Top ten family hatchbacks for 2013
2012 was undoubtedly the year of the small car, as buyers chose more compact vehicles with frugal engines as the economy took its toll.
Well, it's not fair to just blame the economy. Manufacturers have been releasing some amazing smaller models lately with incredible design and tax-exempt status because of their low emissions and leading engine technology.
Though that trend will likely continue into 2013, we also think the family hatchback category is going to see a lot more love, thanks to a number of popular models being refreshed and entirely new models ready to hit showrooms in the early year.
Below are Perrys' top ten family hatchbacks for 2013:
The Ford Focus picked up a number of awards this year including Car of the Year at the 2012 Honest John Awards. It deserves the accolade thanks to its phenomenal handling, competitive price, great range of engines and equipment, and practicality.
The Focus was the world's best-selling car nameplate in the first half of 2012, and is expected to be crowned overall winner for this year too. We can't imagine that'll change in 2013, especially with the addition of Ford's 1-litre EcoBoost - the current International Engine of the Year.
A new Ford Focus hatchback is available from £13,995.
The Astra is another model that's performed well this year, and Vauxhall should have no problem carrying that form into 2013. The Astra range has recently been boosted with BiTurbo hatch and Sports Tourer models, with the latter being the most powerful diesel in its class.
The Astra has proved popular with families thanks to the car's spacious cabin, and the car's overall quality. It offers a smooth ride complemented by secure handling, and is one of the safest models in its segment thanks to its six airbags and stability control.
A new Vauxhall Astra hatchback is available from £12,995.
Kia's set the market alight in 2012 thanks to its stunning range of models and fantastic seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. The second-generation cee'd went on sale in the UK on June 1st, and is road-tax exempt due to its paltry 97g/km CO2 emissions.
The cee'd's cabin is one of the most high-quality on the market, with the manufacturer providing a lot of competitively-priced options for the car (though there is plenty of options equipment on basic trim). Its large interior is an excellent option for larger families to consider.
A new Kia cee'd hatchback is available from £14,395.
Chevrolet recently unveiled its station wagon Cruze alongside the Trax at Paris, but there is more than enough in the hatchback model to please families. The car was launched more than a year ago in UK territories, but it's still able to hold its own against its competitors.
Its low price and impressive warranty packages are a great option for families on a budget to consider. The Cruze itself is a good-looking car with a decent cabin and impressive boot space. Its range of engines could be better and more refined, though.
A new Chevrolet Cruze hatchback is available from £13,995.
The third-generation Seat Leon is due to be launched in March 2013. It will come with an impressive 380-litre boot, and an increased six-centimetre wheelbase for improved legroom. A tax-exempt version will be available thanks to its 99g/km CO2 emissions, and will be able to achieve 74mpg.
The Seat Leon will keep the current-generation's sporty looks and fantastic handling. The 2013 Seat Leon will also keep the current generation's impressive specifications and safety equipment. The Seat Leon is a great alternative to some of the market's tried-and-tested models.
A new Seat Leon hatchback is available for £16,440.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta offers something different to the family hatchback market thanks to its incredible, sporty design. It's easily one of the most attractive cars in the sector, and is available with a solid range of engines.
Its amazing design means that rear space is tight, though, but that's the sacrifice buyers will have to make for one of the finest-looking hatchbacks on the market. The Giulietta comes with a great range of safety equipment and is well-refined.
A new Alfa Romeo Giulietta is available from £17,760.
The Citroen C4 celebrates its two-year anniversary next month. The car was released in the UK in November 2010, and continues to sell well in the family market. Its comfort is one of the C4's biggest selling points, with a strong range of engines making for a fine drive.
Comfort and safety is the C4's biggest draw, but space can be tight inside for the larger family. The C4 should be considered by smaller families looking for a practical, comfortable drive that's available for an affordable fee.
A new Citroen C4 hatchback is available from £13,995.
The DS4 has recently found fame in Natalie Duncan's new music video, which is an example of how attractive the model still is to younger buyers. Released in 2011, the DS4 carries an air of design sophistication complemented by high-quality engineering.
The Citroen DS4 is available with an amazing range of engines, while the car is also well equipped. Its style is a substitute for substance in some areas, but the DS4 is a great, attractive alternative to some of the more established models in the segment.
A new Citroen DS4 hatchback is available from £17,145.
The new, updated 308 offers one of the quietest, most-refined drives in the family hatchback segment. It also still retains its style, and is great value for money when compared against the DS4 or Giulietta.
The ride can be a bit firm and it's not the most comfortable car to drive but six airbags and stability control as standard is a marvellous option for families. Its cabin is enjoyable, taking some of the sting out of long drives with the kids.
A new Peugeot 308 hatchback is available from £15,345.
The new version of the Megane was released in April this year, and has won a lot of fans. It's competitively-priced and is available with an impressive range of equipment. Smart, stylish and practical, it's a brilliant option for families on a budget.
The Megane comes with some of the most economical diesel engines on the market - choosing the right one means tax-free driving which is a great long-term investment. The Megane is as stylish on the inside as it is outside, but legroom can be a bit tight for five adults.
A new Renault Megane hatchback is available from £16,280.
All of these models and more are available from Perrys dealerships.