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Hi all. The best compact hatchbacks according to Autoexpress:

Britain's best hatchbacks 2011
Which are the best compact hatches on sale? We rate the top 20 contenders... plus put our top three through their paces on the road
BMW 1 Series, Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus
October 2011
The compact hatchback class is one of the most fiercely fought in the UK market. Nearly every manufacturer, mainstream or premium, has one of these family friendly cars in its price lists.

With so many models to choose from, picking the right car for your needs and budget is a mind-boggling challenge. So, to take the stress out of your showroom search, we’ve named our family hatch top 20.

Finally, we’ve pitched the latest arrival to the sector – the all-new BMW 1 Series – against our current class favourites in a bruising group test encounter. How will the latest premium five-door fare against the two most talented hatches currently on sale? All will be revealed.

Read more: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carrev...tains_best_hatchbacks_2011.html#ixzz1ckdGQuO0
 

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Not bad company and definitely well placed above the #4 - #20 contenders.
 

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and I've seen a few other European comparisons where they also had the GTI finishing ahead of the Focus and I don't have any qualms on that. The GTI is well established and the build quality is better there than the US, so don't have any doubt the European GTI isn't a fine car.
 

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Apparently across the pond they get a 5 spd (or is that 6?) in the Ti. At least the car magazines do. I wonder how it would have fared in the comparison had it been done with the 6sp Auto.
 

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Hi, I can't believe that AE put the Focus into a test with an estate, which is what the 1 series really is and dammed ugly, and with an 80's looking car. I mean, both the VW and the BMW are more expensive and do not have the same equipment or refinement levels that the Focus has, and I doubt if they are as well put together either. None of the Focus rivals are as good looking to sit inside either.
Chris
 

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Apparently across the pond they get a 5 spd (or is that 6?) in the Ti. At least the car magazines do. I wonder how it would have fared in the comparison had it been done with the 6sp Auto.
Hi, all our manual gearboxes are 6-speed...
Chris
 

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I didnt realize they had that many choices for hatch backs over there

Oh boy, if they did an 1M hatch...that would be a killer car [:)] Reminds me of the old M coupes
 

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Hi, all our manual gearboxes are 6-speed...
Chris
The 6-speed would be cool but I couldn't shift a 4-speed left handed let alone 6! I'm afraid I would be opening the door going for the shifter while turning into oncoming traffic while making a right turn.
 

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I didnt realize they had that many choices for hatch backs over there
Europe especially has a fondness for hatchback and Econo cars in general. Don't forget their gas prices are likely double or triple what gas prices are here in the US. It cost me $39 today to fill up with about 27 miles to empty. Just imagine dropping $100 to fill up your Focus. I cringed every time I filled up my just traded in Edge. The last time I filled that up it cost me $70....

I hope more consumers in the states wise up and start to demand more hatchbacks.
 

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I am fully ambidexterous, so i could switch to right hand driving with a stick no problem...
I have a hard time remembering the word/location/direction 'right' 'left' though!!
 

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I haven't had much trouble shifting left-handed during my travels to England, Australia, and New Zealand, but I would've paid cash money for a hill start assist. Handbraking with my left hand to prevent rollback left me flustered, even after daily practice on an uphill approach to a busy roundabout near the worksite in England.

Back on topic, I'm already on record saying that a 1 series hatch might have trumped the Focus were it available here. I've rented a couple over in Europe and loved them.
 
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