Top ten best hatchbacks for 2012

Below we take a look at the top ten best hatchbacks in the UK at the moment.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

The Giulietta is a family sized five door hatchback that uses the same design concept as the 8C Competizione supercar.

The good thing about this hatchback is that it has something called an Alfa DNA system that adapts its driving style depending on the condition of the road you are driving on. There are three settings available, Normal, Dynamic and All Weather.

As well as the DNA system there are five available engines with the Giulietta; two 1.4-litre petrol engines delivering 120 and 170bhp and two diesel units delivering 105 and 170bhp are joined by a 1750 TBi version producing 235bhp in the case of the Quadrifoglio Verde model.

The Giulietta’s interior is also rather fancy with its taut lines, sideways extending dashboard and wrap around seats. All of these stylistic factors are enhanced with interior lighting.

Summary: If style is your thing this is an ideal choice. With a great engine and good-looking interior you can’t go wrong. Prices start from £17,445

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Ford Focus

Ford has launched a new Focus this year and the best-selling hatchback in the UK is now better than ever.

The new 2012 Ford Focus offers three engines, 1.6 litre EcoBoost engine (which is really good for the environment), 1.6 litre TDCi and a 2.0 litre TDCi.

Its exterior features prove to be quite smart and include a new sculpted streamlined exterior, Bi-xenon headlights and front fog lights.

As for its interior it has a new wrap around cock pit, vast amount of lighting (which when pulled off at night looks very impressive) and a premium centre console.

Summary: The Focus is basically an all round nice car and is very affordable. Prices start from £13,995

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Chevrolet Cruze

A Chevrolet Cruze hatchback was introduced midway through 2011 to complement the saloon version launched back in 2009.

With this Chevy hatchback there is a choice of three engines comprising of one diesel and two petrol units as well as three trim levels including the entry-level LS, LT and the range topping LTZ.

Standard equipment includes electronic stability control, an auxiliary input and ‘follow-me-home’ headlights which stay on for a set period of time once the car is locked before turning off automatically.

Chevrolet’s mid-range specification option is the LT trim which is also available with the 122bhp petrol (with automatic or manual transmission) or a 161bhp 2.0-litre VCDi diesel manual powertrain.

It adds cruise control, a multi-function trip computer and parking distance sensors to the LS model.

As for its interior, it is higher quality than previous Chevrolet hatchs. With a dual cockpit design and ambient lighting the Chevrolet Cruz is very stylish.

Summary: Chevrolet is famous for its low prices and cheap & cheerful cars, but the Cruze adds a higher quality interior and extra equipment for 2011.Start price of £13,995

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Citroen C4

The Citroen C4 arrived at the start of 2011 with a more attractive design on the outside and a more comfortable interior.

This family-sized five door hatchback comes with three different petrol engines, 1.4 and 1.6-litre units with power outputs of 95, 120 and 155bhp.

Its interior has generous amounts of chrome around the dials and vents, adjustable instrument display; polyphonic sound alerts and also adjustable automatic air conditioning to one of three different settings.

Other available features include a Bluetooth and a USB socket; front and rear parking sensors; Xenon dual-function directional headlamps and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Summary: The Citroen has a high standard specification as well as a five star safety rating.Prices begin at £15,595 and range up to £21,495.

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Kia Rio

Kia is arguably the most improved manufacturer in the UK in 2011 with a string of superb models such as the Sportage and Soul crossovers.

Now it’s the turn of the Kia Rio to get styling upgrades, new frugal engine options and a higher quality interior.

The Kia Rio has a small three-cylinder petrol engine that is capable of 88mpg with CO2 emissions of 85g/km, which means that you do not pay road tax.

This Kia offers more luggage space than the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa despite costing the same as its rivals.

Some of the Kia’s features include Bluetooth compatibility, steering wheel auto controls, and reversing sensors.

Summary: Low emissions, very roomy, low prices and comes with Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty. Prices from £9,995

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Peugeot 308

Another car to get a 2011 upgrade, the Peugeot 308 hatchback now boasts Peugeot’s attractive front end and, as seems to be the case with hatchback refreshes, it feels better put together inside.

The Peugeot 308 provides a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption in urban traffic and it offers 40 per cent faster restarting than a conventional stop & start system and twice as fast as a manual key restart.

The 308 has four petrol engines ranging from 98bhp to 200bhp for the exclusive GT version and four HDi diesel engines from 92bhp to 163bhp.

Inside the Peugeot 308 dual-zone air conditioning is available, high quality audio and system which deliver good acoustics, Bluetooth hands-free kit and satellite navigation.

Summary: Sophisticated interior and low CO2 emissions.
Prices from £15,245.

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Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra has a lot of space, especially for the passengers in the back and with a selection of ultra-efficient engines it is a genuine challenger to the industry leader, the Ford Focus.

With specially designed suspension to deal with the tricky tarmac roads of Britain the Vauxhall Astra is a great runaround.

In the new Vauxhall Astra range, there are lots of petrol and diesel engines to choose from in a move that is surely tilted towards attracting a wide range of buyers, whether private, fleet, or business; or for city driving, motorway driving or weekend fun.

Key amongst these engines is the Ecoflex diesel engine which offers CO2 emissions under the 100g/km mark – enough to qualify for free road tax in the UK.

Summary: A spacious family car which is ideal for dealing with bumpy pot holed filled roads.
Prices from 15,675 to £23,695

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Renault Megane

Renault’s Megane has been around for a few years now and its eye-catching styling comes with typical French flair.

There are lots of engines and trims to choose from with the French car maker’s attractive small family car, but all are well equipped.

Certain standard features include 4x15W RDS radio with single CD with fingertip control, ‘Extreme’ upholstery, Adjustable rear headrests, air conditioning, 152 steel wheels and rather fashionable tinted windows.

The Megane has good handling and is a smooth and quite drive, even on UK roads.

Summary: It may not be as attractive to look at as the Giulietta, but is still a good choice with great range of engines.
Prices start from: £11,595

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Seat Leon

Seat is well known for its sporty designs, garish colours and exciting drives and the Seat Leon is no exception in hot hatch Cupra R form.

More humble standard versions of the Seat Leon have quite a small 1.4 litre engine that does the job getting from A to B but isn’t exactly performance based, although it does a good job at handling itself on twisty roads.

It does however, retain the attractive exterior design and low roofline of its hot hatch sibling.

It has quite a few trim levels as well so if you wish to upgrade the 1.4 litre you can, for a little extra cost.

The Seat’s interior has comfy seats, MP3 compatible CD player with six speakers and a trip computer.

Summary: Not the best performance car but is spacious and has a nice interior.
Prices start from: £14,635

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The Mazda3 is another to get a makeover for 2012 and while others have focused on interior features, the Mazda3 instead introduces some clever cash-saving technology.

New Skyactiv petrol and diesel engines improve fuel economy by up to 30 per cent. With a figure of around 47mpg for the petrol version, the Mazda3 is one of the cheapest to run hatchbacks on the road today.

The Mazda3 has a 1.6 litre petrol engine that gives a smooth ride. Although its 1.6 litre petrol doesn’t give much of a punch, its 1.6 litre diesel gives more of a powerful drive.

Mazda’s interior is very nicely equipped for music with an iPod integration module (with song title display), Bluetooth audio and a 6-CD-changer/MP3/radio module. The Mazda3 also has good highlights inside with soft-touch trim on the seats.

Summary: Keeps the famous Mazda driving dynamics, but doesn’t break the bank to run.
Prices start from: £14,775

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