Best used compact family hatchbacks
The Skoda Octavia is the best used compact family hatch in our Used Car Awards 2018
Best used Compact family hatchback: Skoda Octavia
Price from: £4,500Our pick: Skoda Octavia 2013 (13) 1.2 TSI SE. 33,000 miles, £6,980
One of the Skoda Octavia’s eye-catching features as a new car was its low price in relation to an equivalent Ford Focus or VW Golf. These days the gap is closing if you buy new, but on the used market the Octavia’s affordability means there are some decent bargains.
The current Octavia went on sale in 2013. While it’s been facelifted since, it uses the same MQB platform as the Golf, SEAT Leon and Audi A3, so it’s sophisticated, but crucially it’s the most spacious model in that group and one of the most practical hatches around.
That revamp came in 2017, but a pre-facelift car is the better bet if you’re on a budget, because it offers a similarly grown-up driving experience from as little as £4,500 for a high-mileage diesel. We’d go for a lower-mileage petrol for a few thousand pounds more, though. It’ll be cheap to run, easy to maintain and the tech used means reliability shouldn’t be an issue.
With a 590-litre boot, the hatchback is incredibly spacious and offers more load space than some family estates. There’s more than enough head and legroom inside for passengers as well. In fact, the rear of the cabin is cavernous.
Octavias are good to drive, too. The light, direct steering and slick gearshift mean the car feels solid and satisfying whether you’re running around town, on twistier roads or cruising on the motorway.
Our budget will get you a 103bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol model. This engine isn’t on sale in the latest car, but it’s a fine unit, balancing smoothness and refinement with enough performance and strong fuel economy.
The Octavia is comfortable and has a compliant ride that easily smooths out bumps, so combine all this with its versatility and it’s a prime used buy.
On the road: Octavia is comfy and has compliant ride that smooths out bumps. It’s also a strong performer.
Interior: A 590-litre boot offers plenty of luggage capacity, while the cabin has plenty of passenger space.
Our sister site BuyaCar.co.uk doesn’t quote PCP prices for cars more than five years old generally (you’ll struggle to find this type of finance scheme anywhere on vehicles older than this), so leasing might be a better option in this case.
With a deposit of 10 per cent you’ll pay £205 a month on Hire Purchase, which is still a tiny sum for such a lot of practicality. It makes it even easier to secure this sensationally usable family hatch.
Vauxhall Astra Mk7
The latest Vauxhall Astra is still a contender in the new family hatch class. It also makes an excellent used buy, thanks to a ready supply that keeps prices at a temptingly low level. The Astra is good to drive, comfy and economical, plus has some strong tech.
Ford Focus Mk1
Ford’s original Focus reinvented the family hatch class in the late nineties. It proved that an ordinary car could be fun to drive. It used sophisticated multi-link rear suspension to achieve that. And you can now pick one up for as little as £200.
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