When you have a family your priorities for driving completely change as do the attributes you are looking for. Instead of performance, looks and style you are looking more at practicality, safety and comfort over anything else. The good thing is that car makers have realised that drivers may have kids, but want all their cake and to eat it with the driving experience.
This pressure has pushed the hatchback class onto a stage where it is now the most popular and probably most diverse in the motor industry; as drivers clamber for small affordable cars with a good drive, but still enough practicality to provide for children. With money high on the agenda of many households the range of choice in the segment is extensive in the three following brackets:
With the recession still biting budget cars have become the fastest growing market in the industry. Car makers have come out of the woodwork in recent years and the options in the budget segment are rife. Take your pick from Kia, Hyundai, Dacia and Toyota; all of their incarnations are reasonably refined, equipped and endlessly reliable. One of key selling points of budget cars are the extensive warranties that make the purchase fool-proof; as well as the scrappage scheme that allows you to trade in your car destined for the scrapheap for a discount on a new car. Car supermarkets such as Motorpoint, Fords of Windsford or Big Motoring World can be a great place to start when looking for a cheap car.
It may be doing this segment of the market an injustice by calling it mid-range, because it has produced some of the industry’s best-selling cars over the generations. Here you can experience Europe’s best-selling car the VW Golf, a great-driving Ford Focus or the wildcard option of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta for those petrol heads looking for a keener drive. These exceptional cars fit the gap between premium and budget nicely, but with improvements all the time there is very little difference in quality between them and more expensive options.
The thought of a premium hatchback was a distance dream even just a few years ago before Audi stepped up to the plate with its A3. This opened the floodgates for BMW and Mercedes to follow suit with a used BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, which now take their fair share of the market. The best part of this move from premium brands is that motorists can now experience the formidable looks, impressive performance, great-driving credentials and all in a small car that does not cost the earth. All the options are worthy of consideration; it just really comes down to which badge you prefer.