Which hatchback for rural use and occasional motorway journeys?

Which new or nearly new small/medium 5-door hatchback would you recommend, if use was principally local driving in a rural area with a few motorway journeys? Total mileage would be 10,000 a year. I'm tempted by a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 Match, a Volkswagen Up, a Skoda Citigo, a Hyundai i20 or a Fabia. Would any of these be something you would consider?

Asked on 2 March 2013 by DH, via email

Answered by Honest John
The Golf to buy is the hard-to-fault new Mk VII 1.2TSI 105, at just under £20,000. Test and video test here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/volkswagen/volkswa.../

Otherwise a Honda Civic 1.8iES (www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/honda/honda-civic-.../). The Hyundai in this class would be the highly regarded i30, not the i20. The lower powered diesel version of this on 15-inch wheels drives, rides and handles very well indeed. A Fabia is also a smaller car, while Ups and Citigos are very small.
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