SEAT Leon hatchback

£17,700 - £24,695

The SEAT Leon is a Volkswagen Group car, so it shares many components with rivals such as the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. However, the Leon has something that its sister cars don't – ultra-stylish looks. We think it's a great all-rounder and excellent value for money.

Gone are the days of SEAT receiving the VW Group's hand-me-down parts – the current Leon comes packed with cutting-edge equipment and is still cheaper to buy than a Golf. The lower price is what sets it apart from the rest, and you could even say it's a rival for less upmarket models such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

Thanks to its lower and wider dimensions, this generation of Leon is more practical than the car it replaced. It's more pleasing to look at outside and inside, too, as interior quality is significantly better than in its predecessor.

There are three trim levels to choose from: entry-level S, mid-range SE and top-of-the-range FR. A new trim, named SE Technology Business will be available from early 2016. All handle very tidily indeed, managing to be comfortable and supple at the same time. The steering is also accurate and sharp, albeit not overflowing with feedback.

Crash-test body Euro NCAP has given the Leon its maximum five-star rating, with particular praise given to the way it protects both adult and child occupants in the event of an accident.