The best hatchbacks represent value for money - while being practical with generous kit lists and economic engines.
Whether you're in the market for a popular model like Ford Fiesta that handles well and doesn't cost the earth to buy, or a Toyota Yaris that puts a long warranty, fuel economy and reliability front and centre, this list should have something for everyone. Here are our top 10 picks (in no particular order).
The Mazda 3 has always been an underrated alternative to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. That's especially true of the new 2019 model with its eye-catching looks and range of efficient petrol and diesel engines. It may not have been on sale for very long but it's already proving hugely popular with our readers.
- Read our full Mazda 3 review
Plenty of buyers continue to appreciate the abilities of the eighth generation Golf. When it comes to an upmarket image there’s no doubt this is the benchmark - if it’s a premium feel you want, this remains the hatch of choice. It's not without its issues, but that hasn't put people off and it remains one of the UK's best sellers.
- Read our full Volkswagen Golf review
Honda says it has attempted to inject a bit more sporty character into this Civic - something which was missing in the previous model. The result is a hatchback that's as quiet and refined as any of the competition, including premium German stuff, yet enjoyable to drive.
A clean sheet of paper. That’s what Ford engineers were given for the new Focus, with the goal of creating a car that’s better than the Volkswagen Golf. Not only does it drive better than ever, there's also a host of clever technology which makes it more up-to-date than rivals.
BMW 1 Series
Through several facelifts and revamps, the BMW 1 Series has remained very popular, helped by the fact that it's one of the best cars to drive on this list. It's also available with a huge range of engines and now comes with xDrive four-wheel drive on some models.
- Read our full BMW 1 Series review
Audi A3 Sportback
The A3 Sportback may be expensive to buy new but it's every inch a premium hatch. The high-point is the sophisticated interior with a great design, while the smooth driving experience makes this a very desirable hatch. A maximum boot space of 1220 litres makes this a practical choice too.
In a time when more car buyers than ever are considering a hybrid, the Corolla is a car that can be legitimately recommended for reasons other than its eco-credentials. It's loaded with kit, has a comfortable interior and - surprisingly - is good to drive.
There's a new V40 coming (soon we're told) but the current version is still proving popular, helped by its impressive refinement. It's incredibly comfortable with a smooth and relaxed ride while even when fitted with larger wheels with lower profile tyres it remains forgiving. There are also plenty of deals to be had.
Although the new A-Class might not look much different to its predecessor, it's a huge improvement in terms of the interior and how well it drives. For our money, this is a better buy than the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 and comes with some great small petrol engines.
We've always liked the SEAT Leon. The more affordable alternative to the Volkswagen Golf - with which it shares much - it's a neatly designed hatch that we think looks good - especially if you go for an FR model. It may be getting on in years but it's still a very capable hatchback.