Family hatchbacks are the most common vehicles you’ll see on UK roads, each model has it’s own unique features and looks and usually offers a good selection of engine options and trim-levels. Here are our top 5 family hatchback new cars:
The New Ford Focus
The UK’s favourite family hatchback and second best-selling new car in the UK, behind it’s little brother the Ford Fiesta.
The Ford Fiesta is all rounder, in that we don’t mean it is adequate in all departments, we mean it pretty much excels in every aspect as a family hatchback. The latest version of the Focus sports bolder looks and boasts equipment levels and a quality build that would rival some executive saloons.
The top-end models may prove too pricey as a family hatchback for some people but the good news is even the entry-level models are packed with features and equipment you’d expect on higher-end trim levels. The New Ford Focus Edge model for example offers air con, front electric power windows, a six speaker audio system with Radio/CD, a 3.5" starburst display, integrated control panel, USB port and iPod functionality, remote central locking, isofix child safety seat attachments, power steering, rake and reach adjustable steering column, front side and curtain airbags, ABS AND ESP, Torque Vectoring Control, body coloured rear spoiler and 16 inch alloy wheels.
Engine-wise there’s something for everyone from frugal diesels to the new ecoboost petrol engine line-up, there’s a 1.6 Duratorq TDCi (105 PS) Auto Start-Stop diesel that offers sub 100g/km emissions and excellent fuel economy and if you fancy a quicker diesel there are two 2.0 Duratorq TDCi (140 PS and 163 PS) diesels that offer sub 9.0 second 0-62mph acceleration. The two 1.0 ecoboost engines offer decent fuel economy, many will want to opt for the more powerful 125PS option which offers a good trade off between power and efficiency covering 0-62mph in just over 11 seconds with fuel economy of 56mpg and 114g/km CO2 emissions. If you want to go full sport mode then there’s the sporty new Ford Focus ST range.
The New Citroen C4
The new Citroen C4 is one of the most family friendly vehicles in it’s class, it offers a large boot (408 litres), comfort and practicality that should make long drives with the kids easier, it may not be as exciting to drive as the Focus or Golf but if your cruising on long journeys you’ll appreciate the smooth ride of the C4.
Equipment levels are very good. There are three trim-levels the Citroen C4 VTR, VTR+ and Exclusive. The VTR comes equipped with air-con, electric front windows and door mirrors, daytime running lights, emergency brake assist (EBS), six airbags, electronic stability control, cruise control and a CD/Radio player with aux input. The VTR+ model adds 16 inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and handbrake, electric rear windows, wing mirror LED lights, hill start assist, front fog lights, remote central locking plus MP3, USB and Bluetooth connectivity are added. If you’d like to really turn on the style the top of the range Exclusive model adds 17 inch alloy wheels, chrome trim, front seats with electric lumbar adjustment and massage, front parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, and Citroen's eTouch emergency assistance panic button system that can automatically contact the emergency services in the event of serious accident.
Engine choices are reasonable and you get the option of Citroen's e-HDi micro-hybrid system, which lowers CO2 emissions whilst at the same time boosting performance. the e-HDi engine comes as standard with an automatic transmission and offers a fuel economy of 74mpg and CO2 emissions under 100g/km. If you’re looking for some power then the 1.6 litre turbo petrol engine might be up your street (0-62mph in 8.7 seconds) or the 2.0 diesel options with similar performance but better fuel economy, there are also standard 1.4 and 1.6 litre petrol engines.
The New Renault Megane
Renault have ditched the quirky looks and gone for a more conventional looking family hatchback which should appeal to a wider audience. There is also a revised model range, the new renault Megane Expression is the entry-level model with good levels of equipment including 16 inch alloy wheels, body coloured and electrically operated door mirrors, front fog lights, air conditioning, audio system with fingertip remote, AUX, Bluetooth and USB support, rear 60/40 split-folding seats and daytime running lights. If you move up a trim-level to the New Renault Dynamique TomTom you’ll get the addition of 17 inch alloys, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, built-in TomTom sat nav, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry and start, cruise control, speed limiter and a leather steering wheel.
Renault are known for their high safety standards and the Megane received the full Euro NCAP five stars in crash tests and an impressive four stars for child protection. It is also one of the first vehicles to be equipped with anti-submarine airbags, which prevent the driver and front passenger from slipping under their seat-belts during a crash. All models across the range are equipped with ABS and EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and Brake Assist, ESC (Electronic Stability Control with traction and under-steer control), front & rear curtain airbags plus front lateral airbags.
Engines range from a 1.2 to 2.0 litre units, all of the engines are relatively efficient. The 1.2 TCe turbo petrol is likely to be popular, it offers a fuel economy of 53.3mpg and emissions of 119g/km and the 128bhp 1.6 litre dCi diesel unit is economical at 70.6mpg and 104g/km CO2 emissions. If you’re looking for a super-economical car with low running costs then you might want to take a look at the DCI 110 stop/start option that offers emissions of just 90g/km and a fuel economy of 80mpg.
The New Vauxhall Astra
The 2013 new Vauxhall Astra sports stylish new looks, making it a great looking family hatchback! Amongst some of the changes and updates are and redesigned front-end including a repositioned Vauxhall bar in the upper grille and a newly sculpted bumper with a bolder lower grille. At the rear, the license plate surround has an improved design and look too. There is also new eye-catching wheels across the range. Some models get dashes of chrome trim and there new colour options include Sculpture Bronze, Phantom Grey and Deep Sky.
Inside the new Astra there’s a redesigned centre console and materials across the range get an upgrade.
There are decent levels of equipment on the entry-level new Astra Expression and ES models including electronic stability programme (ESP), driver and front passenger airbags, front and side-impact airbags, full-size curtain airbags, 16 inch steel wheel, air con, an audio system with CD/MP3/Radio and aux support, driver’s seat height adjuster, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, electric front windows, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, remote-controlled central dead locking and adjustable steering column.
The new Astra range also benefits from a host of assistance systems such as the Eye front camera with enhanced traffic sign assistant (TSA II), a lane departure warning system (LDW), following distance indication (FDI) and forward collision alert (FCA), other options available across the range are a rear view camera, advanced parking assist and side blind spot alert technology.
There’s a huge range of engines available including the ecoflex diesel star/stop units, the 1.3 CDTi is frugal and will provide low running costs but might be a bit short on power for some, the 1.7 CDTi should be a popular choice offering 99g/km CO2 emissions and a combined fuel economy of 76mpg. Some of the turbo petrol engines offer excellent performance and there’s plenty to choose from with both automatic and manual transmissions available.
The New Volkswagen Golf
The 7th generation new VW Golf offers more room in the front and rear and the vehicle also has a bigger boot with 30 litres more storage space. The vehicle is also safer than it’s ever been with a stronger body and new safety features. Despite the modifications and additional space the car is actually 100kg lighter than it’s predecessor making it a more efficient vehicle whilst retaining it’s iconic style and looks.
Inside the new VW Golf the quality of materials and finish are excellent and should be a benchmark for vehicles in it’s class. The console is now angled more towards the driver, giving better access to controls. The VW golf also boasts a new generation of touchscreen ‘infotainment’ systems, entry level models come as standard with the 5.8 inch colour display whilst top of the range Golf models are equipped with an 8 inch colour display including sat nav there is also a DAB digital radio with USB and Bluetooth support plus trip information. If you use your phone a lot whilst on the move the universal phone holder with an inductive aerial which helps improve your signal quality will be very useful.
New start/stop technology and a lighter car contribute to improvements in the new VW Golf efficiency whilst at the same time Volkswagen are still able to improve performance in the new models. New For the first time is driver profile selection which has four modes to select from; Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual.
There are two (TSi) 1.2-litre petrol turbocharged engines (85 and 105 PS), and two 1.4-litreTSi engines (122 and 140PS), the nippy 1.4 litre (140PS) engine achieves 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds. Diesels come in a 1.6 Tdi (105PS) and a 2.0 Tdi (150PS), the 2.0 diesel TDi does 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds.
If you’re looking for economy and savings on running costs the 1.6 TDi VW Golf offers fuel economy of 62mpg (urban) and 81mpg (extra urban), the 1.2 petrol unit offers 48mpg (urban) and 67mpg (extra urban).