Scrappage special - Buyer's guide - Small family cars - part two

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  • Our guide to what to buy
  • Get the most for your money
  • Top fives in key categories
Hyundai i30 1.4 Comfort
Price £11,495
Target Price £10,750
Economy 46.3mpg
CO2 145g/km

Hyundai's i30 sums up all that's good about the brand. Keen pricing, a five-year warranty and lots of standard kit are what you expect, but if you haven't driven a Hyundai for a few years what you may not expect is that the i30 is a cracking car overall.

It's good to drive, has responsive steering and a refined, flexible engine. The ride is generally comfortable, too, and it's nimble around town yet composed on faster roads.

The interior is stylish and solidly built, and there's enough headroom, legroom and boot space to make it a practical family car. So, for the price of some superminis you get a lot more for your money.

As well as the extra practicality, our favourite model comes with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, a USB socket, four electric windows and heated electric door mirrors. There's comprehensive safety kit, too – six airbags, active front-seat headrests and stability control – all fitted as standard.

Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI SE
Price £13,715
Target price £12,881
Economy 42.8mpg
CO2 154 g/km

Skoda's Octavia rather hides its light under a bushel. The unremarkable styling may not be an attention grabber, but the outstanding value certainly is.

It's keenly priced even when compared to the list of most small-hatch rivals. Yet it's actually closer in size to large family cars from the class above, which makes it even more of a steal.

Beneath the skin, the Octavia shares many parts with the latest VW Golf, including its excellent 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Not only is it impressively punchy, it's also refined and frugal and CO2 emissions are low.

The rest of the driving experience is excellent, too – the handling is composed and the ride generally comfy.

The Octavia's cabin is key to its appeal – as well as offering more passenger and boot space than most rivals, it's also smartly styled and the materials and build quality are top-notch.

Standard kit includes four electric windows, air-conditioning, alloy wheels and four airbags, and curtain airbags are an affordable option at £280. The Octavia is a lot of car for your money – no wonder it scores consistently highly in our annual JD Power customer satisfaction survey.


Nissan Qashqai 1.6 Visia 2wd
Price £14,195
Target price £13,266
Economy 42.2mpg
CO2 159 g/km

Nissan had its finger on the pulse when it created the Qashqai. It recognised that buyers liked the raised driving position and tough looks of SUVs, but weren’t so keen on their high running costs, and this very appealing compromise was the result.

The chunky styling doesn't just look great – it ensures plenty of interior space, and access is particularly good. The interior is classy and well built and even entry-level our recommended Visia trim model comes with plenty of desirable goodies.

It isn't as sporty as some rivals, but the Qashqai is well suited to family life. Ride comfort is particularly good, thanks to suspension that soaks up lumps and bumps with ease. It's quiet, too, and although its fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are higher than average, the Qashqai isn't expensive to buy or run and, thanks to its desirable image, residual values are strong.

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Scrappage special - Buyer's guide - Family cars

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