Honda Civic (2012-2017) review

£5,959Price from

Test scoreShow Context

77%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

 verdict: Distinctively different family car

There are some big improvements in the way the current Civic drives compared with the previous model, such as ride quality and steering feel, and it’s safe and secure to drive. The unusual body shape impacts a little on access and space, but overall the Civic is highly practical.

Pros
  • Class-leading boot
  • Spacious up front
  • Safe handling
  • Economical diesels
Cons
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Awkward to park
  • Unexciting to drive
  • High CO emissions from 1.8-litre petrol engine

BMW 1 Series (2019-) review

£25,915Price from

Test scoreShow Context

75%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Available new
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

 verdict: Impresses in nearly every respect

The BMW 1 Series may be less distinctive to look at and drive than it once was, but it’s been improved in almost every other respect, and is now a more serious family car than ever before. Keen drivers and BMW purists may resent that the new model is front-wheel drive, but it remains great fun from behind the wheel. As an all-round proposition it has few drawbacks and earns a Best Buy rating.

Pros
  • High-quality cabin
  • Decent passenger space
  • Comfortable
  • Smooth engines
Cons
  • Divisive styling
  • Start-stop system could be smoother

Toyota Auris Hybrid (2007-2012) review

£5,315Price from

Test scoreShow Context

75%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Full hybrid

Compare

verdict: Hybrid economy with mainsteam appeal

Toyota has got this hybrid right – it’s a decent medium hatchback bestowed the potential for excellent fuel economy. What’s not to like?

Pros
  • Low running costs
  • Smooth and quiet
Cons
  • Battery restricts boot space
  • Space-age controls off-putting
  • Limited electric-only range

Toyota Auris Hybrid (2013-2019) review

£8,284Price from

Test scoreShow Context

74%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Full hybrid

Compare

 verdict: Well-rounded Best Buy hybrid

The Auris is an excellent example of hybrid technology in action and a decent all-round car. It’s a Which? Best Buy.

Pros
  • High efficiency and low emissions
  • Spacious front cabin
  • Safe road behaviour
Cons
  • Noisy CVT
  • Rear seats cramped
  • Boot space restricted
  • Inflexible cabin layout

Volkswagen Golf GTE (2015-2020) review

£13,369Price from

Test scoreShow Context

74%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)

Compare

verdict: Plug-in hybrid star

This is a car of two halves. In full-electric mode, it’s quiet yet lively. Press the GTE button and use the full power available from its two engines, and it turns into a real performer, if ultimately lacking the Golf GTI’s sharpness. Overall, this is a great hatchback, but it’s a shame it was never tested by Euro NCAP to prove its credentials as a safe family car.

Pros
  • 31-mile range in electric mode
  • Excellent performance
  • Very fuel-efficient
Cons
  • Batteries impact boot space
  • DSG gearbox not ideal
  • Expensive

BMW 1 series (2011-2019) review

£6,503Price from

Test scoreShow Context

73%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: Great-to-drive medium hatchback

The bugbear of the 1 Series is rear seat and boot space. But we love the cabin with its controls angled towards the driver. The 1 Series driving experience is also very much angled towards driver satisfaction. This is a very keen-handling car, but you pay for that with a slightly harsh ride.

Pros
  • Excellent engines
  • Economical diesels
  • Ergonomic interior
  • Class-leading technology
Cons
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Small boot
  • Expensive
  • Surprisingly noisy

Mazda 3 (2013-2019) review

£6,236Price from

Test scoreShow Context

73%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: A slightly left-field option

The Mazda 3 is an accomplished rival to the better-known players in the medium-hatchback market, with a notably sporty-feeling driving character. Mazda’s approach to its engine line-up means it’s competitive in terms of fuel economy. This Mazda is decent on space, too, and its decent reliability makes it a Which? Best Buy.

Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Roomy
  • Well equipped
  • Comfortable ride
  • Stylish looks
  • Reliable
Cons
  • Some diesels are noisy
  • Compromised visibility

Honda Civic Type-R (2017-2021) review

£34,415Price from

Test scoreShow Context

73%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: Boy-racer looks hide a real driver’s car

The cartoonish styling may divide opinion, but there’s no doubting the Civic Type-R is a full-blooded hot hatchback that can hold its head high among its more upmarket competition. Indeed, for keen drivers who prioritise fun behind the wheel, it’s one of the most compelling fast family cars available.

Pros
  • Explosive performance
  • Huge cornering ability
  • Comprehensive standard safety kit
Cons
  • Only four seats
  • Restricted all-round visibility
  • Uncompromising ride comfort

Volkswagen Golf GTD (2020-) review

£32,760Price from

Test scoreShow Context

73%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Available new
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: Proves diesel isn’t dead

In GTD guise, the Golf 8 is a highly appealing contender in the mainstream mid-size hatchback market. Its powerful diesel engine offers both potent performance and reasonable fuel economy, while its sporty chassis gives you a degree of fun that’s only matched by the Golf GTI. Despite some flaws, such as an awkward digital-control system, the Golf GTD is still a Best Buy.

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Dynamic chassis
  • Safe
  • Well equipped
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Distracting control systems
  • Can be noisy

Toyota Auris (2012-2019) review

£5,788Price from

Test scoreShow Context

72%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: Dull but dependable transport

It’s not the most engaging car in the world to drive, but the second-generation Auris is a more appealing car than its predecessor. It covers all the other bases so well – including exemplary reliability – that it’s a clear Best Buy model.

Pros
  • Exemplary reliability
  • Five-year warranty
  • Spacious
  • Safe
Cons
  • Sensitive brake and clutch pedals
  • Noisy at motorway speeds

Toyota Corolla Hybrid (2019-) review

£23,091Price from

Test scoreShow Context

72%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Available new
  • Full hybrid

Compare

 verdict: A great hybrid hatchback

The new Corolla is the best medium hatchback Toyota has produced for some time. Not only does it showcase the best of the brand’s hybrid technology – and produce low CO2 emissions (both officially and in our own independent lab tests) – but it’s also much nicer to drive and sit in than the Auris it replaces. It’s not quite as sharp to drive or as premium-feeling as some rivals, but it’s certainly worthy of Best Buy status.

Pros
  • Relaxed driving experience
  • Low emissions
  • Frugal engine
  • Safe
Cons
  • No blind-spot monitor available
  • Claustrophobic-feeling rear cabin
  • Mediocre braking performance

Volkswagen Golf GTI (2013-2020) review

£14,554Price from

Test scoreShow Context

72%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: The ‘daddy’ of hot hatchbacks

The Golf GTI has the performance to make a few sports car drivers jealous. The engine has lots of useable power, the steering is responsive and the handing is composed, although the ride is a little on the firm side. The GTI remains a very practical choice, with loads of cabin space and a decent boot.

Pros
  • Fantastic engine and gearbox
  • Spacious
  • Responsive steering
  • Sharp handling
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Overall the BMW M135i is more fun

Hyundai i30 (2012-2017) review

£4,857Price from

Test scoreShow Context

72%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: A no-excuses needed Hyundai hatchback

The i30 is a talented medium car. It may not be exciting but it is competent in all areas, and is a very spacious family hatchback with decent boot space. Equipment levels are high, too.

Pros
  • Well equipped
  • Low ownership costs
  • Five-year warranty
Cons
  • Diesel engine is noisy
  • Cabin lacks class
  • Poor visibility

Lexus CT (2011-2020) review

£24,770Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Full hybrid

Compare

 verdict: Efficient and reliable

The Lexus CT200h has safety and an economical hybrid drive train on its side, meaning it should prove cheap to run, particularly around town. It may not be the most comfortable or enjoyable family hatch and it’s showing its age, but it’s commendably reliable.

Pros
  • Low fuel consumption
  • Easy to drive
  • Excellent reliability
Cons
  • Small boot
  • Stiff ride
  • Fiddly infotainment system

DS DS 4 Crossback (2015-2018) review

£7,999Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: Style and substance

The DS4 Crossback is spacious up front and easy to drive. It lacks rear cabin space, and its ride is rather too firm. However, it’s generously equipped and individual looking, and appeals in terms of style.

Pros
  • Well equipped
  • Safe handling
  • Good looking
  • Spacious up front
  • Smooth diesels
Cons
  • Poor packaging
  • Cramped rear
  • No 4WD
  • Stiff ride
  • Lacks versatility

Seat Leon Cupra (2014-2019) review

£12,803Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: Superior hot hatch performer

The Leon Cupra is a true hot hatch in terms of power and handling, and can match the established VW Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST blow for blow. Yet it’s also very practical and comfortable, making it a deserved Best Buy.

Pros
  • More power than the Golf GTI
  • Great comfort and grip
  • Good value
Cons
  • Loses value fast
  • Cabin less plush than the Golf GTI
  • Thirsty

Kia Ceed GT (2019-) review

£26,160Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Available new
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

 verdict: Convincing all-round performance hatchback.

The GT is the most powerful model in the Kia Ceed range, with a smooth, sporty feel to the engine and a suitably gruff engine note to complement it. A well-laid-out cabin with clear controls enhances the driving experience, and cosseting, supportive seats provide comfort all round. The combination of a sporty setup and sensible surroundings makes the Ceed GT an impressive all-rounder, able to entertain when required to do so, or accommodate a family and its associated detritus when necessary. Competitively priced and well equipped, the only significant compromise comes in terms of fuel economy. In our own independent fuel tests, which are tougher than the official tests, the Ceed fell some way short of expectations.

Pros
  • Excellent driving performance
  • Generously spacious cabin
  • Top-rate safety equipment as standard
Cons
  • Poor fuel economy in our tests
  • Lots of road noise
  • Chunky rear pillars impede view behind

Volkswagen Golf GTE (2021-) review

£36,115Price from

Test scoreShow Context

71%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Available new
  • Plug-in hybrid (PHEV)

Compare

verdict: Practical plug-in

Fancy a VW Golf GTI but don’t want to live with the high running costs? The plug-in hybrid GTE could be the answer. It’s got hot-hatch levels of performance but can be very economical if you use it mostly for short journeys. It’s also great fun to drive, yet very comfortable. While the digital dashboard is frustrating and cabin quality isn’t up to VW’s usual standards, these niggles don’t prevent the Golf GTE being a Best Buy.

Pros
  • Efficient for short journeys
  • Plenty of passenger space
  • Great to drive
  • Safe
Cons
  • Distracting touchscreen
  • Expensive to buy
  • Smaller boot than regular Golf

BMW 1-series Coupe (2007-2013) review

£4,771Price from

Test scoreShow Context

70%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Petrol/Diesel/Mild hybrid

Compare

verdict: Desirable, competent compact coupé

This compact four-seat sports car has a truly premium feel. It’s great to drive thanks to sharp handling and excellent performance, virtually regardless of which engine you choose. It has a superbly comfortable cabin for two adults (if not for four) and a feeling of quality throughout. Even the boot’s a decent size.

Pros
  • Strong engines
  • Sporty chassis
  • Surprisingly practical
  • Well laid-out cabin
Cons
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Stiff manual clutch
  • Expensive

Mercedes-Benz B Class Electric Drive (2015-2017) review

£13,669Price from

Test scoreShow Context

70%

Key features

  • Medium
  • Used only
  • Electric

Compare

verdict: Electric power with few compromises

Mercedes’ B-class ED is an electric car with just a few compromises – including a range of less than 100 miles on a single charge. You can tailor it to favour power over range, or vice versa, and it’s fast, comfortable and agile. There’s lots of cabin space and a more than ample-sized boot, too.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Spacious
  • Zero tailpipe emissions
Cons
  • Expensive to buy
  • Extending range over 96 miles damages the batteries