Best all-round cars to buy now
Today’s car buyers are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking an excellent new car. Here, we round up some of our favourite all-rounders on sale now
Today’s car buyers are very lucky indeed. Cars you can buy now are the best they’ve ever been: more efficient, safe and user-friendly than ever before. Amazingly, in many cases, they’re also more affordable than at any time in the past.
Over time, new technologies quickly become more affordable and popular, so even the cheapest cars you’ll find on sale today. Despite this added complexity, cars tend to need far less maintenance than they once did (for many motorists, the yearly service is the only time their car needs to go to a garage), and ever-improving reliability means cars can be driven further before they need to pay a visit to a workshop.
Running a car today is also cheaper than it used to be. More efficient engines mean drivers can travel further on a tank of fuel, and their lower CO2 emissions mean motorists pay less annual road tax. Opt for an electric or hybrid car that can cover decent distances on a single battery charge, and you could see your running costs tumble even further. Attractive finance packages and discount offers help streamline things further in getting a shiny new car on your driveway.
Our annual Driver Power satisfaction survey tells us that car owners are generally happier than ever with their vehicles, which is fantastic news. This is testament to the fact that, by and large, there isn’t really a bad car on the market right now – though, while most models typically have a few plus points going for them, some are more exceptional and well-rounded than others.
It’s these all-rounders in particular that we want to focus on here. They may not necessarily be the best in a particular area, but their wide-ranging spread of abilities and positive attributes help them cover a lot of areas that matter to a majority of car buyers, and are therefore definitely worth considering if you’re looking to soon buy a new car.
Read on below for our picks of some of the best all-round cars you’ll be able to buy today from showrooms in the UK. If there was a specific type of car you were looking for, do also check out our winners from the 2022 Carbuyer Best Car Awards, as the vehicles that come out on top covered a broad variety of makes, models, price points and engine options.
Whether you’re upgrading from an older supermini or looking to downsize from a larger car, the Ford Fiesta should be on your radar if you’re after a well-rounded small hatchback. Despite now being one of the older models in its class, the Ford Fiesta still sets the benchmark when it comes to fun handling, and the Fiesta also performs well in areas like practicality and value for money.
Factor in the tweaks introduced in the 2022 mid-life facelift, and the already capable Ford Fiesta is now stronger than ever.
If you want a practical family car with a big boot, then the Skoda Octavia is definitely worth having on your radar. Even the regular hatchback model has up to 600 litres of cargo capacity, and this expands to 640 litres on the roomier estate version.
There’s also lots to like about the Skoda Octavia if spaciousness isn’t high on your agenda: a smooth ride and light controls help make the Skoda easy to drive, and the efficient engines help keep the running costs down, too.
The latest iteration of the Hyundai Tucson is proof the Korean company’s days of building cheap and cheerful cars are now long behind it. While it’s no longer the budget option its predecessors were, the current Hyundai Tucson justifies the extra outlay with its improved equipment levels and build quality, strong practicality and a selection of well-rounded engine options.
So impressed are we with the latest Hyundai Tucson, we crowned it our overall car of the year in the 2022 Carbuyer Best Car awards, and it also picked up accolades in the best family car and best hybrid categories.
The Range Rover is by some margin the most expensive vehicle here, though your money does get you a very capable car. Even the regular model boasts a big boot and lots of passenger space (there’s also a long-wheelbase model with even more rear seat leg room on offer), which in tandem with the upmarket-feeling interior and cossetting ride makes the Range Rover a plush and comfy space to spend long journeys in.
Being a Range Rover, it’s also an accomplished off-roader, and towing heavy loads shouldn’t be a problem, either – bar the plug-in hybrid models, which can haul loads up to 2,500kg, the rest of the Range Rover range have towing capacities of up to 3,500kg.
If you’re after a new executive car that ticks a lot of boxes, then there are worse options out there than the BMW 3 Series. The car’s responsive handling doesn’t come at the expense of ride comfort, which in conjunction with the roomy and well-built interior makes the 3 Series just at home on a twisty road as it is cruising on the motorway. There are lots of great engines available, too: the diesels make great all-rounders, there are also a selection of petrols and plug-in hybrids to choose from if you do a lot of town driving.
If you want to broaden the 3 Series’ abilities even further, BMW does sell a Touring estate version in addition to the standard saloon – and, while there isn’t yet a fully electric variant of the 3 Series, you are catered for in this regard with the similarly-sized BMW i4.
The latest Volkswagen Golf isn’t a revolutionary upgrade over the model it replaces – though, when the old Golf was already a great all-rounder, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As before, the most recent generation of VW Golf covers a lot of bases really well, with aspects such as its build quality, refinement, ease of use and practicality being examples of some of the areas it performs strongest in.
The Golf comes with a variety of engine choices, too, from frugal diesels to peppy petrols, refined plug-in hybrids and a few powerful options for the hot hatch models, so there’ll be a flavour of VW Golf to suit most family car buyers.
The Dacia Jogger is already off to a strong start when it comes to value for money. After all, this is a seven-seater family car that’s on par price-wise with some smaller superminis. There’s more to the Jogger than its bang for your bucks, too, as equipment levels are good across the range (mid-range Comfort models in particular strike a nicely-judged balance between features and affordability) and even adults won’t be left wanting for too much space in the third row of seats.
The 108bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine the Jogger has is a decent all-rounder, too, though it’s a bit on the slow side when the car’s fully laden – if you need a bit more punch, it may be worth waiting for the 138bhp hybrid engine to join the range in 2023.
You’re well and truly spoilt for choice if you’re looking for a new small SUV or compact crossover, as there are plenty of examples to pick from nowadays. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of those options, a great place to start is the Renault Captur which we crowned our favourite small car in the 2022 Carbuyer Best Car awards.
Stylish looks help it stand out in this heavily congested pack, and the Captur has good affordability credentials thanks to its competitive pricing and low running costs. Light controls and compact dimensions make the Renault easy to drive around town, yet despite its small size the Captur is also generously roomy in comparison with other cars in this class.
The Skoda Fabia may be overlooked by some in favour of cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa or VW Polo, but that shouldn’t mean you should follow suit. Do so, and you’ll be missing out on quite a versatile little car that, despite its compact size and affordable price, comes well equipped and is handily practical.
The Fabia in particular impresses when it comes to boot space – at 380 litres, the Fabia has a luggage volume on par with larger hatchbacks like the Ford Focus and VW Golf, so you won’t be sacrificing space in the Skoda if you’re downsizing into the Fabia from a bigger car.
It may now be one of the older cars in Kia’s current line-up, but the Kia Ceed still stands strong as an accomplished all-rounder. A well-made and nicely-equipped interior are handy plus points on the Kia’s resume and, while the Ceed is neither the most comfortable nor the most fun family car to drive, it nevertheless strikes a pleasant middle ground.
Competitive prices help make the Kia Ceed a good value option, and the car’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty will be reassuring to buyers who plan on keeping their Ceed for a while.
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