The family hatchback is the car buyer’s default choice and, for many, the VW Golf is the default family hatch.
Now in its seventh generation, it’s a superb all-rounder that offers everything most families will ever need. True, it’s not cheap to buy, but strong resale values and a range of fuel-efficient turbocharged engines mean it should cost you surprisingly little to run over three years.
It should be noted that as good as the latest Golf is, it doesn't dominate its class in the way some previous versions did. However, that's down to the competiton upping its game rather than Volkswagen lowering its standards.
The likes of the Skoda Octavia and Vauxhall Astra both offer space and comfort for a tempting price, while prestige rivals such as the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series have more badge appeal and plusher interiors.
But are any of these alternative better all-rounders than the Golf, and in which spec does VW's best-selling car make most sense? Read on over the next few pages to find out.