The Ford Focus has been among the top selling hatchbacks for well over a decade. The latest version combines performance, efficiency and comfort better than it ever has done before.
There are lots of equally worthy rivals to choose from, however, so we’ve put together a list of 10 best alternatives to the Ford. Don’t forget to use our car configurator to get the best deals straight from the UK’s leading dealers.
Just like the Focus, the Vauxhall Astra is a common sight on British roads. The latest version is miles better than its predecessor. A new body offers an eye-catching design that looks fantastic from every angle. The interior is equally impressive, and for those concerned about usability, the capacious interior give 370 litres of bootspace – that’s almost 50 more than the Focus.
Keen drivers will be glad to know there are improvements under the bonnet too – six engines are offered and critics point out that there’s barely any engine noise. Thanks to 77kg being shaved off the body and some suspension tweaks, the Astra is now on par, if not better than the Focus in terms of driving enjoyment.
Use our Vauxhall Astra configurator to see how much you could save on a new model.
The competitively priced Citroen C4 is the French company’s attempt at taking on the likes of the all mighty Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. To a large extent it pulls it off offering a big boot, room for four adults and a supremely comfortable ride. The rakeish front end looks good, although the styling gets a bit more bland at the rear. Like many Citroens, the focus is on comfort, not on agile performance.
If you mainly stay around town, there’s an economical 1.2-litre petrol on offer, although this’ll feel breathless on longer trips. The best all-rounder comes in the form of the 1.6-litre diesel – you’ll get good performance while attaining over 60mpg. It’ll be cheap to tax too, costing just £20 for 12 months.
Use our Citroen C4 configurator to see savings from Citroen dealers.
Prices around £1,500 more than the Focus, the Volkswagen Golf is expensive for a hatchback. Its reputation however, precedes itself – it offers superb build quality in a stylish and practical package. The interior is the car’s party piece and equipment on even basic models is impressive with Bluetooth connectivity, a 5.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and air conditioning all fitted as standard.
Critics say that, unless you opt for a sportier model, the Focus offers a more involved driving experience. All engines have been complimented on their efficiency and overall refinement though – engine noise is almost non-existant. Fuel consumption is impressive on all models, but if you want a truly frugal hatchback, the Bluemotion model will be the best bet – 88mpg is theoretically attainable.
If you see yourself in one, our Volkswagen Golf configurator will get you the best prices from our best dealers.
The Mazda 3 offers everything the Focus does, but it’s wrapped up in a somewhat more stylish package. With prices around £1,000 higher than the Focus, you have to pay for it though. The outside looks fantastic, while the inside feels fantastic – build quality is good and the upper dashboard is easier to use than the Ford’s.
The 3 has also been complimented on its driving experience. Ride and handling is exceptional, while a small yet well-chosen range of engines deliver performance to match the handsome looks. There’s a 1.5-litre petrol that produces 99hp, while the 2.2-litre diesels provides the best all-round performance and economy – reaching 60mph from rest in 8.1 seconds, while also capable of over 70mpg.
Our Mazda 3 configurator will help you save money – it’ll find you the best deals, straight from the best Mazda dealers.
For around the same price as a Focus, you could choose the handsome Honda Civic instead. It’s very well-built and the spaceship-esque design is more interesting than some more mainstream hatchbacks. Although the boot is class-leading with 487 litres on offer, the swoopy styling means some rear headroom is lost – not ideal if you regularly carry tall adults in the back.
The Civic has been criticised for the way it drives, but the latest models have been significantly improved. Handling and ride comfort are more than acceptable, but you won’t find it as fun to drive as a Focus or Astra. Three engines are offered – two petrol engines offer reasonable performance and economy, but the 1.6-litre diesel will achieve almost 80mpg.
Use our Honda Civic configurator to get the best deal on a new one – it’ll find the greatest savings, straight from Honda’s UK dealers.
The Peugeot 308 is a drastic step-up compared to its predecessor. Quality is now equal to most rivals, with the company hoping the reasonable price will draw people away from the likes of the Astra and Golf. The body is a stylish but subdued affair and, inside, boot space surpasses many rivals and there’s a healthy level of standard equipment. Even basic models have a navigation system integrated into the 9.7-inch infotainment system.
A wide-range of engines are available, with a 1.2-litre petrol being the most modern of the range. Available with a number of power outputs, this unit will give reasonable performance without affecting fuel economy. For those wanting a little more power, the 1.6-litre engine fitted in GT-line models manage a 0-60mph time of 7.3 seconds and fuel economy of up to 50mpg.
To get the best deals, use our Peugeot 308 configurator to see savings direct from Peugeot dealers across the UK.
The Kia Cee’d has seen much development in recent years and the latest incarnation can hold its own among many European rivals. The exterior styling looks fantastic while, inside, quality and refinement is good. It can’t compete with a Golf just yet, but everything feels well-made and sturdy. You get more for your money too, with all models getting generous specification. Boot space out-does both the Focus and Golf, with 380 litres available.
Ride quality is excellent, while a range of punchy engines will give you the necessary performance to make the Ceed a comfortable car for most situations. There’s 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrols and diesels on offer, but the new 1.0-litre petrol engine is the pick of the bunch. It returns 60mpg, yet feels more responsive than the 1.4-litre petrol most of the time, too. Kia’s seven-year warranty is also an attractive selling-point, considering the car’s price.
Shave even more off the reasonably-priced Kia with our Kia Ceed configurator – you’ll save money direct from Kia dealers.
The Renault Megane used to be a class-leader, but the current model is showing its age a little these days. That’s not to say it isn’t a good buy though – behind the curvacious body lies good standard specification. Models higher up the range get Renault’s infotainment and navigation system, while boot and passenger space is competitive in the class.
There’s a limited range of engines on offer, but all offer good performance, economy or a mixture of the two. For most people, the 1.6-litre diesel would be the best bet – offering decent performance figures, yet an achievable 70mpg. With a new Megane on the way, there should be some excellent deals to be had on the current model. The 100,000-mile four-year warranty also adds to the value.
To see the savings to be had on the current model, our Renault Megane configurator will hunt out the best deals for you, straight from the Renault dealer network.
Audi A3 Sportback
The Audi A3 Sportback is a truly premium hatchback and the price reflects this – expect to pay around £3,000 more than the equivalent Focus. Equipment levels are fantastic with a 5.8-inch infotainment system, leather-trimmed steering wheel and air conditioning coming standard on all models. The interior is flawless and has a feel that other hatchbacks can’t compete with.
All engines offer excellent refinement and plenty of power, with the best all-round ability coming in the form of the diesels. The 1.6-litre unit produces 108hp but, for those wanting more grunt, the bigger 2.0-litre diesel makes 181hp. Despite the leap in power, there isn’t much difference between the two in the economy stakes – you’ll get over 60mpg from the bigger engine and over 70 if you opt for the 1.6-litre.
If you like the look of this up-market hatch, our Audi A3 Sportback configurator can help you get the best deal.
The SEAT Leon shares many components with the Golf, but it comes across as a more stylish and sporty car than the Volkswagen. Thanks to the razor-sharp bodywork, it has an appealing flair that some more mundane hatches fail to achieve. Like most Volkswagen Group cars, the interior is impeccably put together and some critics say that ergonomically, it surpasses even the Golf.
The Leon comes with the same engines as the Golf so there’ll be something that suits you whatever your needs. The most popular are the diesel variants, with a 1.6-litre and a 2.0-litre on offer. You’ll get good amounts of torque while maintaining up to 85mpg if you opt for the 1.6-litre EcoMotive diesel. The 2.0-litre will give better outright performance however, sprinting to 60mph in 7.5 seconds.
Pick your ideal SEAT Leon in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
Save money on your next hatchback
If you like the look of any of these cars, our car configurator will find you the best deals, straight from the UK’s most trusted dealers. To learn more about any particular model, our reviews section will tell you everything you need to know. Alternatively, if you need help deciding which car is best for you, our car chooser will make life easier.