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
Upgrading from SE Technik to Sport brings 17in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, front sports seats, aluminium exterior and interior trim and a sports leather steering wheel as standard. If you're buying privately, we reckon this is the trim to go for.
Engine: 35 TFSI
This 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine can shut down half of its cylinders when cruising to save fuel, and it'll return decent real-world MPG. It's also flexible enough to pull briskly from 1500rpm all the way to its redline, so you won't feel short-changed for performance, plus it's relatively smooth, too.