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Expert Ratings

Best medium cars

The definitive ranking of the best and worst medium cars on sale in the UK

This is the definitive ranking of the best and worst medium cars on sale in the UK.

How can we make such a bold claim? Because this list isn’t just based on our opinion. We’ve compiled and analysed more than 7,500 new car reviews from 25 of the top motoring websites in the UK to produce our Expert Rating scores. Why rely on one person’s opinion when you can have all of the top reviews gathered together in one place?

Despite the growing move towards SUVs, the variety of medium-sized cars remains huge and is more complex than ever. Several brands have more than one vehicle in this segment, with a variety of body styles like saloons, hatchbacks, estates and liftbacks. There is also plenty of choice when it comes to power, with petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles all available.

BMW 3 Series

The new BMW 3 Series has received very high scores from the UK media, with particular praise for the way it drives compared to its rivals.

Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 has been highly praised by the UK media for its performance, driving dynamics and minimalist style, with criticism for some ergonomic issues.

Polestar 2

The Polestar 2 has received many positive reviews from the UK motoring media, as well as from lifestyle and technology titles.

BMW 1 Series

The BMW 1 Series has received positive media reviews, although there has been much discussion about the switch away from rear-wheel drive.

Volkswagen ID.3

The Volkswagen ID.3 has been praised for its battery range, comfort and ease of use. However, it's expensive compared to a Golf.

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus has received many good reviews and awards from the UK media, and has been widely praised for its driving dynamics and safety.

Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia has received praise from reviewers for its spacious cabin, practicality and value for money.

Volvo V60

The Volvo V60 range has received consistently good media reviews, with particular praise for its design, quality and comfort.

Volkswagen Golf

Media reviews of the new Volkswagen Golf have been positive, although its Expert Rating is currently lower than the previous model.

Alfa Romeo Giulia

The Alfa Romeo Giulia has received many positive reviews from the motoring media, and scores highly on our aggregated Expert Rating from top UK media sources.

Audi A4

Based on nearly 60 reviews, the Audi A4 has an Expert Rating that leads the Mercedes-Benz C-Class but falls some way behind the BMW 3 Series.

Jaguar XE

The updated Jaguar XE has received positive reviews from the UK motoring media, with an overall Expert Rating that is competitive with its main rivals.

Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 has received generally good to very good UK media reviews, with particular praise for its styling and value for money.

Nissan Leaf

The latest Nissan Leaf has received consistently good scores from the UK motoring media, although it has few electric family car rivals to measure against.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is just about the most stylish people-carrier out there and with lots of tech, but this is reflected in its price.

Peugeot 508

The Peugeot 508 liftback and estate have received a wider range of scores than usual from the UK media, ranging from average to outstanding.

SEAT Leon

The new SEAT Leon is considered more refined although less sporty than the old model. The plug-in hybrid has received particular praise.

Audi A5 Sportback

The Audi A5 Sportback offers sharp coupé visuals with liftback practicality, yet while competent on the road, it doesn't excite.

Audi A3

The Audi A3 range has been praised for its refinement and improved driving dynamics, but criticised for a clunky touchscreen interior.

Kia Ceed

The Kia Ceed has received positive scores from the UK media, with the top-spec GT model generally scoring better than the rest of the range.

Mazda 6

The Expert Rating analysis for this car is coming soon, so the score indicated is only provisional. Check back again shortly.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

The Mercedes-Benz CLA has received mixed reviews, with praise for its styling and technology but criticism for a lack of practicality.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic has received consistently good reviews from the UK media, with particular praise for its practicality and generous levels of standard equipment.

Volvo S60

The Volvo S60 has received widespread praise for its design and outstanding safety. However, it doesn't drive as nicely as a BMW 3 Series.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has received good reviews and awards from the UK media, with praise for its comfort, refinement and safety kit.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric has received generally good reviews, with the updated 2019 model being a useful improvement on the 2016 original.

Citroën ë-C4

The electric Citroën ë-C4 has a higher Expert Rating than its petrol/diesel C4 sibling, and has been praised for its styling and comfort.

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius has always been well-known for its eco credentials, but the latest model is also a considerable improvement to drive.

Vauxhall Astra

The Vauxhall Astra has received mostly positive reviews from the UK motoring media. It has been praised for being comfortable, practical and economical.

Kia ProCeed

The Kia ProCeed offers more practicality than its stylish looks and sloping roof might suggest, though rivals are more fun to drive.

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has received positive reviews from the UK media, with praise for its practicality, build quality and low running costs.

Citroën C4

Initial reviews for the new Citroën C4 have been generally positive, although not quite as strong as for leading rivals in its class.

Skoda Scala

The Skoda Scala has received positive media reviews, but the level of enthusiasm has varied from mild disinterest to lashings of praise.

Suzuki Swace

The Suzuki Swace is a rebadged Toyota Corolla estate and worth considering, not necessarily on price but certainly on equipment levels.

Renault Mégane

The Renault Mégane has distinctive styling and generous equipment levels, but it's not as spacious and lacks the quality of its main rivals.

Hyundai i30

The Hyundai i30 has received average to good reviews from the UK motoring media, and ranks right in the middle of the midfield for this sector.

Subaru Levorg

The Subaru Levorg is an oddity, a tough and well-built all-wheel-drive estate but of limited appeal and expensive compared to rivals.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

When it was launched, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta received high praise. However, a decade later it's well off the pace of its major rivals.

Fiat Tipo

The Fiat Tipo has received generally poor media reviews, which has resulted in an Expert Rating that is currently the lowest in its class.

Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500L has had mixed reviews. It lacks the cuteness of the smaller 500, although it trades that for interior space and practicality.

Once the second-most important sector of the market after superminis, the medium car segment is now on something of a gradual slide. Buyers who previously drove a traditional hatchback, saloon or estate are increasingly turning to SUVs as family cars.

This sector of the market often includes a couple of different models from the same brand – for example, the BMW 1 Series (hatchback) and BMW 3 Series (saloon and estate) are both found here.

Despite the growing move towards SUVs, the variety of medium-sized cars remains huge and is more complex than ever. Former budget brands such as Hyundai and Kia have upped their game and now produce cars that are every bit as good as traditional family favourites like Ford or Volkswagen.

Meanwhile, premium brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are actively targeting younger buyers to increase their sales, helped by finance offers that bring the cost of their vehicles down to similar monthly payments as cheaper alternatives. In fact, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is consistently one of the UK’s best-selling new cars.

This segment of the new car market offers a wide variety of engine options, so you will almost certainly find something that meets your needs. A growing number of electric and plug-in hybrid cars continue to join the ranks of traditional petrol and diesel models, both from familiar brands and newcomers like Tesla and Polestar.

Best car rankings

The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites.