without air-con all the way up to fire-breathing 300bhp hot hatchbacks with all the toys you can think of.

Yet the best of the breed for most people is somewhere in between - a small petrol or diesel engine that brings high fuel economy and good reliability, plus a spacious interior with all the equipment you need and nothing you don't. Read on for our picks.

The best used hatchbacks

  1. Skoda Octavia
  2. Toyota Prius
  3. Volkswagen Golf Mk7
  4. Ford Focus
  5. Vauxhall Astra
  6. SEAT Leon
  7. Kia Ceed Mk2
  8. Renault Megane

1. Skoda Octavia - Used Compact Family Hatchback of the Year 2021

It’s not the most glamorous choice, but if you’re looking to make your budget for a used family hatchback stretch further, then the Octavia is a top pick.

Not only is it great value for money, the Skoda is also the roomiest car in its class and backed by the sort of customer satisfaction scores that have seen the brand score regular high finishes in our annual Driver Power surveys. 

Like all the best family cars, the Octavia appears to have been designed from the inside out. Despite only being a little longer than its most obvious rivals, the Skoda features enough legroom in the rear seats to shame most large executive models, while the car’s vast 590-litre boot will swallow everything you can throw at it. Then there are the numerous thoughtful touches, from the umbrellas stowed under the front seats, to the ice scraper behind the fuel filler flap, and the numerous cubbies and cup-holders that mean this big Czech hatchback takes family life in its stride.

You won’t be left wanting for kit, either. All versions are generously equipped, but the mid-spec SE genuinely has everything you’ll need. Not only does it come with climate control, electric windows and parking sensors, it also has an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment set-up with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and crisp graphics. Importantly for a family car, there’s also lots of safety gear, with autonomous emergency braking and a full complement of seven airbags.

Underneath its handsome exterior, the Octavia is underpinned by the same Volkswagen Group MQB platform as the VW Golf and Audi A3, which means it’s good to drive. Accurate steering and grippy handling combine with a composed ride to ensure that the Skoda is a car that’s as comfortable in the corners as it is cruising on the motorway. And while there’s a wide range of engines, the smooth turbocharged 113bhp 1.0-litre petrol punches well above its weight and delivers wallet-friendly running costs.

Last but not least, all this is yours for less than the price of a new entry-level Skoda Fabia supermini. What’s not to like?

Buyacar finance options

At BuyaCar.co.uk we found a 2019 Octavia 1.0 TSI SE Technology for £11,686. It’s good value to buy, and affordable on PCP finance with monthly payments of £220 based on a £1,050 deposit. It should cost less than £9,000 if you finance

it for three years and then return the car at the end of your contract in good order. But if you’d prefer to own it, a £4,867 optional final payment will make it yours, with no mileage or condition penalty.

See the latest used Skoda Octavia prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

2. Toyota Prius (2016)

The Prius came of age when this fourth-generation version arrived in 2016. Combining the previous car’s smooth and efficient petrol-electric powertrain with genuinely composed ride and handling, the distinctive hatchback proved a hybrid hit. Early cars claim emissions as low as 70g/km CO2, meaning tiny tax bills.

See the latest used Toyota Prius prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

3. Volkswagen Golf Mk7

Just like with the Skoda Octavia above, the Volkswagen Golf has just been replaced with a new model in the showrooms. Yet the Mk7 model that came before was arguably an even better car than the new one, and is now available at a great price if you buy second-hand.

There are a huge amount of choices when it comes to engine and gearbox options. We'd go for a 1.0 or 1.5-litre TSI engine, as these are efficient, quiet and easy to drive. The manual gearbox is a better bet than a DSG automatic as it's more reliable and smoother (the auto tends to be a bit jerky in traffic).

There are Estate models as well if you need more practicality - yet since the normal Golf has a big boot, lots of room in the back and plenty of in-car storage, you probably won't. The Golf is good at just about everything, so it's an easy recommendation and there are thousands for sale at any one time. It's a brilliant choice.

See the latest used Volkswagen Golf prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

4. Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is a great choice of used hatchback if you care about how a car drives. The Focus is one of the most entertaining hatches you can buy, and sits alongside the Mazda 3 in this list when it comes to driver enjoyment. It has quick and responsive steering, punchy engines, a comfy yet controlled chassis and a lovely manual gearbox.

The EcoBoost versions deliver good fuel economy yet are still fun to use, or there are diesel options for those doing high mileages on the motorway. The Focus is comfy and refined at speed, so it's great no matter what kind of road you're on.

It's spacious enough for most, but it's not as practical as the Golf or Octavia - the rear seats aren't quite as roomy.

See the latest used Ford Focus prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

5. Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra's anonymous looks hide what is a fantastic everyday car, so don't overlook it. It's made even better by the fact that there are loads for sale at excellent prices, so it's a bit of a bargain.

The Astra is fun to drive thanks to a range of surprisingly punchy engines, especially the diesels, and an entertaining chassis that stays composed on country roads and is fun through bends. The interior is bland, but it gets the job done, with plenty of tech and comfy seats.

There are auto and manual versions, and while the manual is more fun, the auto is great for those who regularly commute in traffic.

See the latest used Vauxhall Astra prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

6. SEAT Leon

The SEAT Leon is a sister car to the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf, and it's the sharpest to drive of the trio. It has the same engine range, so we can again recommend the 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre TSI petrol units for their frugality and quietness.

You might want to look at the Leon instead of the Golf or Octavia because it's also the most stylish - we reckon the sharp looks are the best of the three. It's good value and comes with loads of tech including smartphone connectivity on most models, so you don't need a version with sat-nav since you can use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay instead.

The Leon is practical, with a big boot and roomy rear seats, and while it's a little stiffer than the Golf or Octavia, it's not uncomfortable.

See the latest used SEAT Leon prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

7. Kia Ceed Mk2

The third-generation Kia Ceed is a much better car than the Mk2 that we're focusing on here, but it's still fairly new so it's quite pricey at the moment. What really appeals about the second-gen car is that it's now very cheap to buy, yet there are models out there that are still covered by the factory seven-year warranty. A 2018 model will still have five years left, which is more than most new cars get.

That means you can be sure that the Ceed will be reliable, and while it's not much of a driver's car, it's comfy enough. It's practical and roomy enough for the family, and has a decent boot. Best of all it's powered by a range of petrol and diesel engines that are very economical, particularly the 1.6-litre diesel which makes a lot of sense for high-mileage drivers.

See the latest used Kia Ceed prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

8. Renault Megane

The Renault Megane is one of the most stylish cars on this list, so may appeal as a family car on that basis alone. Yet the Megane backs up its looks, as it's a great family car with a big boot, lots of room for passengers and an enjoyable driving experience.

It's not the most fun hatchback around unless you choose the impossibly good RenaultSport models, though these cars are much more expensive as they're sought-after by enthusiasts. The basic Megane is comfy and relaxing enough for most, however.

There's a good amount of choice when it comes to engines, and technology is good too. The touchscreens are a bit fiddly to use, though, so check you're happy before buying.

See the latest used Renault Megane prices on our sister site BuyaCar...

Find out more about the best used cars you can buy in each market sector with our Used Car Awards...

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