Best medium cars

Cars

Best medium cars

By Martin Pratt

Article 3 of 12

The UK’s most popular type of car – and these are the best available new and used: fantastic all-rounders equally suited to everyday family duties or a long commute.

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The medium car market is dominated by popular hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, along with more premium models such as the VW Golf and Audi A3.

But while they all may be around the same size, not all medium cars are worth your money. The best are reliable, practical, safe and reasonably cheap to run, yet the worst are much more likely to breakdown, or be uncomfortable or poorly designed or built. 

Below are the very best medium cars we've tested - models that ran the gauntlet of our lab and road-tests, and scored highly enough to be Which? Best Buys.

Which? members can log in to see the medium cars we recommend. If you're not already a member, take out a £1 trial to unlock this table and all our expert impartial reviews.

Best new medium cars

Volkswagen e-Golf
Typical price £27,562
Brand score 82%
Tested Jun 2014
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This latest version of the popular hatchback is the most impressive medium car we've ever tested.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
Typical price £21,854
Brand score 79%
Tested Feb 2015
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This easy-to-drive, comfortable and spacious medium car is a Best Buy through and through

Volkswagen Golf GTE
Typical price £30,004
Brand score 78%
Tested Feb 2015
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This great family hatchback is a top performer in all areas with plenty of space for passengers and luggage as well as being pleasant for the driver.

Toyota Auris Hybrid
Typical price £19,055
Brand score 78%
Tested Dec 2012
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

The Toyota Auris Hybrid (2013-) is the second-generation version of this medium-sized hatchback. It promises better soundproofing and, with the battery pack now stored under the floor, better boot space than its predecessor. Toyota also says it'll do 74.3mpg. Does it live up to these claims? Read our full review to find out.

Lexus CT200h
Typical price £20,586
Brand score 78%
Tested Jan 2011
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This may not be the most fun medium-sized car to drive, but it makes up for it by being safe, dependable and affordable to run.

BMW 1 Series
Typical price £19,574
Brand score 78%
Tested Sep 2011
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This medium car is filled with technology, but it doesn't neglect the driving experience, which is tremendous.

Ford Focus Electric
Typical price £27,304
Brand score 76%
Tested Jul 2013
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This bestselling medium car has a new edge, it's lost some of its practicality but it makes up for it in fuel economy.

Best used medium cars

Toyota Auris Hybrid (2007-2012)
Typical price £4,047
Brand score 82%
Tested May 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This economical hybrid hatchback doesn't compromise when it comes to a pleasurable driving experience and it's easy to recommend.

BMW 1 Series Coupe (2008-2013)
Typical price £8,392
Brand score 78%
Tested Nov 2007
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
5 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This excellent medium car is a joy to drive with a premium quality to its finish and style.

Honda CR-Z (2010-2013)
Typical price £6,855
Brand score 76%
Tested Jun 2010
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Launched in 2010, it only lasted for three years. It offers eco-conscious buyers a bit of excitement and sportiness, unlike other hybrids which are generally a bit anodyne. Can it compete with more conventional rivals? Find out in our full review.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2005-2012)
Typical price £2,822
Brand score 75%
Tested Feb 2005
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It may not shine in any one area but smooth driving, good handling and sturdy brakes mark this medium car out as a Best Buy

Mercedes-Benz CLC Coupe (2008-2010)
Typical price £6,512
Brand score 73%
Tested Apr 2008
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
4 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A rival for the BMW 3 Series Compact, this car was billed as a coupé, but it's really more a posh three-door hatchback. Find out in our full review whether it can beat its rivals.

Honda Civic (2006-2011)
Typical price £3,206
Brand score 73%
Tested Jan 2006
Best Buy
Ride comfort:
3 out of 5
Handling & performance:
4 out of 5
Model reliability:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

Science fiction appears to have been the inspiration for the styling of this car. It oozes character, yet it's also highly practical.

Want to see even more choice? Click to jump straight to all our medium car reviews

We test cars more thoroughly than anyone else

Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations, and because Which? is independent and doesn't accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about every car we test.

Every car we review is subjected to more than 100 individual tests in a lab, on a test track, and on real roads – and we really clock up the miles, driving around 900 miles in every car we test.

Testing in controlled lab conditions means the results we collect are directly comparable between different cars, helping us determine exactly which models are better and why, and helping you find the perfect car for your needs

And so you know which cars are likely to prove reliable for years to come, we also gather feedback from thousands of UK car owners through the Which? Car Survey, using it to generate detailed reliability ratings for the cars we test.

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