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buying advice

€8k to spend? Here are 5 of the best family hatchbacks out there

The choice out there can be bewildering. We pick 5 models to look at.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT type of car to suit the average family isn’t always easy, but for many, the modern hatchback ticks a large number of boxes.

We’ve gone through a multitude of different models to find the best five family hatchbacks that you can buy on a budget of €8,000.

1. Ford Focus (2004-2012)

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The second-generation Ford Focus sold in substantial numbers during its eight-year lifecycle, so there’s plenty of choice on the market. (The facelifted version sold from 2008 onwards.) It features a roomy cabin and a good-sized boot with 385 litres of space.

While the majority of more recent examples sold in Ireland are likely to be diesel, the 1.6-litre petrol is worth considering, especially if you don’t do particularly high mileage. If you’re looking at either the 1.6- or 2.0-litre TDCi diesel models, be wary of any emissions warning lights or sluggish performance.

One of the high points of the Ford Focus is how well it drives. The first-generation Focus was a cracking car to drive, and this newer model builds on that.

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2. Skoda Octavia (2004-2013)

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While the Skoda Octavia might not look quite like a hatchback, it does fit the criteria. That large tailgate opens upwards to reveal an enormous 585-litre boot, which will easily swallow up a buggy and shopping bags with plenty of room to spare.

In the back, there is still plenty of passenger room, and with doors that open to a wide angle, getting the little ones strapped into their seats is that bit easier.

One other aspect that the Skoda Octavia majors in is comfort. It soaks up the bumps well and handles quite well, thanks to many of its underpinnings shared with the more expensive Volkswagen Golf.

The Octavia has scored well in independent satisfaction surveys like JD Power, but do carry out all the usual checks before you buy. Find a low-mileage well-equipped model, and it will certainly be a keeper.

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3. Peugeot 308 (2007-2014)

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A lot of French cars have a far from stellar reputation but the first-generation Peugeot 308 deserves your consideration. Its demure styling has seen it age well but underneath is a solid car and one that scored a 5 Star Euro NCAP crash protection rating.

Just as importantly, it has scored highly in independent customer reliability reports, so dismiss the idea that you should avoid Gallic automobiles.

The 308 handles nicely, and the 1.6-litre petrol engine provides adequate performance for everyday driving. If you want to get even more for your monthly fuel budget consider the 1.6-litre diesel, which offers an excellent balance of performance and fuel efficiency.

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4. Hyundai i30 (2007-2012)

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The Hyundai i30 might not be the most exciting proposition at first glance, but get behind the wheel, and you’ll find that it drives every bit as well as its biggest rivals. Its less-than-exciting looks on the outside are mirrored inside, with a cabin that while being fairly spacious is covered in hard plastics.

Higher-grade models did include part-leather upholstery, as well as smart features like wiper de-icers for those frosty mornings. The 340-litre boot increases to 1,250 litres by folding the rear seats forward. Its 1.6-litre CRDI engine is the most common and generally, gives little in the way of trouble.

The folding key is known to cause issues at times, so make sure you get a spare if buying.

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5. Honda Civic (2006-2011)

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Underneath the stylish exterior of this generation Honda Civic – which still looks good today – is a hatchback that is great to drive and comes with a range of engines to suit everyone. Its futuristic interior looks and feels well put together, and with Honda’s solid reputation for reliability, this is sure to be a wise purchase.

The 1.8-litre petrol strikes a good balance of power and fuel economy. However, if the latter is more important to you, then consider the 2.2-litre diesel. This engine is one of the most refined diesel engines on the market by far, and its fuel efficiency is impressive.

Even though it looks small, there’s still a 485-litre boot, and it has some clever rear seats that can fold flat or have the bases lift up to reveal additional storage.

In fact, it’s a car that is full of intelligent storage solutions. We recommend going for the five-door model – this adds greater practicality, but thanks to a cleverly hidden door handle integrated into to C-pillar, it still looks like a three-door.

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More: €20k budget? Here are the premium cars you need to consider>

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