Group 8: Family hatchbacks
Practicality, affordability, styling and driving fun... Buyers demand a lot from modern family cars. So which large five-door scores across the board?
If you organised a family car tournament 20 years ago, the overall winner would probably have come from this group. Before the arrival of MPVs and crossovers, the family saloon was the default choice for drivers who needed a spacious and practical model.
The advent of the hatchback added even more flexibility, so for this World Cup test, we’ve stuck to the five-door versions. And on the grounds of cost, estate variants have been discounted from our showdown – not that any of the contenders here is exactly short on luggage capacity.
The Ford Mondeo is the oldest competitor in this group, although there’s plenty of life in it yet. For a start, only the Skoda Superb has a bigger boot, while agile handling and great engines mean the veteran Ford is still a lively player.
But as with many successful sportsmen, the Mondeo is just too expensive. This isn’t a criticism that can be levelled at the Mazda 6. It shares the Ford’s sharp handling, and its cabin serves up plenty of space, and a raft of standard kit – which makes its competitive pricing all the more impressive.
If it’s quality you’re after, though, the Vauxhall Insignia is a class act. Sleek styling, great refinement and a classy cabin hint at its executive aspirations. But it loses out in terms of boot space and rear headroom.
When it comes to maximum space for your money, our winner is in another league. The Skoda Superb has limousine levels of rear legroom, while the 565-litre boot is the biggest in this World Cup group.
Quality materials abound in the ergonomically sound cabin, and the twin tailgate is a novel touch that allows the Superb to be used as a saloon or a hatchback.
The driving experience blends composed handling and decent refinement. And clinching the Skoda’s place in the next round is its range of the latest VW Group engines and top-value pricing.
In this review
- 1IntroductionWe name best family car on sale in 2010’s biggest road test.
- 2Final: Skoda Superb vs Renault ScenicMPV champ meets our top hatch in epic battle. Will it go to penalties?
- 3Semi final 2VW Group duo have put in polished performances so far in our showdown. Now, they come together for a chance to take overall glory
- 4Semi final 1We’re only one round away from the final, and the nerves are jangling as French people carriers come face-to-face. So, which one gets the nod?
- 5Quarter final 4Skoda Superb vs Skoda Yeti
- 6Quarter final 3Kia Cee'd vs Volkswagen Golf
- 7Quarter final 2Renault Scenic vs Volkswagen Golf Estate
- 8Quarter final 1Citroen C3 Picasso vs Renault Clio Sport Tourer
- 9Group 8: Family hatchbacks - currently readingPracticality, affordability, styling and driving fun... Buyers demand a lot from modern family cars. So which large five-door scores across the board?
- 10Group 7: Compact MPVsEuropean models dominate this sector of the market. Now, we reveal which flexible five-seater takes the glory on the global stage
- 11Group 6: Compact SUVsPractical, stylish and fun to drive, the latest small, road-biased 4x4s are ideal if you don’t plan to venture far off the tarmac. But which will qualify?
- 12Group 5: Compact family estatesGet a load of five of the most practical carriers on the market. One of these luggage-swallowing big hitters could go all the way!
- 13Group 4: Compact familyTo get through to the quarter finals from this keenly contested sector, our class winner needs to be an all-round star.
- 14Group 3: Budget family carsWhich models make the most financial sense? We bring together four of the best value buys in UK showrooms to name our winner
- 15Group 2: Supermini-MPVsThese cars combine the driving dynamics of a supermini with the versatility of a people carrier – and competition to reach the quarter finals is fierce.