Hatchbacks worth considering in 2019
They might be a segment of the automotive market under assault from the phalanx of B- and C-segment SUVs and crossovers that are all the rage these days, but it’s very hard to argue with the all-round merits of opting for a good, five-door C-segment hatchback. With a wealth of choice to go at, there should be a compact family car to suit every need and budget.
Ford Focus Mk4 (2018-on)
The all-new model is winning rave reviews and there’s a good range of engines, trims and body styles to choose from (if you don’t want the regular hatch). Slightly generic styling aside, there’s very little to fault the Focus for, but if you want a cheaper option, the Mk3 (2011-2018, priced €6,250-€22,000) and even the Mk2 (2004-2011, priced €1,000-€9,000) cars still make great second-hand buys.
Honda Civic Mk10 (2016-on)
Apart from Toyota’s Corolla, there are no longer-serving hatchbacks in the world than the Honda Civic. Now onto its tenth generation, it’s a superb family machine – if you like the styling and can deal with the substandard infotainment. However, exceptional VTEC turbocharged petrol and i-DTEC diesel units make it a pleasure to drive in all scenarios. And if you want a reliable, cheap run-around, then examples of the seventh- to ninth-generation Civics (2001-2015, priced €1,500-€16,000) would make an ideal second prize.
Hyundai i30 Mk3 (2017-on)
Hyundai’s third attempt at the i30 formula was a real step on from its two worthy but also-ran predecessors. With neat looks, a high-quality interior and impressive drivetrain choices, it serves as a tasteful Korean alternative to the norm. For those looking for a racier flavour, Hyundai even offers a Fastback model, with five doors but a coupe-like form. Better still, while it’s not a hugely expensive car when new, the Mk3 i30 starts from around €16,000 on the used market.
Kia Ceed Mk3 (2018-on)
Another Korean significantly improved in its latest generation, the third-gen Ceed looks great, comes with a seven-year warranty and it has the same decent spread of drivetrains as the closely related Hyundai i30. As one of the newest cars on our list, the Ceed is not easy to find used but there are early, low-mileage examples creeping onto the market for around €21,000. The Mk2 Ceed (2012-2018) shouldn’t be ignored, though, with used prices from as little as €8,000 – and almost all used examples could, mileage permitting, still qualify for the long manufacturer warranty.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Mk4 (2018-on)
The first two generations of the A-Class (1997-2012) were strange, upright machines that nevertheless made clever use of their interior space. By the third generation of 2013, the A-Class had morphed into a more conventional hatchback, but it’s the latest generation, launched in 2018, that stuns. With its ‘MBUX’ full infotainment interface, it has a cabin/dash architecture befitting cars three times its price, while the chassis and drivetrains are much improved over the Mk3. It’s not cheap, as the only premium hatchback on our list, but the A-Class Mk4 is well worth splashing out on.
Opel Astra Mk7 (2015-on)
The Astra name has been around on General Motor products since 1979, as a Vauxhall, but it wasn’t until the third-generation car that Opel adopted the Astra nameplate too (previously favouring Kadett instead). Throughout its long history, the Astra has always been a strong seller, and there or thereabouts in the C-segment battle, but the Mk7 is a quality bit of kit. Good engines, a solid cabin, handsome looks and a superb chassis all combine in a car that, rightly, won the European Car of the Year award in 2016. And you don’t have to break the bank – early Mk7s are now available for around €11,000 used.
Peugeot 308 Mk2 (2013-on)
The older, Mk1 308 was a rather ugly, mediocre car that did nothing to set the C-segment hatchback market alight. The Mk2, though, launched way back in 2013, was a wholly different proposition. It has attractive looks and a cabin that was one of the first to be defined by the ‘i-Cockpit’ concept of a small steering wheel and high instrument cluster. The 308 Mk2 also has a cracking chassis and some appealing drivetrains, while its longevity (it has been tech-updated and facelifted in both 2015 and 2017) make it a sound used proposition, with prices starting from as little as €9,250.
Renault Megane Mk4 (2016-on)
Renault’s fourth take on the ever-popular Megane has brought with it really distinctive looks and an appealing cabin, complete with its portrait infotainment screen on higher-spec models. None of the engines offered in the Megane are startlingly good but they’re all solid, refined performers, while equipment levels are good across the board. There’s a four-year warranty on new Renaults so even the earliest Mk4s should still be covered – unless they’re mega-milers – and second-hand prices start from €15,000.
Skoda Octavia Mk3 (2013-on)
This is a car that should be on anyone’s shopping list. The Octavia, by class standards, has a vast boot and space enough for five. Elegant, sharp-suited styling was slightly marred by a midlife facelift in early 2017, that brought in fussy, quad headlamp units, but that’s about where our criticism of the Octavia starts and ends. Good engines, exceptional refinement levels and even decently talented handling makes this a fantastic family hatchback at bargain prices. The earliest 2013 examples can be had for as little as €9,500 – almost making the Skoda a ‘no-brainer’ choice.?
Volkswagen Golf Mk7 (2012-on)
Where would a round-up of C-segment hatchbacks be without the perennial favourite, the Volkswagen Golf? The Mk7 is getting on a bit now and is due for replacement in 2020 by the Mk8, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the current Golf. It remains a truly class act, with first-class engines, refinement unmatched in the sector and, of course, a traditionally stolid, attractive cabin. And you don’t even have to break the bank for a Golf – its enduring popularity and the sheer number of them on the used market mean Mk7 prices start from around €10,000 second-hand.?