New Honda Civic and new Vauxhall Astra vs Seat Leon: verdict

This trio of family hatchbacks each takes a different approach to maximising efficiency. Let's see which one is the best choice...

New Honda Civic vs New Vauxhall Astra vs Seat Leon rear triple

Our verdict

The Honda Civic clinches victory in this test by a comfortable margin. It has the measure of its rivals, not least due to its low running costs, effortless performance and smart interior. Barring a little too much road noise and limited rear head room, there’s not much to fault with this family hatchback.

The Seat Leon puts up a solid fight, but it makes more sense in a cheaper trim level than this FR Sport version. If an automatic gearbox is crucial, you can have one with the regular FR trim, which is what we’d go for. Not only is it cheaper to buy, but its smaller, 17in wheels also take the edge off the firm ride. In addition, the non-electrified 1.5 TSI 130 engine is barely any slower and just as economical.

The new Vauxhall Astra meanwhile lags behind these rivals in most areas. Overall, its attractive list price and comfortable ride aren’t nearly enough to overcome such tough competition.

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1st – Honda Civic

New Honda Civic front cornering

For Brilliant fuel economy; brisk performance; user-friendly and high-quality interior; cheapest to run privately and for company car drivers
Against A bit too much road noise; rear head room could be better
Recommended options None

What Car? rating 5 stars out of 5

Honda Civic review

New Honda car deals

2nd – Seat Leon

Seat Leon front cornering

For Great fun to drive; best driving position; most spacious rear seats
Against Firmest ride; infotainment system could be better; very expensive on PCP finance
Recommended options Safety and Driving Pack M (£235)

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Seat Leon review

New Seat car deals

3rd – Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra front cornering

For Comfortable ride; versatile boot; cheapest to buy outright
Against Numb steering; cheapest feeling interior; disappointing rear seat space; clunky gearbox; so-so fuel economy
Recommended options None

What Car? rating 3 stars out of 5

Vauxhall Astra review

New Vauxhall car deals

Specifications: Honda Civic e:HEV Sport 

New Honda Civic badge

Engine 4cyl, 1993cc, petrol, plus two electric motors
Peak power 181bhp (combined)
Peak torque 232Ib ft (combined)
Gearbox 1-spd automatic
0-60mph 6.8sec
30-70mph 6.2sec
Top speed 111mph
30-omph 8.1m
70-0mph 43.7m
Noise at 30mph 61.6db
Noise at 70mph 68.1db
Kerb weight 1553kg
Tyre size (std) 235/40 R18
Fuel tank 40 litres
CO2 emissions 113g/km

Specifications: Vauxhall Astra 1.2 Turbo 130 GS Line auto

New Vauxhall Astra badge

Engine 3cyl, 1199cc, turbo, petrol
Peak power 129bhp at 5500rpm
Peak torque 170Ib ft at 1750rpm
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
0-60mph 9.5sec
30-70mph 9.1sec
Top speed 130mph
30-omph 8.7m
70-0mph 47.2m
Noise at 30mph 61.8db
Noise at 70mph 67.7db
Kerb weight 1371kg
Tyre size (std) 225/45 R17
Fuel tank 52 litres
CO2 emissions 131g/km

Specifications: Seat Leon 1.5 eTSI Evo 150 FR Sport DSG

Seat Leon badge

Engine 4cyl, 1498cc, turbo, petrol
Peak power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm
Peak torque 184Ib ft at 1500-3500rpm
Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
0-60mph 8.3sec
30-70mph 8.0sec
Top speed 135mph
30-omph 8.1m
70-0mph 44.2m
Noise at 30mph 61.9db
Noise at 70mph 67.4db
Kerb weight 1364kg
Tyre size (std) 225/40 R18
Fuel tank 45 litres
CO2 emissions 131g/km

Test weather conditions Dry, windy

Cars pictured

Honda Civic Sport with Platinum White Pearl paint (£625)

Seat Leon 1.4 eTSI Evo 150 FR Sport DSG with Urban Silver metallic paint and Safety and Driving Pack XL (£815)

Vauxhall Astra 1.2 Turbo 130 GS Line auto with Vulcan Grey paint (£600)

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