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: SE Technik
This has a solid specification, including 16in alloy wheels, air-con, xenon headlights and a 7.0in infotainment system with sat-nav, DAB radio and Bluetooth. It’s a no-brainer if you're a company car driver looking for reasonable company car tax.
Engine: 35 TDI
If you are a private buyer after diesel, we think the 2.0-litre diesel engine (in this 148bhp tune) is worth the premium over the 1.6, because it’s a little smoother and offers punchier performance. It should still return more than 50mpg, too, keeping running costs down.