Honda’s new petrol engines are impressive, even if the triple isn’t quite able to match the 1.0-litre unit from Ford for high-revving driver engagement. The latest-generation Civic Type R hot hatchback version, meanwhile, is superb.
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The best premium-badged family hatchback available on the market, which mixes the best from the Volkswagen Group, including a host of peppy TSI and frugal TDI engines and low cost of ownership, with the precision build and design appeal that Audi has to offer.
The A3 Sportback is like every other car to roll out of Ingolstadt, which is to say supremely well-constructed and suave inside, efficient, precise, refined and fast on the road, but a bit soulless to drive at times and not as involving as its rivals.
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Mercedes’ latest take on the compact family hatchback is a more conventional car than A-Class regulars may be used to, but in the ways that will count to most owners, it’s certainly none the worse for the trade.
Having grown significantly since the last-generation verion, the A-Class is now among the bigger hatchbacks in the segment. A ritzy-looking, technology-rich interior is the car’s main selling point; it can be had, in more expensive trims, with a pair of widescreen instrument and infotainment displays and Merc’s latest MBUX voice recognition software, which works consistently well.
Interior packaging isn’t flawless, with oddly protruding interior doorhandles robbing knee space in both rows – but even so, there’s decent space on offer.