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 favourite top 10.
While the latest SUVs and crossovers may well steal the limelight these days, the traditional small family hatchback still makes up a large proportion of the UK new car sales. Evergreen favourites such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf continue to sell thanks to the fact they offer most of the criteria highlighted above in relatively affordable packages.
• 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, 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
You have plenty of choice in the compact hatch class. Starting with the likes of the Ford Focus and Peugeot 308, then moving up to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Should you be a human of petrolhead variety, there is a host of performance model, such as the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus RS.
Moving up in size, there are now hatch versions of the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and BMW 5 Series. While there is even a racy-looking A5 Sportback from Audi. 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
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.
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