4. Vauxhall Astra 1.4T 150 Tech Line Nav auto
List price: £19,635
Our favourite manual Astra is the 1.0-litre turbo petrol, but the auto version of this has a jerky gearbox, whereas the 1.4-litre turbo petrol has a much smoother gearbox, and this model still dips under the £20k barrier. The latest Astra also combines a comfortable ride with composed handling, and the Tech Line model comes very well equipped.
3. Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI 90 Match DSG 5dr
List price: £16,555
The VW Polo has always managed to distil many of the qualities of its hugely popular sibling, the Golf, into a smaller package, and the latest version is no different. Quieter and more comfortable than most rivals, it also feels more suited to an automatic gearbox due to its easygoing character.
2. Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 110 DSG
List price: £15,925
The Skoda Fabia is related to the Polo and uses the same DSG auto gearbox, but it's an even better all-rounder. Cheaper to buy and more enjoyable to drive, it also offers a sophisticated infotainment system, good resale values, a spacious interior and punchy, frugal engines.
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