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Fun and practical: hatchbacks worth looking at in 2022

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From small commuters to fire-breathing performance cars, there’s a hatchback for everybody. The compact body makes it easy to park and drive, but not at the sacrifice of practicality. Hatchbacks often have large carrying capacities and offer up just as much passenger space as their booted siblings. We take a look at five - from the cheap and cheerful to the performance-oriented - that will suit all budgets.

1. Toyota Agya - the bargain

Fitted with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine, the Toyota Agya may not sound too exciting. The small powertrain produces just 49 kW and 89 Nm of torque. But thanks to a featherweight mass, it’s reasonably sprightly and economical on fuel. In fact, the Japanese brand claims an average consumption of just 4.8 L/100 km. The range kicks off at R184 900 for the manual (without a radio) and peaks at R203 200 for the automatic with an audio system.

All models are equipped with dual front airbags, air-conditioning, all-round electric windows and central locking. Anti-lock brakes are also fitted as standard. A two-year/20 000 km service plan adds peace of mind. 

Looking to buy a Toyota Agya? Click here.

2. Ford Figo - fun to drive (and cheap, too)

Also available as a sedan, the Figo hatch is the cheaper and more handsome variant in the eight car-strong range. The five-door range kicks off with the Ambiente, at R216 300. Despite being the base model, it offers everything you could reasonably want - two airbags, ABS brakes and air-conditioning all form part of the basic package. 

For a bit more outlay, you could opt for the Trend (the only trim level available as an automatic). This model nets you 14-inch alloy wheels. The poshest model, the Titanium, retails for R253 300. This range-topper boasts six airbags, a reverse camera and larger 15-inch alloys. All Figo’s use the same 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine which produces 88 kW and an impressive 150 Nm of torque. Freestyle models add SUV-like styling.

Looking to buy a Ford Figo? Click here.

3. Audi A1 - classy and fashion conscious

The smallest in the Audi family, the A1 is a very trendy and cool hatchback which brings Audi ownership within the reach of many. Numerous models and options are available, allowing customers to pick and choose what they want within their budget. The range starts at R447 500 for the 30 TFSI. A dual-clutch transmission is standard and, paired with the 85kW/200 Nm turbopetrol engine, offers decent performance. 0-100 km/h is dispatched in 9.4 seconds.

Not quick enough? Consider the 40 TFSI. Available only in S line trim, it has a powerful 2.0-litre engine fitted under the bonnet, with a muscly 147 kW and 320 Nm of torque. 0-100 km/h is over in 6.5 seconds, making it a little hot hatch to be reckoned with. A 35 TFSi model is available too, as a compromise. 

Looking to buy an Audi A1? Click here.

4. Mazda3 - stylish and sleek

We maintain the Mazda3 is massively underrated in South Africa. Even if you ignore the gorgeous styling for a moment, the classy hatchback offers one of the best interiors in the segment, with beautiful soft-touch materials and fastidious attention-to-detail.

Two engine choices are available; a 1.5-litre petrol (88 kW/153 Nm) and can be paired to a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic, depending on the trim level. The range-topping Astina has a 2.0-litre engine with 121 kW and 213 Nm of torque. It’s certainly the better motor, giving the 3 the shove it requires. But as an everyday commuter, the 1.5-litre is perfectly fine. The three-year/unlimited km warranty is also very appealing. Prices start at R397 500 for the 1.5 Active and tops out at R522 400 for the 2.0 Astina.

Looking to buy a Mazda3? Click here.

5. Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI

We’re big fans of the latest Golf GTI at AutoAdvisor. Its ability to combine thrilling driving dynamics with superb daily drivability is, in our opinion, unmatched. The latest GTI produces a substantial 180 kW and 370 Nm of torque, sent to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

0-100 km/h comes up in just 6.4 seconds, but in the real world, it feels quicker. Performance isn’t the only drawcard, though. The boot is commodious, measuring 374 litres. What’s more, the rear bench folds down, providing even more packing space. The GTI is truly a performance car you can use everyday. At R669 300 (before options) it represents great value for money.

Looking to buy a Volkswagen Golf ? Click here.

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