Used Car of the Year Awards: Hatchbacks
With living costs on the rise, getting a good deal on your next car is more important than ever. That's where our Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite hatchbacks...
Prices from £14,500 Our pick 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid SR
Welcome to the Mary Poppins of used family cars. No, we’re not saying that the Honda Jazz will be able to raise your children, but we are saying that when it comes to providing reliable, comfy family transport for a sensible price, the Jazz is practically perfect in every way.
In fact, Ms Poppins would love the Jazz. Thanks to its ‘magic’ rear seats, which can be flipped up to free up space, she could disgorge the aspidistra from her handy handbag and carry it upright without spilling any soil. Her lamp stand and mirror would be better carried horizontally in the boot, though – an easy fit with the seatbacks folded down. Even with the rear seats in use, there’s room for five carry-on suitcases if you’re heading on a jolly holiday.
Occupants are well served, too; six-footers have plenty of room in the front, and a pair of similar-sized rear passengers will enjoy more head and leg room than in any other small car
The Jazz offers lots of adjustments behind the wheel; no matter your size or shape, you should find a comfortable driving position, and there are numerous cubbies for odds and ends. With soft materials on the surfaces you touch regularly, it feels classy, too. The infotainment systems of some small car rivals, such as the Mini hatch, are easier to get along with, though.
Elsewhere, the Jazz’s 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motors work together seamlessly; this hybrid set-up prioritises electric power on slower roads, with the petrol engine taking the strain on the motorway. Yes, there’s a bit of a drone from the engine when you really put your foot down, but we think you’ll forgive the Jazz when you look at its fuel economy; when we tested it, we managed upwards of 60mpg.
As well as keeping running costs low, the Jazz represents startling value for money when bought at a couple of years old. Similar money will secure you a comparable Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza or Toyota Yaris, but the Jazz is a more versatile family workhorse than those rivals. It’s also a much more capable all-round car than the smaller Skoda Citigo and should be cheaper to run and more reliable than the older Audi A3. In the end, those factors give it the edge here. Practically perfect indeed.
Best budget buy
Skoda Citigo (2012-2020)
Prices from £3500 Our pick 1.0 (59bhp) SE
The Citigo proves that you can get more for less. It’s all but identical to its Volkswagen Up sibling, but the Skoda is cheaper to buy at the same age. It’s fun to drive, too – more so than its Suzuki Celerio rival – and even the least powerful 59bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine feels grunty enough to deal with urban roads or the occasional foray out of town.
The Citigo’s comfy ride impresses, making short work of pockmarked, potholed urban roads, while the light yet accurate steering makes negotiating tight city corners and packed multi-storey car parks a doddle.
Inside, our favourite SE trim gives you all the equipment you’re likely to need, including air conditioning and a height- adjustable driver’s seat.
Sealing our recommendation is the fact that, with lots of used examples to choose from, finding one that meets your needs should be easy.
Best premium choice
Audi A3 (2013-2020)
Price from £6000 Our pick 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport
While you could spend a lot more on the later, 2020-onwards Audi A3, we actually prefer this older model. You see, while the new A3 looks glitzy inside, some of the materials feel cheaper than the car’s premium price tag suggests. Not so in the older car, where everything you touch feels plush and built to last. It also betters rivals such as the Honda Civic and Skoda Octavia in this regard.
The luxury feeling doesn’t end there. Our favourite Sport trim level comes loaded with kit, including dual-zone climate control, sports seats and smart 18in alloy wheels.
While some family cars can hold more in their boots, the A3 should still have no trouble with your holiday luggage, plus it beats almost every rival for driving enjoyment. The 1.4-litre petrol engine
is our pick (or the 1.5 from 2017 onwards); it offers peppy performance while keeping your running costs in check.