It's amazing to think that the Audi A3 Sportback is one of the oldest cars in its class, yet still proves to be an outstanding all-rounder. True, some rivals are less expensive, but the A3's higher initial cost will be partially offset by its strong resale value. The Mercedes A-Class runs the A3 close in many respects, but ultimately this is still our pick of the premium family car contenders. If you're looking for practicality and aren't a badge snob, though, then the Skoda Octavia is both spacious and cheap.get the best price
Trim: Black Edition
Based on S line trim, you get dark-coloured wheels and exterior trim, tinted rear windows and an upgraded stereo. It’s pricey, so we’d avoid it unless you’re sold on the looks.
Engine: 30 TDI 116
This is one of the best engines (now badged 30 TDI) in the line-up for CO2 emissions making it an appealing choice for company car drivers; just remember the four per cent benefit-in-kind diesel surcharge though. It’s also smooth enough most of the time and has enough low-down punch for comfortable motorway cruising. Comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but can be had with a seven-speed auto 'box.