The Best Hatchbacks on the Market
What was once just a fun-size two-door car, the hatchback today is a whole lot more versatile – and more fun. A good model will zip through jam-packed city streets and take on the motorways with equal ease, saving you on fuel costs all the while. The best models around offer well-balanced basic trims with higher levels featuring sporty engines and amped-up styling. Want something that's all of the above? Read on to find out why these top hatchbacks make the list.
1. Volkswagen Golf
Most petrol-heads think the Golf rightfully deserves the top spot in the hot hatch list. With it being Volkswagen’s top-selling model, and among the world’s top-three best sellers of all time, we can’t disagree. Carrying a legacy of over four decades, VW have put the perfect family car in everybody’s grasp, offering a balance of practicality and power for the city streets and beyond. Spacious interiors, efficient engines, supreme handling and best-in-class safety – you can have it all with the VW Golf.
2. Ford Focus
With over 16 million units sold since its release in 1974, the Focus has its own secret recipe for the ultimate hatchback. For a long time, the Focus has been the hatch of choice if you want a fuss-free machine for pleasant, comfortable driving. With the addition of the SYNC3 Smart infotainment system and improved build quality on the latest gen, it seems that Focus’ reputation for simplicity has evolved a little, keeping up with competitors in the all-important tech department.
3. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Contrary to the fun-loving cars above, this Merc means serious business – it’s all about refined driving, sombre styling and quiet cabin space. For a marginal price hike, you get a luxury first-class ticket when you cruise through the streets in the Mercedes A-Class. It also prioritises safety and nifty tech, with an easy-to-use seven-inch screen and a rotary controller. Fancy a touch of the executive lifestyle in your hatchback experience? You can’t go wrong with this one.
4. Audi A3
A premium build that brings you heaps of tech and plush interiors, the Audi A3 is the friendly beast of the hatchback segment. The A3 offers a broad range of engines to help you personalise it to your needs. The Sportback version is the way to go for pure perforamance, giving you supremely responsive and agile handling. Badge appeal aside, the A3 scores highly for a comfortable car that nudges you to get outside and have some fun, even on a lazy Sunday.
5. BMW 1 Series
Had enough of all these hatchbacks bringing too little to the driver’s seat? Well, the BMW 1 Series is for you. This true sports hatch prioritises mph over mpg – though it still manages to be plenty efficient too. The top speeds and 0 to 60 are among the best in class, no matter which generation you go for. An incredibly fun drive that handles like a pro, this BMW 1 Series is everything you need if your idea of a fun weekend is just you and the car.
6. Mazda 3
If there’s one hot hatch that can convince you it’s not all about fancy German badge appeal, it’s this one. The Mazda 3 is a class-apart in terms of styling and does a brilliant job with refined handling. A responsive gearbox and direct steering make it a pleasure to drive. Premium quality interiors, a good choice of engines and great value money close the deal if you want something that’s a jack of all trades and, possibly, a master of all too.
7. Vauxhall Astra
Yet another all-rounder in the best hatchbacks list, the Vauxhall Astra is among the most popular cars in the UK. It feels comfy on a long road trip and makes everyday driving feel serene. Not just because it’s got the spacious interiors to comfortably fit three adults – it’s also quite cheap to run, so that does away with worrying about fuel costs. Sharp looks, a good infotainment system and a decent warranty make it a reliable purchase if you think you’re going to gain miles quickly.
8. Volkswagen Polo
After the Golf, the second-best-selling Volkswagen is also a hatch – the Polo. Looks like VW are doing everything right in this segment. In fact, the Polo gave tough competition to the Golf in 2018 when it overtook sales for that year. So why a Polo and not a Golf? It lets go of the constant need to be fun all the time and gives you the royal treatment instead – plush interiors, large cabin space and a smooth and quiet ride.
9. Volvo V40
For years, Volvo kept churning out good-looking estates and sedans. But suddenly in 2012, it changed its mind and decided to go all-out with the SUV XC90 and the hatchback V40 – and both were mind-bogglingly impressive. Designed by Chris Benjamin, this car is elegant at some angles and brawny in others. A wide choice of engines, transmissions and trim levels allows you to customise the V40 to suit your every need. All-in-all, it’s a noteworthy contender in the premium hatch segment.
10. Honda Civic
With over 16.5 million in global sales over ten generations, the Civic has constantly revamped its game to suit the needs of the hour – and it’s paid off. The Civic has transformed from a sombre practical car for your everyday needs into a punchy beast with incredible design. It’s established itself as a frontrunner, especially in the used car market. Pick a generation based on your needs and get a good deal while you’re at it.
These top hatchbacks are just some of the best choices in a diverse market – decide on your priorities and you’ll find one that ticks all the boxes for you. If you’ve found something that’s piqued your interest, hit the search box to check out available cars near you.