The hatchback is arguably the most important vehicle segment in the UK market today. Research figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal that of the best selling cars in the UK after the first half of 2012, three of the top five are classed as hatchbacks.
Hatchback cars like the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf remain popular to this day because they are an all-rounder suited for families. With the ability to combine practicality, comfort, efficiency, sharp handling and value for money, the hatchback has much to offer.
Get a FREE quote on your next
Click below and save up to 30% on a new
Get a FREE quote on your new car
Click below and save up to 30% on a new car
Therefore it's always worth keeping track on what hatchback models are currently on the market and what's coming up in the near future. But what are the best ones to look out for? Here is MotorTorque's guide on the best hatchback cars both recent and upcoming in 2013.
The Ford Focus remains one of the best-selling cars in the UK and a dependable go-to family hatchback or estate.
But is it the best hatchback in the UK? Yes. In terms of driveability, affordability and practicality it is hard to look past Ford's best-seller.
The range was bolstered earlier in 2012 by the inclusion of a frugal 1.0-litre Ecoboost three-cylinder petrol engine. This year the Focus range will expand further with the arrival of the 247bhp ST hot hatch, set to be priced from £21,995. The Focus 1.0 Ecoboost meanwhile is available from £16,445.
Ford Focus prices start from £13,995.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is a typical Alfa; packed full of stylish touches, great to look at and with a premium-feeling interior.
However, it also comes with a five-star safety rating and a new-found reliability to really challenge the likes of the Focus.
The Italian-made Giulietta five-door hatchback was updated earlier this year with the introduction of an optional TCT dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission, available for an extra £1,350.
This gearbox can be connected to either a 1.4-litre petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel unit, both engines deliver 168bhp. The cheapest TCT-equipped Giulietta is available at £21,855.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta prices start from £17,760.
The latest Audi A3 has been on sale since May 2012. Available as a three or five-door hatchback, the A3 is one of the more premium family cars on the market, and is a challenger against the likes of the Mercedes A Class and Volvo V40.
Expect plenty of gadgets and gizmos, superb interiors and fantastic engines courtesy of the VW Group. You pay a little more, but the A3 also gives a little more.
Audi A3 prices start from £19,205.
BMW 1 Series
The BMW 1 Series range is available in three or five-door hatchback bodystyles.
In September 2012 the range will be joined by the performance-focused M135i hot hatch, which boasts all-wheel drive and a 315bhp 3.0-litre petrol engine. The BMW M135i will start pricing at £27,150.
In short, it is the best hatchback if you are looking for something a little more premium. Efficient and frugal, the BMW is equipped with a high level of equipment and the fittings and finish are of the highest quality.
BMW 1 Series prices start from £19,380.
Chevrolet is often seen as a budget brand in the UK but recent upgrades to build quality and interiors, along with a new five-year warranty, have pushed it closer to the mainstream brands than ever before.
The current Chevrolet Cruze hatchback is available in the UK market now, with pricing currently starting from £14,275.
Since April 2012, the Cruze range now features a second diesel option, a 1.7-litre VCDi with 128bhp and CO2 emissions at just 117g/km.
The Chrysler Delta, a rebadged version of a Lancia model, is currently on sale now starting from £16,700.
The hatchback already offers a varied engine range, which includes a 118bhp Alfa Romeo petrol engine, as well as a 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol and two diesels with 118bhp or 163bhp to boot.
You may not have heard much about Chrysler in the UK, but the Delta is a car for those who want stand-out, American styling - while sacrificing handling and driveability.
Citroen is looking to expand the C4's range in the near future with the inclusion of a saloon and crossover specification, but the familiar five-door hatchback version is still available with three petrol engines plus three diesel units.
Citroen has a reputation for adding exciting technology into its C4 - think the Citroen dancing robot advert of days gone by - and the new C4 is no different, with plenty of kit to keep you happy.
Citroen C4 prices start from £15,750.
The latest Honda Civic went on sale in the UK during early part of 2012. The five-door hatchback currently offers three engine options, including 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrol units and a 2.2-litre diesel.
A hot hatch Type R specification of the Honda Civic with over 200bhp of grunt will reportedly hit European showrooms during 2013. For now Honda Civic prices start from £16,955.
Well-built and reliable, the Honda Civic will not cause maintenance headaches - leaving stress-free, if a little dull, motoring for all.
The new generation Hyundai i30 hatchback was launched earlier this year with a starting price of £14,500.
The five-door family car offers a host of petrol and diesel engines, starting with a 99bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit. The i30 also became a surprise winner of the 2012 Car of the Year title, courtesy of the motoring website CarBuyer.
Hyundai is a manufacturer to watch in the UK. If you're tired of the mainstream models, this is where you should be looking.
On sale in the UK since June 2012, the second-generation Kia Cee'd hatchback starts at £14,395 and aims to build on the strengths of its reasonably priced predecessor.
Engine options for the five-door Cee'd include a 133bhp 1.6-litre GDI petrol unit and a 1.6-litre CRDi diesel which on the EcoDynamics specification delivers CO2 emissions of just 97g/km.
Top Gear's Reasonably Priced Car now has plenty of other strings to its bow - not least a superb seven-year warranty.
Lexus CT 200h
The five-door Lexus CT is one of the more premium family hatchbacks presently found in the car market today.
In all specifications, the Lexus CT 200h uses a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, combining a 1.8-litre engine with a battery-powered electric motor to deliver a combined output of 134bhp.
Lexus CT 200h prices start from £23,786.
For this year the five-door hatchback has received the manufacturer's innovative Skyactiv driving technology to improve the car's economy and handling characteristics. Under the bonnet, the Mazda3 Skyactiv features a 155hp 2.0-litre petrol engine and a six-speed auto transmission.
Mazda cars are perennially underated but for a fun, involving drive and stylish lines, the Mazda3 is a tempting alternative.
Mazda3 prices starts from £14,995 in the UK market.
Mercedes A Class
The brand new Mercedes A Class is set to go on sale in UK showrooms in time for December 2012. While previous versions of the A Class were sold as a mini-MPV, the all-new model is a small and luxurious five-door family hatchback.
The A Class will offer several petrol and diesel engines; the base trim will start from £18,945 and emit just 129g/km in CO2.
The UK-built three-door Mini Hatchback is offered in a huge number of different customised styling specifications, while engines include a 1.4-litre petrol and 1.6-litre turbodiesel.
The latest Minis are fitted with BMW's fuel-saving EfficientDynamics driving technology. An all new Mini Hatchback is anticipated to arrive in the European market during 2013.
Smaller than most, it is also more premium than most with a host of customisable options and equipment to choose from.
Mini Hatchback prices start from £13,460.
Facelifted as recently as 2011, the Peugeot 308 hatchback is available in three and five-door specifications.
The 308 offers a large number of different specifications, and a reliable 1.6-litre or 2.0-litrre HDi diesel range. There's also a 200bhp THP petrol engine on offer for the maximum possible performance.
Peugeot 308 prices start from £15,345; however an all-new successor to this car is anticipated for 2013.
The French-made car last received some minor styling updates in early 2012, around the same time the engine range was also updated.
Currently the Renault Megane offers petrol and diesel engines including a 114bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol unit, as well as a 158bhp 2.0-litre diesel.
Famed for its distinctive back-end, the Megane is one of the more popular UK hatchbacks thanks to low running costs, plenty of trim options to choose from and a certain French chic design.
Renault Megane hatchback prices start from £16,280.
An all-new third-generation Seat Leon hatchback is set to go on sale in the UK during February 2013.
This is the sporty choice in the market, with a low roofline and eye-catching body colours available. However, it also uses reliable VW engines under the flashy exterior for peace of mind.
While previous versions of the Leon were sold exclusively as a five-door hatchback, the new Leon will also be available in a three-door specification and in an estate bodystyle.
Engines are expected to include a 1.2-litre petrol with 85bhp or 104bhp and two 1.4-litre petrols with 121bhp or 138bhp.
The all-new Subaru Impreza will hit the UK market later this year during 2012.
Full details on the five-door hatchback have yet to be revealed yet, but the 2012 Impreza will offer a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a turbocharged WRX specification, like previous versions of the Impreza.
The Subaru Impreza is available right now as a four-door saloon and in a bulkier crossover specification called the Impreza XV.
The current Toyota Auris hatchback has been on sale in the UK since 2007, it's available in showrooms now from £12,995 on-the-road.
The Auris specification range includes a 99bhp 1.33-litre petrol and a 130bhp 1.6-litre petrol, as well as an 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel unit. The range-topping HSD Auris uses the same electric hybrid system as the Toyota Prius and emits just 89g/km in CO2.
An all-new generation Toyota Auris is reportedly set to arrive for the 2013 market, which will likely carry over the same petrol engines from the current model.
The latest Vauxhall Astra is presently one of the highest selling family hatchbacks in the UK market, regularly competing against its arch-rival the Ford Focus.
Starting from £12,995, the Astra hatchback is available in three or five-door specification and offers a huge number of trims.
Engine options are also highly numbered; with the choice including several frugal CDTi diesel engines, available with Vauxhall's green 'EcoFlex' brand.
An all-new Vauxhall Astra is planned for the future, but production is not expected to start until 2015.
An all-new generation Volkswagen Golf is expected to be revealed at the 2012 Paris Motor Show this September. The hatchback, featuring a steel and aluminium body which makes the car 40kg lighter than its predecessor, will hit markets worldwide during 2013.
The latest Volkswagen Golf is currently the highest selling car in Europe after the first half of 2012. The popular hatchback offers a large range of petrol and diesel engines, including a 158bhp 1.4-litre TSI supercharged petrol unit and a road tax-busting 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion diesel.
Volkswagen Golf prices start from £16,425.
The Volvo C30 hatchback is currently on the market with a starting price of £15,295. The three-door Swedish family car offers a 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel engine as well as a 2.0-litre petrol unit.
A plug-in electric powertrain version of the Volvo C30 has also been developed, with a projected travel range of 75-95 miles. The C30 Electric was created as part of a project for inductive charging. Since last year, the C30 Electric has been offered to motorists in Europe, albeit in very limited production numbers.