Family hatchbacks like these are popular because they seamlessly mix together practicality, good handling and comfort. It is true though that out of all the 2016 family hatchbacks on sale now, some demonstrate these qualities mentioned better than others. The 2016 family hatchback market sector is filled with many competitors and is very competitive.

In this guide, we take a look at our selection of the five best family hatchbacks of 2016 on sale in the new car market. The choices are based on just how well they demonstrate the qualities which family hatchback buyers desire, as well as their value for money and all-round appeal.

Ford Focus

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For the past couple of decades, the Ford Focus has been hugely popular in the British new car market, and for good reason too.

The latest Focus hatchback is definitely one of the best family hatchbacks of 2016, featuring sharp and responsive class-leading handling. The interior also feels big and comfortable and the Focus benefits from several excellent and low-cost engines.

Put simply, the Ford Focus does everything a car buyer would want a family car to do in a competent manner.

Since the Focus received major updates back in 2014, engines options have include an 118bhp 1.5-litre diesel and 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol unit, both of which emit less than 100g/km in CO2, meaning free Vehicle Excise Duty.

The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine in the Focus is particularly significant as it made this car the first ever non-hybrid and petrol-run family car in Europe to record CO2 emissions below the 100g/km threshold.

Vauxhall Astra

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The Vauxhall Astra name is very familiar to UK roads and the latest generation of the British-built family hatchback is the best yet.

Particular qualities that make the Vauxhall so appealing in the 2016 family hatchback market include its competitive price range and diverse specification line-up.

The cabin has a modern, appealing design and comes with plentiful head and legroom for passengers both at the front and rear.

With the 2016 Vauxhall Astra hatchback range, there’s different models to suit a different set of priorities, such as low running costs or plentiful speed.

In all forms, the latest Vauxhall Astra feels nicely refined and easy-going behind the wheel.

Volkswagen Golf

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Another common site in the family hatchback scene, the latest Volkswagen Golf is still one of the most sophisticated and all-round strongest of the 2016 hatchback market.

Volkswagen decided to carry over most of its engine and suspension set-ups from the previous VW Golf model, when creating its current-generation hatchback. The adjustments the latest VW Golf received, however, meant that this high-quality hatchback boasted many well-established strengths and built upon them.

Highlights of the latest VW Golf includes its immense front-end grip, it’s responsive steering and the superb quality of the interior. Engine choices are plentiful, ranging from low-powered but usable small petrol units, to very frugal diesel and exciting turbo units for the more performance-focused derivatives.

The Golf is more expensive than some of the other popular family hatchbacks of 2016, but that extra money is well spent on an interior that feels very well made and meets a premium standard.

This classy interior feel is complimented further by the generous standard equipment list, with features like air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity and a DAB radio all standard. The VW Golf’s standard boot capacity of 380 litres also beats many key rivals.

Mazda 3

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The previous Mazda 3 which proved a popular hit in the UK market was based on the Ford Focus, but the latest version of this family hatchback is much different and a strong all-rounder too.

The Mazda 3 featured in the 2016 hatchback market uses an in-house chassis and driving technology, which is branded as SKYACTIV. The use of lightweight components and modern engine technology results in strong performance, low running costs, a comfortable ride and sharp handling for the latest Mazda 3.

Available with a 2.0-litre petrol engine or 2.2-litre diesel, the Mazda 3 offers impressively low running costs regardless of powertrain choice. The Mazda3’s space and equipment levels are also decent for the family hatchback class.

Skoda Octavia

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The Skoda Octavia is one of the most overall practical out of all the 2016 family hatchbacks on sale.

The cabin is not only really spacious, it also has a straightforward and user-friendly design. The standard boot capacity is whopping at 590 litres. It’s also great that air conditioning, a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity are all standard features too.

Also one of the more affordable family hatchbacks around, the Skoda Octavia uses Volkswagen underpinnings and engines, which are all solid, reliable and dependable.

All models in the Octavia hatchback range deliver low running costs, particularly those that use the 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine.

Driving the Octavia always feels easy-going and some of the more powerful diesel and petrol options are superb at eating up the miles.

While it may not have quite the badge appeal as other family hatchback options, the Skoda Octavia is one of the best options in this market sector because it’s well made and does everything well that matters to a family motorist.