7. Mazda 3
If you need great fuel economy, but you also want a car that’s fun to drive, you should have a look at the Mazda 3. Both diesel and petrol versions achieve impressive real-world fuel economy, while a sparkling, involving chassis means it’s a treat if you get a bit of twisty road to yourself. The downside is that it’s quite noisy on the move, so long motorway trips can be a chore. However, the 3 is a car that combines fun with frugality, which makes it very desirable nonetheless.
We found: 2016 2.0 SE-L, 34,000 miles, £9,494
6. BMW 1 Series
Fancy the quality, image and exciting driving style of a BMW, but in a family hatchback package? That’s where the BMW 1 Series comes in. The sacrifice you make is that it isn’t as spacious as some rivals, and equipment can be a bit stingy on some versions. But if driving involvement is paramount, or you just want the quality and kudos of a BMW, the 1 Series will be hard to resist. And as an added bonus, it offers a range of very efficient engines.
We found: 2013 118i Sport, 30,000 miles, £10,142
5. Audi A3
As a new car, we reckon the Audi A3 is the best family hatchback around – in fact, it was recently crowned our 2017 Family Car of the Year. Trouble is, it holds its value very well, which makes it a very expensive proposition as a used car. If you can afford it, though, you still get the same spacious, high-quality interior with a beautifully designed dashboard, superb ride and handling, and excellent engine range to choose from, all of which means it’s worth considering, despite the extra cost.
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