Hatchbacks are compact and often great fun to drive, which makes them ideal choices for first time buyers or those with families. However, this popular segment of the market is rather crowded and if you are buying a used car from online sources such as netcars.com, you will probably be spoilt for choice. Here we will consider the best hatchbacks from French and German manufacturers in an attempt to find out which nation does it best.
Despite its small size the Clio has been French firm Renault’s best loved car for many years. It is arguably one of the most comfortable hatchbacks around and although the handling is not as precise or tactile as alternatives, a typical model will be better equipped and cheaper to run.
Reliability and workmanship are the watchwords for the Polo. While it may lack the flare and style of the Clio there are many other reasons to choose it, including the particularly frugal diesel engines in certain models.
The quirkiest, coolest hatchback on the market until it was discontinued in 2010, the 206 benefits from a wide range of options when it comes to engines and interiors. The base models can be a little drab, which is to be expected, but if you find a good used example of the 1.1 LX then you will be looking at a really good little car.
In terms of prestige it is difficult to find a hatchback that has more presence than the A3. This means that you will pay more for it than you might a French car of equivalent spec, but for some the extra cost will be worth it. The driving experience is what puts it in a league of its own and the only real negative side is that buying and running one can be a little more costly than some would like.
The dinky C2 has bags of cheeky charm and this translates into a car which is actually a pleasure to drive. Even the 1.1 petrol engine can motor along at a decent pace and its small size will make it easier to handle for first time drivers. Bear in mind that the rear seating is a little confined so young children and those who do not mind squashing in will cope better than full sized adults.
The Golf is the main rival to the Audi A3, with a drive and prestige level that almost matches it. It can be cheaper to buy, a little more reliable and is still able to retain its value thanks to its popularity. Stick with the five door 1.6 FSI S if you want to get the best balance between cost and performance.
What should become clear is that if you want affordability and style you should go for a French hatchback. Those who want a great driving experience and reliability will be better off in a German car, provided that they are comfortable with the higher associated costs for buying and running it.
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