New Honda Civic vs New Vauxhall Astra vs Seat Leon: costs
This trio of family hatchbacks each takes a different approach to maximising efficiency. Let's see which one is the best choice...
Buying and owning
Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security
The Vauxhall Astra slightly undercuts its rivals in terms of list price, and it remains the cheapest to buy outright after discounts have been taken into account.
However, if you factor in long-term ownership costs, it’s actually the Honda Civic – the priciest car here – that works out to be cheapest for cash buyers. That’s partly because it’s predicted to hold on to more of its value over three years, and also because of its impressive real-world fuel economy. In our test, the Civic averaged 49.9mpg, compared with the Seat Leon’s 44.3mpg and the Astra’s 41.1mpg.
However, despite being the least economical car here, the Astra beats the Leon into second place when it comes to total running costs over three years; that’s because it costs less to buy outright and is predicted to hold on to its value slightly better.
If you’re planning to buy using PCP finance, the Civic and Astra are closely matched when it comes to monthly repayments. On a typical three-year deal with a £3500 customer deposit and a 10,000-mile annual limit, the Civic will set you back £438 per month, compared with £440 for the Astra. The Leon works out to be substantially more expensive, at £518 per month – most likely a consequence of its heavier predicted depreciation.
For company car drivers, the Civic’s 27% benefit-in-kind rating makes it a more attractive proposition than the other two contenders, which are in the 31% bracket. A 40% taxpayer will sacrifice £273 per month to run the Civic, compared with £298 for the Astra and £320 for the Leon. However, an all-electric alternative, such as the Cupra Born, will cost you a fraction of these amounts.
All three cars are generously equipped, with LED headlights, climate control, heated front seats and keyless start as standard. The Leon is the only one with standard metallic paint, though, and while all three cars enable the driver and front seat passenger to set their own temperatures, the Leon provides a third zone for those in the back. That said, while the Leon has cruise control to help you maintain a constant speed, the Civic and Astra have adaptive systems that automatically keep a set distance from the car in front.
None of these cars featured in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey, but Honda finished highest as a brand, in 12th place, ahead of Seat in 15th. Vauxhall finished farther down in 23rd, out of 32 manufacturers overall.
Both the Leon and Astra come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, and while the Civic will also cover you for three years, the hybrid system has its own five-year/90,000-mile warranty.
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