Best hatchbacks on sale 2018

4 Jan, 2018 11:15am

If there's a car that has to be a jack of all trades, it is the family hatchback. Our top ten reveals the best hatchbacks on sale in the UK

Of all the cars on the road, small family hatchbacks have one of the hardest jobs. They have to be reliable, spacious, easy to park, cheap to run, cheap to buy, feel high quality and have a great safety rating. Yet, the best hatchbacks also need to cater for a range of drivers, often coming in a wide range of formats, including automatic, manual, petrol, diesel and, more recently, hybrid and all-electric configurations. That said, we have looked at all the hatchbacks on sale right now and picked our top 10 favourites.

They might not get the headlines devoted to the new breed of SUVs and crossovers, but the traditional small family hatchback still has a major stake in the UK new car sales charts. The best cars, like the Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf, and Ford Focus are enduringly popular, and that is largely because they tick most of the boxes highlighted above in one relatively affordable package.

• Best family cars

Hatchbacks as we know them today, originated in the 1970s. The idea behind the design was similar to an estate – a top-hinged tailgate set at a jaunty angle to provide a stylish look and also, more versatility than a saloon. In the early days some manufacturers did miss the mark with what a hatch should be, offering a saloon-style hinged section below the rear glass, but it was not long before all manufacturers were designing cars with the highly practical boot door which incorporated the rear window. 

The Renault 4, 5 and 16, the Austin Maxi and Fiat 127 were all pioneers of the hatchback body style, and by the start of the 1980s, mainstream cars like the Ford Escort had moved from saloon to a hatch layout.

Today, the smallest hatchbacks are in the city car class, and models such as the Citroen C1 and Skoda Citigo feature a small rear hatch that's not much more than a reinforced pane of glass. This is a cheap way of making a hatch, and is pretty effective. Further up the classes, the hatchback body is the default choice in the supermini class, and while some compact family cars are available as saloons in other regions, the hatchback rules the roost in the UK.

Best hot hatchbacks

There are plenty of options on offer in the compact class, from the most basic versions of mainstream cars like the Ford Focus and Peugeot 308, to upmarket models like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Of course, the compact hatch has spawned its own performance sub sector, and hot hatchbacks like the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus RS and host of others can rival the best supercars for driving fun.

Further up the classes, the large family car class has a mix of hatchbacks like the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia, but models like the Volkswagen Passat and Mazda 6 are still saloons. Beyond that, BMW has created hatchback versions of the 3 Series and 5 Series saloons, while the Audi A5 Sportback is a racy looking model that slots somewhere between the A4 saloon and A5 Coupe in the Audi range.

At the very top of the tree, the Audi A7 Sportback, Tesla Model S and Porsche Panamera are the most luxurious hatchbacks you can buy.

The top 10 we've listed here focuses on the most popular sector, the compact hatch market, and we've picked the cars that deliver the best mix of kit, safety, running costs, fun driving and family-friendly features.

Best hatchbacks to buy now

  1. 1. Volkswagen Golf
  2. 2. Vauxhall Astra
  3. 3. Skoda Octavia 
  4. 4. Renault Megane
  5. 5. Honda Civic
  6. 6. SEAT Leon
  7. 7. Peugeot 308
  8. 8. Mazda 3
  9. 9. Audi A3
  10. 10. BMW 1 Series

Click through the links to find out more about the best hatchbacks on the market right now and read more of our best car recommendations below.

Best city carsBest superminis
Best small carsBest small 4x4s
Best first carsBest cars for students
Best hatchbacksSmallest cars on sale
Best crossover carsMost economical cars
Best low emissions carsBest tax free cars
Cheapest cars to runCheapest cars to insure
Best car dealsCheapest cars on sale
Best-selling carsBest car leasing deals
New Car AwardsBest used cars
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