Buying a secondhand hatchback? Here's our motoring experts pick of the best
To help you make a wise buy, our motoring experts have put together a handy guide to the best-value pre-owned hot, small and family hatchbacks
HOW WE PUT THIS BUYER'S GUIDE TOGETHER
• The best motoring journalists in the Times Media Group carefully assessed all the vehicles in each segment before selecting an outright winner, a runner up and left field choice.
• Their combined knowledge ensured their decisions are based on superb market experience, backed up with information from essential almanacs such as TransUnion dealer books and parts pricing reports.
• They only looked at vehicles less than five years old, which means many will have some form of warranty still in place. Within that five-year period, each winner is based on a 2013 model.
THE BEST VALUE PRE-OWNED HOT HATCHES
Winner: Volkswagen Golf VI GTI (pictured above)
Still a capable model, the Golf VI GTI blends everyday usability with hot hatch performance.
Insurance is likely to be slightly higher than rivals due to the model being prone to theft. That said, residual values are very good, while maintenance should be reasonably affordable.
DSG models are more popular and offer the practicality of an automatic gearbox, particularly in traffic.
If you are looking for a performance hot hatch with good build quality and everyday usability, few come close to a Golf GTI.
Runner-up: Ford Fiesta ST
The Ford Fiesta ST is a proper little pocket rocket for the price. Great performance and superb handling make it a brilliant package.
Left field: Renault Megane RS CUP
Our left-field choice is one many of the Times Media Group's motoring team would like to own, but not drive every day. The Renault Megane RS Cup is blindingly quick and grips in the corners like a proper racing machine, but the suspension is too hard for daily use.
THE BEST VALUE PRE-OWNED SMALL HATCHES
Winner: Ford Fiesta (1.6 Ambiente)
It might be long in the tooth now with the new model expected to arrive later in 2017, but the current Ford Fiesta remains a well-sorted, decently built small hatch that is also fun to drive.
Residual values have been particularly good, so should resale time come, you should still get something decent from it.
There is a good level of standard equipment including the voice-prompted Sync system, while the styling is still relevant among its newer entrants.
Runner-up: Honda Jazz
Honda’s previous-generation Jazz is a perennial favourite with great reliability and better build quality than the new one.
Left field: Suzuki Swift
Suzuki’s Swift might not seem that left-field, but it's often not on the list for buyers seeking brand names.
THE BEST VALUE PRE-OWNED FAMILY HATCHES
Winner: Volkswagen Golf VI (1.4 TSI Trendline)
The benchmark in the segment, the Golf is an evergreen model that gets better with every iteration. The previous-generation model remains a great package — comfortable, well specified with decent performance and economy.
Finishes remain the model’s strongest point while the rest of the package including space is exemplary and ideal for families.
Residual values remain the best among its rivals and the dealer network is quite vast. Not surprising, then, that it remains the default choice among C-segment hatch buyers.
Runner-up: Ford Focus (1.6 Ambiente)
The Ford Focus lacks that German prestige factor but is a well-packaged vehicle with great engines.
Left field: Alfa Romeo Giulietta (1.4 Progression)
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta is stylish and a good performer, but it’s an Alfa so be sure it has a decent warranty.
This article is adapted from one originally published on IgnitionLIVE; the full buyer's guide features cars from 16 segments. Read it now.