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FeaturesBest of & Buyers GuidesTen great automatic hatchbacks for less than £8k

Ten great automatic hatchbacks for less than £8k

Mike Brewer Motoring picks their favourite automatic hatchbacks.

Looking for a family hatchback with a budget of up to £8000? One that features a petrol engine and automatic gearbox? Here’s our pick of the bunch.

There are lots of options out there if you wanting an automatic hatchback for your next family car. In no particular order, here are the top ten automatic hatchbacks under £8000.

Ford Focus

Automatic Hatchbacks

It might be an obvious choice, but few family hatches drive as well as this one. The composed ride and handling certainly impress, and it steers with precision, too, so there’s some fun to be had. The Powershift transmission can suffer from a few glitches, so check it works smoothly, but the plentiful choice means you can afford to be fussy. Only a slightly small boot marks it down in this company.


Mazda 3

Automatic Hatchbacks

In automatic form the 3 offers a decent blend of performance and economy, and this is arguably one of the sharpest-looking family cars around. It’s also good to drive, while an upmarket interior and sound build quality further add to its appeal. Other rivals here offer a bit more rear passenger space but it’s not a deal-breaker, and if you can bag a high-spec model you’ll benefit from plenty of kit.


Volkswagen Golf

Automatic Hatchbacks

It’s the sixth-generation model we’re interested in here, and it’s both classy and a great all-round family car. There’s a premium feel to the cabin while the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine is efficient, smooth and refined and manages a claimed 47mpg. Automatic hatchback models feature the dual-clutch DSG gearbox which works well, but it’s worth ensuring it’s been maintained properly and doesn’t exhibit any problems on the test drive.


Vauxhall Astra

Automatic Hatchbacks

A thoroughly sensible choice, the popular Astra delivers a broad range of abilities from decent space for passengers and luggage to a comfortable, well-equipped cabin. Models in SRi or SE trim will provide all the kit you’ll need, and our budget will provide the pick of the best examples on the market. And as long as previous owners haven’t skimped on maintenance it should prove reliable and cheap to run.


Seat Leon

Automatic Hatchback

Sharing a platform with the VW Golf and Audi A3 is a good place for any car to start, and the Leon uses those capable underpinnings to good effect. Being more affordable to buy than those models is a bonus, and opting for the Spanish brand means you’ll get a family automatic hatchback that’s roomy, comfortable, good to drive, and that can manage a claimed 50mpg. It’s a tempting package.


Audi A3

Automatic Hatchback

If a premium badge matters to you then the A3 is sure to appeal, and in Sportback form it provides plenty of space for family duties. The top-notch cabin certainly impresses thanks to excellent build quality and a driving position that’s spot-on, while SE models offer plenty of equipment. The S-tronic gearbox is a dual-clutch unit like the Golf’s, and it’s worth checking that it changes gear smoothly and without any hesitation.


Honda Civic

Automatic Hatchback

It might not be exciting to drive, but if you’re after a well-equipped family car that’s interesting to look at the Civic deserves consideration. It’s certainly practical with a boot that’s amongst the biggest here, plus there’s the folding ‘Magic Seats’ in the rear that prove very handy for taller loads. Reliability should impress, too, while the combination of a 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine and automatic gearbox should deliver nigh-on 40mpg.


Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Automatic Hatchback

Around since 2010, the Alfa feels a little dated amongst its rivals here and we’ll admit it’s something of a left-field choice. Still, if you want to stand out from the crowd it might just fit the bill although it’s worth bearing in mind that space for passengers and luggage is less generous than other cars we’ve chosen. The 1.4-litre TBi engine and twin-clutch TCT gearbox deliver strong performance and economy, though.


Skoda Octavia

If it’s maximum space that’s important to you then look no further. No other car here can provide the same level of roominess and practicality, but it’s not just a sensible choice – cabin quality and comfort are impressive, and most versions come well-equipped. Sharing its engine and gearbox with the VW Golf means it’s good to drive, too, with a sound combination of performance and economy. Avoid abused high-milers and it’s a winner.


Nissan Pulsar

Although it was only on sale for four years Nissan’s entrant in the sector is by no means a bad car. It just didn’t really grab the attention of buyers, and while you shouldn’t expect dynamic fireworks it makes for a perfectly capable family-hauler that offers refinement, comfort, and lots of space. It pairs a 114bhp 1.2-litre engine with a CVT transmission, so just check that the latter will suit you.


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