Used Car of the Year 2012 - Small family cars

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  • All the winners from 27 contenders
  • From city cars to fun cars
  • Buy a winner from as little as £4000
used car of the year runner-up
used car of the year runner-up
Winner Small family car
Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI Match 5dr
Age 2010/60
Dealer price £12,870
Private price £12,495

The Volkswagen Golf is another car that can claim multiple What Car? accolades. Now three years have passed since the Mk6 model first hit the roads, the latest-shape Golf is starting to look fantastic value for money as a used buy.

The fact is, no other small family car matches the Golf for fun and comfort. It’s incredibly composed on twisty roads, thanks to lots of grip, tight body control and well-weighted steering. It’s also effortlessly compliant when driving around town, even on poorer surfaces.

Volkswagen’s 103bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine is powerful enough to cope on the motorway, yet is still capable of more than 60mpg while emitting just 119g/km of CO2 for a £30 annual road tax bill.

There’s more good news in the cabin, which is classy and practical, with enough room for four adults to sit comfortably over long distances.

Match trim, which was introduced in 2010 in place of SE, is the best bet. It’s packed with kit such as cruise control, electric front and rear windows, an upgraded DAB stereo, Bluetooth connectivity and automatic headlights and wipers as standard.

The Golf had to fight off a strong challenge from the Ford Focus this year, which drives brilliantly and has the space and practicality to match its German rival. However, the Golf’s superior build quality and better residual values mean it’s worth investing the extra; you’ll certainly appreciate your choice of car when you come to sell it.

Runners-up

Ford Focus
1.6 TDCi Zetec 5dr
’09/09, £7860
The Focus has a wonderful blend of sharp handling, a smooth ride and excellent composure, all topped off by fine motorway refinement.
used car of the year runner-upVauxhall Astra
1.4T Exclusiv 5dr
’10/10, £7665
The Vauxhall Astra has sharp looks, great quality, a smooth ride, good refinement and secure handling. There’s plenty of space inside, too.
Judge's view
John Owen
Buyer, Fords of Winsford car supermarket
'Mk6 Golfs are getting cheaper and are quite capable of attracting buyers that would otherwise go for a newer Focus.'

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Used Car of the Year 2012 - Family cars

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