While many buyers are tempted by crossovers these days, there’s still a lot to be said for a more conventional hatchback.
And while SUV-styled models might have grabbed some sales from cars in this class, family hatchbacks continue to be impressively popular with buyers. These models have to meet all kinds of criteria too, from value for money to a fun driving experience and roomy interior.
But what cars are the pick of the bunch? Let’s take a look…
Mazda’s models have continued to improve over the years, and the brand’s ‘3’ is its best yet. Though not rivalling the best for interior space, this Japanese hatchback is most certainly up there with the best when it comes to style, quality and driving experience.
With a great mix of sportiness and comfort, it’s an ideal model to live with on a day-to-day basis, while efficient petrol engines mean it shouldn’t cost too much to run, either.
Though not the shape you might think of when it comes to a hatchback, by definition the Skoda Octavia’s boot – despite its saloon-like looks – opens like a hatchback. And what that boot does is create an especially roomy car, with cargo capacity that eclipses that of virtually all other cars on this list.
There’s a lot more to the Octavia than just space, though, as it’s also very comfortable and packs a high-quality interior. A broad range of engine options – including a plug-in hybrid – cements its place on this list.
The Leon is Seat’s best-selling car, and for very good reason, as it’s a superb all-rounder. Based on the Volkswagen Golf, the latest Leon is a superb all-rounder, excelling in every area that matters for a family hatchback.
It retains Seat’s trademark sporty looks, with a driving experience to match, and still undercuts the Golf for price, even with a generous equipment list. Like the Octavia, which is its sibling model, the Leon is also available with a wide choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains.
As the world’s best-selling car, the Corolla certainly has plenty going for it, and the British-built Corolla is a truly excellent choice in the family hatchback class. Now purely available with hybrid powertrains, this Toyota will be very frugal to run.
On top of this the Corolla gets bold styling, while its list of standard equipment – especially when it comes to safety kit – will embarrass many other models in this class. Elsewhere it offers a very comfortable ride and benefits from Toyota’s excellent reliability record.
In recent years there’s been a greater demand than ever for premium small cars, and it’s meant that the Audi A3 is one of the UK’s most popular cars, and also the German marque’s best-seller in Britain.
But there’s good reason for this as the A3 has a truly excellent interior brimmed with technology, while also conveying that subtle, classy styling that Audis are so good at. This latest generation is also better to drive than ever, while remaining practical and a fantastic daily driver.
Citroen’s new C4 is a bit of an oddity in the family hatchback class, as it really looks more like a crossover than others on this list. It’s true that it’s quite hard to pigeonhole, but thanks to an affordable price and decent practicality levels, it certainly fits the hatchback brief.
Where the C4 really excels is when it comes to comfort, an area where just about all of Citroen’s range impresses. It’s also very refined and comes with a range of efficient engines as well. You can even choose the electric e-C4 if you fancy an EV.
Speaking of electric cars, one of the best around is the Volkswagen ID.3. It was this German automotive giant’s first standalone EV, and impresses with its superb interior packaging and fun driving experience.
We’d argue that it’s actually better than Volkswagen’s Golf, while a broad range of trim options, electric motors and battery sizes means that there’s an option to suit most. The range-topping Tour version stands out in particular, thanks to a superb claimed 335-mile range.