Volkswagen Golf
Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is a Digital Copywriter in the Carparison marketing team, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.

Read time of 6 minutes.

Family-friendly cars at a wallet-friendly price

From the Ford Focus to the SEAT Leon, there’s a hatchback lease deal to suit every family

The humble hatchback is the backbone of daily life. From the school run to family holidays, from trips into town to running between clubs… You name it, the hatchback has dealt with it.

But not all hatchbacks are built for family life.

So, we’ve rounded up a selection of our favourite family-friendly (say that five times fast) hatchbacks, picked for their practicality, boot space, and general ability to ‘do’ life. Cars that are more affordable to run than their popular SUV counterparts, and much easier to squeeze in tight spots.

From stalwarts of the class to an upstart EV, there’s a hatchback for everyone – and we’re on a mission to prove it.

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

If you're after a hatchback, you'll probably consider a Volkswagen Golf lease.

It’s been a staple of the small car scene since it launched back in the ‘70s. We’re on the eighth generation of this iconic hatchback, and it’s just as good now as it was then, despite fierce competition across the class.

The latest iteration has a glass cockpit with connected systems for information, entertainment and hazard warning, while the exterior looks just as sleek as ever. There’s a range of engines on offer, including standard and mild-hybrid petrols, ICE-only diesels, and a plug-in hybrid.

For a simple family car, it’s one of the best out there.

It’ll get you from A to B without breaking into a sweat, the boot clocks in at a respectable 380L, and the rear seats are spacious enough to house three children without the usual arguments.

Ford Focus

Ford Focus

Another icon of the hatchback class, the Ford Focus has topped best-selling lists in Britain for years.

There’s a reason it remains one of the best: it’s reliably good with a spacious interior, but is still small enough to pose no issues when it comes to squeezing into tight parking spaces or driving around country lanes.

The fourth-generation Focus brings with it a sleek profile, improved crash safety, and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. But Ford haven’t done away with old-school buttons completely – there are still physical buttons for climate control.

The longer wheelbase makes it surprisingly roomy in the back, while the flat floor means there’ll be no arguments over who’s foot goes where, and the boot clocks in at a useful 375L.

For a no-frills family car, a Ford Focus lease could be the answer.

Audi A3

Audi A3

The Audi A3 has been such a success for the German manufacturer that it’s not changed much over the years.

The latest iteration is on the same platform as the one before, with the usual fleet of turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The new A3 adds in an eco-friendlier mild hybrid as well as a plug-in hybrid, badged as the A3 TFSI e.

The Audi A3 Sportback (a hatchback with a sporty roof) is probably one of the best premium hatchbacks on the market.

And for a growing family, it’s brilliant. It looks good, the drive is refined, but it still has that sense of fun lurking underneath the sensible family car exterior. It might not be as sporty as the BMW 1 Series, but it is well-rounded.

The interior is just as good as the rest of it – minimalist with a 10-inch MMI system set into the dash – and it’s roomy enough for two adults in the back. The middle seat is more of a squeeze, with a high floor tunnel taking up space, but three kids will fit just fine in an Audi A3 Sportback lease.

Skoda Octavia Hatchback

Skoda Octavia

Though its estate sibling might hog the headlines, the Skoda Octavia hatchback is a not-so-little gem of a car.

It’s typically Skoda sensible, though not lacking in either style or tech, and its bigger liftback shape makes it much more practical than many of its rivals, with the more horizontal slope to the boot. If you’re after a smaller car, but need to lug a lot of stuff around, the Octavia is the hatchback for you.

The cabin is smart, with soft-touch materials lending a more premium feel. The touchscreen infotainment system is intuitive, and the 10.25-inch digital cockpit can be configured in four different ways.

It’s worth stressing just how practical the Octavia is – there’s plenty of room in the back for three six-footers, and the boot is a mammoth 600L (only 40L less than the estate). And as with every Skoda, there are the neat little finishing touches like the umbrella hidden in the driver’s door, and an ice scraper behind the fuel filler cap.

SEAT Leon

SEAT Leon

SEAT’s strongest attempt to out-Golf the Golf yet, the SEAT Leon is a family-friendly hatchback that’s rolled straight off the streets of Spain.

It’s based on the same MQB platform as the Mk8 Golf and Audi A3, but brings with it keener handling, plenty of tech, and a sense of fun. The exterior styling is distinctive, all sharp lines, deep creases, and pointy door mirrors. There’s no denying it’s a good-looking car.

The interior is just as good. The seats and stitching are smart, and the mix of materials used throughout the cabin gives it a premium feel. The new infotainment system makes the Leon feel much more grown-up than its predecessors, with speech recognition, gesture control, and Apple Carplay, along with a couple of USB-C ports in the back and wireless smartphone charging.

The longer wheelbase lends it more space in the back for passengers to spread out, and the boot is plenty big enough to deal with everyday life.

BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series

Spacious, light, and efficient, the new BMW 1 Series is better than ever before.

There’s easier access to the back, and more head, knee, and elbowroom throughout. Entry-level variants tend to be stronger all-rounders than performance variants – unless you’re a fan of stomping down deserted roads – but in any spec the handling is impressive and the ride even better.

Each 1 Series also comes with BMW’s Live Cockpit system: 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, 10.25-inch infotainment system, and physical buttons for the start/stop, climate controls, and adaptive suspension. In an era where everything is being loaded onto the central touchscreen, the addition of physical buttons is a nice touch.

The interior also features plenty of cubby holes for stashing away all of life’s odds and ends, and there are handy USB ports in both the front and back.

For a premium-badged family hatch, you can’t go wrong with a BMW 1 Series lease.

Volkswagen ID.3

Volkswagen ID.3

In a world dominated by traditional combustion engine hatches, the VW ID.3 is one of the best family-friendly electric hatchbacks on the market.

The first of Volkswagen’s new ID-badged electric cars, the ID.3 is a Golf-sized family hatch with lofty ambitions to be VW’s next people pleaser. It rivals the likes of the Nissan LEAF and the BMW i3, but offers something a little more exciting than the former and more affordable than the latter.

It’s an excellent town car – the stop/start driving suits the electric motor, and its compact size makes it perfect for squeezing into tight spots and around obstacles. But it’s also surprisingly roomy. There’s plenty of space for a growing family, and clever storage dotted throughout the cabin to make life that bit easier.

And with a claimed range of between 260 and 338 miles dependent on battery size, the Volkswagen ID.3 makes an excellent choice for your next electric car lease

7 of the best hatchbacks for families to lease

  1. Volkswagen Golf
  2. Ford Focus
  3. Audi A3
  4. Skoda Octavia
  5. SEAT Leon
  6. BMW 1 Series
  7. Volkswagen ID.3

Looking for a family hatchback to call your own?