Years built: 2004-2011 Prices: £3,000-£14,000 Our pick: 1.6 TDCi Zetec
It's hard to look beyond the Ford Focus if you’re after a used compact family hatchback. The arrival of an all-new version this year has hammered down prices even further, yet the car is as capable as ever. There’s also a vast array of choice on the second-hand market because the Focus MkII was such an amazing sales smash new.
That means it’s worth shopping around until you find one that ticks all your boxes. As the mid-range Zetec is so affordable, there’s little point in looking at entry-level LX versions; just make sure the model you’re considering has air-con.
Also, if your budget permits, go for a post-2008 facelifted Focus as they look smarter and should be worth more when the time comes to sell on. The best all-round engine option is the 89bhp
1.6-litre TDCi diesel. Not only is it economical, it delivers enough performance for most buyers and holds its value well.
However, low-mileage drivers should also check out one of the cheaper petrol alternatives, as the oil-burner does command a premium second-hand. Just steer clear of the 2.0-litre petrol, as it’s unnecessarily expensive to buy and run.
Still, whichever version of the Focus you choose, sparkling driving dynamics and impressive practicality are guaranteed.
Driver Power 2011
What you said: “This car is excellent value considering what it offers. It’s well equipped and comfortable, and perfect for carrying people thanks to the practical five-door hatchback body. It never fails to entertain, even on the most mundane of journeys.”
2004 to date
The Octavia has achieved consistent high scores in our annual Driver Power satisfaction survey – and with good reason. Not only is it comfortable and reasonably cheap to run, the Skoda family favourite is reliable and trouble-free. It’s also a bargain second-hand.
2007 to date
There's more to the i30 than Hyundai’s five-year/100,000-mile warranty. It’s brilliant value, good to drive and comes generously equipped. Don’t believe us? You don’t have to: it won our Driver Power survey in 2010. Praise doesn’t come much higher than that.
- 1IntroductionWe name top second-hand buys across 17 classes of the market, plus our Used Car of the Year
- 2Best City CarYears built: 2008 to date Prices: £3,750-£8,000 Our pick: 1.2 Comfort
- 3Best SuperminiYears built: 2009 to date Prices: £5,500-£14,000 Our pick: 1.25 Zetec
- 4Best Compact Family Car - currently readingYears built: 2004-2011 Prices: £3,000-£14,000 Our pick: 1.6 TDCi Zetec
- 5Best EstateYears built: 2004 to date Prices: £4,000-£24,500 Our pick: vRS 2.0 TDI
- 6Best Supermini-MPVYears built: 2008 to date Prices: £7,500-£14,000 Our pick: 1.4 ES
- 7Best Family CarYears built: 2007 to date Prices: £5,000-£27,000 Our pick: 2.0 TDCi Zetec
- 8Best Compact SUVYears built: 2006 to date Prices: £10,000-£38,000 Our pick: 2.2 TD4
- 9Best CrossoverYears built: 2007 to date Prices: £7,000-£24,000 Our pick: 1.5 dCi Acenta
- 10Best Large SUVYears built: 2004-2009 Prices: £11,500-£30,000 Our pick: TDV6 HSE