The front exterior of a white Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Best used hatchbacks

Hatchback cars are hugely popular and they’re great value as a used buy. With so many to choose from where do you start? Here’s our guide to the best used hatchbacks around.

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By Cazoo editorial team

The hatchback car is truly a jack-of-all-trades. Practical yet not too large, good to drive yet cost-effective to own. Little wonder that hatchbacks often dominate the list of the UK’s top 10 best-selling cars or that there are always a wealth of tempting used examples for sale.

Whether you want low running costs, a sporty drive, a premium badge or excellent practicality, there’s a used hatchback out there for you. Best of all, many manage to combine all of these attributes, and more, in one car. To help you choose from all the brilliant used hatchbacks out there, here’s our guide to the very best of them.

1. Ford Fiesta

No guide to the best hatchbacks would be complete without including the UK’s best-selling car. The Ford Fiesta has been at or very near the top of the sales charts for many years and it deserves to be because it’s one of the best small cars on offer.

If you want a spread of engines, from cost-effective to sporty, take your pick. And if you’re after the latest tech features and sharp styling, no problem. There’s reasonable space inside too. On top of all that, every single version is really good fun to drive. Being behind the wheel of a Fiesta just feels good, so you’re unlikely to mind that there are probably several others on the same road as you at any one time.

Read our Ford Fiesta review

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2. Ford Focus

If the Fiesta doesn’t quite have the space you need, then perhaps the larger Focus does. Another big-seller, the Ford Focus repeats the Fiesta’s fun-to-drive formula and also mirrors the broad range of engines and trim levels to choose from.

Whether you want a value-for-money runabout, a diesel-powered motorway machine or a sporty hot hatch there’s a Focus for you. And you won’t have to pay through the nose for one because it’s very competitively priced. For even more space, check out the estate version and if you fancy some (very) light off-roading or simply prefer a more rugged look. There’s even an Active model that has a 4x4-style makeover and raised suspension.

Read our Ford Focus review

3. Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf is another big name, and it’s another car that can suit a range of different needs. Its selling point over the likes of the Focus is a premium feel, without straying into the more upmarket prices of brands like Audi or BMW.

A new Golf was launched in 2019 and you’ll soon see plenty of them on the used market, but the previous (seventh-generation) model remains one of the best used cars you can buy. Every Golf is stylish, classy and great to drive and comes with a very high level of equipment including lots of technology and entertainment options. There are plenty to choose from, with small-engined cost-effective versions at one end of the range to powerful hot hatches like the Golf GTI and Golf R at the other. Hybrid and electric versions are available too.

Read our Volkswagen Golf review

4. Seat Leon

If you’re after a used hatchback with a bit of Mediterranean flair, the Seat Leon could be the answer. It uses many of the same parts as the Golf, because Volkswagen and Seat share a parent company, but the Spanish manufacturer has added sleeker styling and a sportier feeling behind the wheel.

The Leon tends to be more affordable than the Golf too, but retains a high-quality interior and much of the same high-tech features. Like many other cars on this list, there’s a range of petrol and diesel engines, while the sporty Cupra models at the top of the range are excellent hot hatches.

5. BMW 1 Series

The luxury hatchback is a relatively recent phenomenon, with premium brands moving to cater for people who don’t necessarily want a large car but enjoy a smart image, luxurious interior and lots of features in a relatively compact package.

A great example is the BMW 1 Series, which offers all the driving appeal and high-tech equipment you expect of the brand in a car that’s the same size as a Volkswagen Golf. An all-new model was launched in 2019 but for now the smart money goes on the previous-generation car, which is really good value and has a rear-wheel drive layout (the latest car has front-wheel drive) that gives it great balance around corners. You’ll pay a bit more for the BMW badge than you would for more mainstream brands, but the interior quality is a bit more special and BMW’s engines are some of the most efficient (and therefore cost-effective) around.

Read our BMW 1-Series review

6. Mercedes-Benz A-Class

If you want a hatchback that gives you a real slice of luxury then the Mercedes-Benz A-Class could be for you. The latest model, which was launched in 2018, really ups the ante with an interior that has true wow factor thanks to its huge display screen and top-notch quality throughout.

It’s good to drive and there are a huge variety of versions to choose from, with options that offer inexpensive running costs, varying amounts of luxury equipment and sporty AMG models. The previous A-Class model shares many of the current car’s positives and is well worth a look, but it’s well worth stretching your budget to the newer car if you can afford it since it’s better in every area.

Read our Mercedes-Benz A-Class review

7. Audi A3

The Audi A3 is Audi’s entry into the luxury hatchback market. It was relaunched in an all-new form in 2020, but the previous-generation model is the one that makes the cut here, since it remains one of the finest hatchbacks that you can buy.

As you’d expect from an Audi, impeccable interior quality is a large part of the A3’s appeal. It delivers on the tech front with a very smart infotainment system and lots of useful features. Every version is good to drive, blending excellent ride comfort with sharp handling. Some versions are very sporty and there are also ‘quattro’ four-wheel drive versions that give you even more confidence if road conditions are poor. In addition to a wide range of petrol and diesel options there’s also a plug-in hybrid version called ‘e-tron’ that offers a realistic electric-only range of up to 20 miles or so.

Read our Audi A3 review

8. Skoda Octavia

Although it’s closely related to the Volkswagen Golf, the Skoda Octavia is a much longer car. That extra size makes the Octavia one of the most practical hatchbacks around, with a boot capacity none of its rivals can match. Skoda has a knack for designing its cars around how its customers will use them too, so as well as a huge boot (and the option of an estate version if you want even more space), there are clever features like a detachable, magnetic torch in the boot, an umbrella under the seat and an ice scraper behind the fuel flap.

You’ll find many of the same engines available for the Octavia as you’ll find in the Seat Leon and VW Golf, which means there’s something to suit everyone. There’s a similarly smart feel to the cabin, as well as a neat touchscreen system and lots of sophisticated safety equipment as standard.

9. Vauxhall Astra

Used hatchbacks don’t get much more affordable than the Vauxhall Astra. Pound for pound nothing much comes close and you get an excellent all-rounder for your money.

Put simply, the Astra does everything well. It’s good to drive, for starters, with a smooth ride and little noise in the interior at speed. The wide range of engines includes some that are very economical and others that offer strong performance, while all versions are well-equipped. Although the Astra’s interior doesn’t quite have the premium sheen of some rivals it’s very well built, easy to use and practical and there’s a usefully large and well shaped boot.

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

Cazoo makes selling a car just as easy – just enter a few details for an instant online valuation. If you accept the offer our partners will get in touch to arrange payment and collection of your car at a time that suits you.