Top 10 best hatchbacks 2023
Hatchback models are hugely popular thanks to the practicality of a large boot opening. Here we take a look at some of the best hatchback models of all shapes and sizes
The humble hatchback bodystyle has been a mainstay of the UK car market for decades. Hatchback cars make it much easier to access and load luggage in and out of the boot and offer more practicality than the traditional saloon car. The versatility of the hatchback means it has been incorporated into the design of an increasingly diverse variety of models varying in size, style and with a plethora of innovative hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric drivetrains, not to mention the conventional petrol and diesel hatchback offerings.
Hatchback cars tend to be the best cars for families, as their large boots are easier to load with everything the family needs. Some of our best hatchbacks will offer a staggering amount of boot space in spite of their small overall dimensions. Hatchbacks are even making their way into more premium, luxury cars to make them more practical, as manufacturers try to offer as much as they can in one package.
Hatchback boots are also easy to access in almost any parking space and garage, with hydraulic struts or even electric power designed to make opening and shutting the boot easy. This is preferable to the side-opening tailgates of some SUVs like the Land Rover Defender, that can be awkward in tight gaps and very heavy.
Luckily, hatchback fans are spoilt for choice, because not only does just about every supermini and family car come with a hatch, so do most crossovers, SUVs and an increasing number of high-performance and electric cars. Our list of the best hatchbacks on sale in the UK right now includes everything from superminis, larger family-friendly models, hot hatches and luxury cars – many of which are electric.
The Skoda Fabia has proved a huge success since it was launched in the early 2000s as a budget-friendly alternative to the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta. The latest version feels of a higher build quality and more upmarket than ever before, offering much more value-for-money than rivals.
One of the biggest selling points of the Fabia is its brilliant practicality for such a small car. Its 380-litre boot is the best in its class and even gets close to rivalling boot sizes of cars from the class above.
Every version of the Skoda Fabia comes with a decent level of equipment, which seems to have trickled down from models higher in the range. Sleek LED headlights and tail-lights come as standard, and top-of-the-range models get premium features like a panoramic roof and heated steering wheel. The Fabia doesn’t come with a hybrid or even mild-hybrid option and its petrol engines are fairly basic, ranging from an entry-level 79bhp 1.0-litre model capable of up to 54.8mpg, to the most powerful 148bhp 1.5-litre option that can do 51.1mpg, meaning it won’t be too expensive to run, regardless.
Park the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf next to each other, and you probably wouldn’t guess they’re almost identical under the skin. A longer body and stretched boot makes the Octavia look like a much larger car, and its luggage space is massive as a result.
There’s 600 litres of space behind the back seats, and the boot lid opens to reveal a long and wide aperture. It’s a well thought out space too, with a 12V power supply, hooks for shopping bags or takeaways, and optional cargo nets to keep items secure. There’s also a Skoda Octavia Estate if you need even more room.
The Ford Fiesta is one of the most popular small hatchbacks ever sold in Britain. It’s been so successful thanks to its combination of affordability, availability, style, practicality and by being surprisingly good to drive. Ford’s engineers certainly know how to sprinkle some magic on its supermini, giving it sharp steering and agility, without making it uncomfortable.
The boot grew slightly to 311 litres with the most recent model, and the hatchback is now wider to make loading easier. A variable boot floor is also available to help make the load area a flatter shape. Sadly, the Fiesta is being discontinued later this year, despite having remained one of the best superminis throughout history, but at the time of writing, there’s still time to buy a new one, as well as a huge used supply.
We’ve been impressed with MG’s latest electric hatchback since its release, and the MG4 serves as a budget-friendly alternative to the likes of the Volkswagen ID.3 and Renault Megane E-Tech. In fact, the MG4 is one of the cheapest electric cars on the market, so it could help plenty of buyers get their first taste of EV ownership. Its boot may not be the biggest in its class, but does beat other smaller electric city cars in its price range.
The range starts with an entry-level 168bhp model with a 51kWh battery providing a range of up to 218 miles. There’s a higher-spec Long Range version which comes with a 200bhp motor and 64kWh battery with a range of 281 miles. 150kWh charging means it will do a 10-80% charge in just over half an hour. The MG4 isn’t just good thanks to its affordability – it also comes with a generous amount of standard kit, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, adaptive cruise control, and plenty of safety systems. You also get premium tech such as a 360-degree camera, heated front seats and wireless phone charging on Trophy models.
The latest version of the Honda Civic represents a complete overhaul of Honda’s hatchback, and is the most hi-tech Civic ever. There’s only one powertrain of the latest Civic: a self-charging e:HEV hybrid system consisting of a 2.0-litre petrol engine paired with a 1.05kWh battery that also utilises regenerative braking to charge up. The Civic’s longer size means it’s roomier than before and offers a decent-sized boot, with 410 litres making it one of the more practical models in its class.
The Civic offers both a good driving experience and a comfortable ride – it can be a rare feat to achieve the two. Its interior is a big improvement over the previous model, with sturdy build quality and feel. It gets smartphone connectivity and at least a nine-inch touchscreen, upgraded to 10.2 inches on higher-spec cars. We even think the current Civic’s interior feels more upmarket than that of a Volkswagen Golf.
New hot hatch models come around much less frequently these days, but the Hyundai i20 N is one car that continues to prove that a humble hatchback can still be fun and fast. The brand hasn’t always been known for its place in the hot hatch market, but recent years have seen its high-performance N models take the class by storm – the Hyundai i20 N sets its aim squarely at the Ford Fiesta ST and kicked the well-established Ford off its long-held throne as our favourite hot hatchback in the previous two Carbuyer Best Car Awards.
There’s a good reason the i20 N is such a great performer; the standard i20 model was designed from its inception with the hot N variant in mind. The car’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine has 201bhp and is paired to a six-speed manual gearbox, propelling it from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds. Sure, there are faster hot hatches, but real class-contenders are those which offer the most exciting handling dynamics – in fact, the Hyundai i20 N delivers on that front even better than its larger sibling, the i30 N. Throw some extra personality into the mix with Hyundai’s signature Performance Blue paintwork, an aggressive splitter, body panels, rally-inspired roof spoiler and large alloy wheels and the i20 N truly delivers on that hot hatch ‘X factor.’
The Cupra Born shares a platform with the Volkswagen ID.3 and represents a sportier version of the EV on which it’s based. The Born is more aggressively styled, lower and longer than the Volkswagen, adding a little more style and pizzazz than its sibling which makes it a little less clinical. The Born offers a decent 385-litre boot, making it practical enough for most, though its main selling point is its sporty character.
The Cupra born feels good to drive as is intended for an electric hot hatch, and comes offered with either a 58kWh battery with or without ‘e-Boost’, and a 77kWh battery version. Both versions of the 58kWh will manage 260 miles on a charge, with the 77kWh battery capable of 340 miles before needing a top-up. The e-Boost option ups the ante somewhat to deliver more on the electric hot hatch promise.
The Citroen C5 X is one of the larger models on this list, offering an SUV-like stance paired with a sleek hatchback body. When it was launched it seemed like a somewhat niche look, but other Stellantis cars like the fastback Peugeot 408 and upcoming Vauxhall Insignia are set to use similar designs. Despite what you might expect from the low roofline, the C5 X offers a big 545-litre boot, which increases to 1,640 litres with the seats folded down.
Despite its hatchback status, the C5 X is Citroen’s flagship product, traditionally the domain of long, luxury saloons. The car seems to offer that luxury feel and comfort in a high-riding hatchback package. Comfortable it is – its hydraulic suspension stoppers and hi-tech system that scans the road surface ahead so the suspension can quickly adjust to reduce the impact of harsh jolts, making it ideal for less-than-ideal British roads. It comes in petrol or petrol plug-in hybrid guise, so buyers looking to reduce fuel costs are catered for.
There’s a lot to like about the latest Dacia Sandero; its underpinnings are based on the latest Renault Clio, which means it's a lot more modern than the previous generation which was based on much older Renault technology for the time. As a much better value alternative to the Clio, buyers might be hard-pressed to even consider the Renault when shopping for a new hatchback.
The Sandero is pretty practical, with 328 litres of boot space – that’s generous for a car its size. Earlier, more basic entry-level versions have since been discontinued, so the Sandero starts from Essential trim which comes with DAB radio, cruise control and emergency braking tech, although you’ll have to spring for the Expression version if you want niceties like an eight-inch infotainment system, leather steering wheel and auto wipers and lights and electric windows in the back. Engines don’t include a hybrid option, but one petrol engine with 89bhp is available as well as a bi-fuel 99bhp option, which will allow you to run on cheaper LPG fuel as well as petrol if you live near an LPG pump.
The latest Vauxhall Astra looks much more modern than its predecessor, sporting the sleek ‘Vauxhall Vizor’ front grille. Although the medium-sized hatchback has plenty of competitive rivals, its offering of a variety of drivetrains, including traditional petrol, diesel and hybrid engines, plus an all-electric model incoming, puts it on this list.
The entry-level petrol model is a 1.2-litre unit producing 108bhp, with a 128bhp version also available. It’s rarer to come across diesel as an offering these days, but the Astra can be specced with a 1.5-litre diesel engine producing 128bhp. All petrol and diesel versions can be paired with an auto or manual gearbox. For now, the cheapest version to run is the plug-in hybrid Vauxhall Astra Hybrid-e, which pairs a 1.6-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and its 178bhp makes it the most powerful model in the lineup. A Vauxhall Astra Electric model is on its way, powered by a 153bhp electric motor, with a 54kWh battery giving it a range of 258 miles, so buyers are truly spoilt for choice.
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