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
The high-performance S3 is a model in its own right, with a powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and acceleration times that wouldn’t disgrace many a supercar. It gets 18in alloy wheels, lowered and stiffened suspension, a revised steering set-up, full-leather upholstery, LED headlights, heated front seats, a bodykit and aluminium-look door mirrors as standard.
Engine: S3 TFSI 300 Quattro
The S3 comes with an even more powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and, combined with standard a four-wheel-drive system and a quick-shifting, seven-speed auto 'box, it is the real McCoy when it comes to high-performance hot hatchbacks.