The C-segment, made up of small family cars like crossovers, estates and hatchbacks, is not only the most popular but one of the most competitive in the car market.
The hatchback in particular continues to attract drivers. Offering a practical layout in a relatively compact shell, the hatchback has been the mainstay of family drivers for some time.
Read our pick of the 10 best hatchbacks out there to see which models you should be looking out for.
The Ford Focus has gone on to be a consistently good seller with British drivers since replacing the Escort in 1998. The latest iteration, released in 2018, is the most advanced yet and features a series of high-end safety systems and driver assists.
Add to that its sharp looks and spacious interior, and the Focus is a near-complete package. Customers can also choose a SUV-styled version called the Focus Active – with increased ride height and extended wheel arches – for a higher view of the road. Prices start from £18,545.
Designed specifically for the European market, the Ceed comes with Kia’s 7-year/100,000-mile warranty as standard. And the latest model boasts convenience features like automatic wipers and air conditioning.
Now in its third generation, the Ceed comes with a choice of efficient petrol and diesel engines, as well manual or automatic transmissions. It also boasts a 380-litre boot and plenty of passenger space. The competitively priced Kia starts from £18,850 for Ceed 2.
Seen as the daddy of the hatchback world, the Volkswagen Golf is arguably one of the best hatchbacks of all time. Since 1974, the Golf has been the benchmark, and although the current model is set to be replaced in 2020, the 7th generation still holds its own.
Priced from £22,080, the entry-level Golf features air conditioning, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and a driver alert system. It offers plenty of interior space, and it looks great on the outside too.
The Japanese firm has a reputation for developing sportier-feeling models, and the new Mazda 3 is no different, with its sharpest design to date.
Priced from £20,595 for the entry SE-L trim, models are a bit pricier than its closest rivals to start with. But the base level model features a head-up display, touchscreen infotainment system, air conditioning, parking sensors and LED headlights – making it great value for money.
Built on the platform as the VW Golf, the Leon has a great base to work from. But with Seat opting for a more involving driver experience, the Leon is arguably more fun to drive than its VW parent.
After 10 generations, the Civic has established itself as a solid hatchback choice. Admittedly more inspiring in hot hatch, Type R spec, the entry level Civic is looking as sharp as it ever has and comes with plenty of space.
Featuring an impressive amount of kit, the latest Civic has Bluetooth, safety assists, parking sensors and automatic climate control. For the SE entry level option, prices start from £19,100.
The Astra has been a popular option for UK drivers, and the current model has been recently updated. It’s now more refined and comes with more equipment from the entry level. Vauxhall has also improved the chassis setup for a more comfortable driving experience.
This version of the Astra also comes with efficient engines that allow drivers to make quiet and smooth progress on long-distance journeys. Coming as standard with a touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control and air conditioning, prices start from £18,885.
Audi A3 Sportback
The Audi A3 is also based on the VW platform, but as a more premium effort. Featuring dynamic suspension, a 7-inch infotainment display and 16-inch alloy wheels, the A3 Sportback comes well-equipped from the £21,840 starting price.
The 340-litre boot isn’t the largest available, but it’s certainly substantial, while passenger space is also in line with what you’d expect. It’s not the most inspiring to drive, but it’s comfortable and great for covering long distances.
BMW 1 Series
With the switch to front-wheel drive, the new BMW 1 Series builds on the success of its rear-wheel drive predecessor. It looks bulkier on the outside, but the cabin is still what you’d expect from BMW – smart, well-built and well-equipped.
Because it’s front-wheel drive, the new 3rdgeneration model has a larger boot than before, despite being shorter and lower. And it’s stable and nice to drive, meaning previous fans of the model won’t be able to tell the difference. Prices start from £24,430.
Another relation of the VW Golf, the Octavia comes with larger storage and passenger space. The design isn’t the most invigorating, but it’s solidly built and comes with plenty of kit.
Starting from £18,610, the entry S model comes with 16-inch alloys, an 8-inch touchscreen with smartphone connectivity and air conditioning. If you’ve got a few kids in tow, the space and solid nature of the interior could make the Octavia your pick of the market.