Best used hatchbacks

Versatile, value-for-money and available in a wide range of sizes: there's a model for you among the best used hatchbacks

John Evans
May 31, 2017

You might need a car for the school run, the weekly shop, as a second runaround, to have a bit of fun or all of the above. Whatever the task, the chances are that a hatchback is going to be able to do the job.

That’s because they have a bootlid that opens up the back of the car for easy luggage loading. Fold down the seats, and the capacity can become enormous. Prices range from bargain basement city cars, to the tycoon territory of the £200,000 Ferrari GTC4.

Despite the increasing popularity of taller crossovers and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), standard hatchbacks are still the most popular cars on the road, which means that there are plenty of used examples to choose from.

Smaller models in particular are efficient and cheap to tax too - as a long as you opt for one that was registered before April this year, when a more expensive tax regime was introduced for all but electric cars.

As a result, there are plenty of used hatchbacks on the market to choose from. Read on for our pick of the best.

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Best used electric hatchback

Renault Zoe

Our pick Renault Zoe Dynamique Intens  Typical price £5,489 (2013/13, 17,000 miles)

Renault’s electric supermini is as conventional-looking and practical as its petrol- and diesel-powered Clio, but demand for the Zoe, which is smooth, quiet and nippy, never lived up to expectations.

That explains why you can snap up a four-year-old example for around £5500. In used car terms, that’s value-for-money especially when you take into account the Zoe’s space, ride comfort and equipment. Pick the Dynamique Intens model, which used to be the top-of-the-range car, and you’ll have Bluetooth, an Arkamys sound system, rear parking sensors and camera among the standard equipment.

It’s free to tax and exempt from the London Congestion Charge, but you will need to factor in a rental charge for the battery, which is around £50 a month.

A recent update to the car means that some versions of the latest Zoe can travel for well over 100 miles on a single charge, but earlier cars are unlikely to manage any more than 90 miles in good conditions. In winter, the range can drop to just over 60 miles.
Read more in the Renault Zoe buying guide

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Best used city car hatchback

Seat Mii

Our pick Seat Mii 1.0 Design 3dr  Typical price £6,995 (2016/66, 8000 miles)

The Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and VW up! were all developed together and are virtually the same car behind their different badges, but the Mii represents the best value of the trio on the used market.

It’s spacious, with room for four adults - despite its size - and comfortable for such a small car. The engine is zippy in town and economical too.

Some excellent deals on brand new Seat Miis have helped push used prices down, so you can pick up a 2016 car in well-equipped Design Mii specification for less than £7,000.

These cars come with alloy wheels, electric mirrors, air conditioning and front electric windows, as well as a smartphone kit, including Bluetooth, a dashboard holder, which makes it easy to connect your phone, stream music and use it as a sat-nav with a special app from Seat.
More details in the Seat Mii buying guide

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Best used family hatchback

Ford Focus 

Our pick Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 125 Zetec  Typical price £11,500 (2016/65, 15,000 miles)

Not for nothing is the Ford Focus one of Britain’s best-selling cars. It’s comfortable and smooth but also responsive in corners where it has an agility that makes it fun to drive.

It might be getting on a bit, with a dated-looking dashboard and small boot, but the Focus is still fresh to drive - particularly if you choose one fitted with the 125 horsepower, 1-litre petrol engine. It’s powerful without needing to be revved too hard, and has a sporty-sounding thrum. You can forget the official fuel economy figure of 60mpg, though: drive carefully and the car will return around 40mpg.

Diesel versions are cheaper and more economical, but if you opt for one - and you have the budget - then it’s wise to opt for one that meets the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, which will reduce the chances of being hit by future diesel charges. Every car registered since September 2015 should meet the standards, and some complied before then.
Read the full Ford Focus buying guide

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Best used hybrid hatchback

Audi A3 e-tron

Our pick Audi A3 Sportback e-tron  Typical price £23,000 (2016/65, 21,000 miles)

For low running costs and cheaper company car tax without the range limitations of an electric car, it’s hard to beat a plug-in hybrid car.

These combine an engine with an electric motor and batteries. You can recharge the car by plugging it in, which will give the Audi enough energy to drive for around 20 miles before the batteries run low and the petrol engine needs to start up.

On short journeys, where the battery is used for most or all of the trip, the Audi’s mpg figure is stratospheric. But the further you go, the more you'll use the engine, and the closer it will be to a conventional Audi.

That’s because - apart from the motor and battery - the A3 e-tron is almost a conventional Audi A3, with the same quality interior, understated design, smooth gearbox and quiet drive. You do lose some boot space and can sense the extra weight of the batteries, though.
Read more in the Audi A3 buying guide

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Best used hot hatchback

Ford Fiesta ST

Our pick Ford Fiesta ST-2 3dr  Typical price £11,690 (2013/63, 14,000 miles)

Hot hatchbacks are supposed to make driving fun, without the price and ostentatious design of a sports car. The Fiesta ST is the ultimate example among the cars on sale today. It may be due for replacement later this year, but it doesn’t feel close to its sell by date.

That’s thanks to a responsive engine that delivers a shove of power as soon as you press the accelerator, and steering that really feels directly connected to the front wheels - like on a go kart. It’ll dart left and right in a flash, so you’ll take any excuse to divert onto twisty country roads, where you can have fun within the speed limit.

The Fiesta ST is cheap at its brand new price of under £20,000 and a bargain for the second-hand price of less than £12,000.
Read the Ford Fiesta ST buying guide

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