This is Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa territory, but there are plenty of other players. Citroen's Saxo, for instance, has developed something of a cult status, having sold more than 120,000 in the UK since its launch in 1996, and continues to sell in volumes similar to Volkswagen Polo, Fiat Punto and Nissan Micra.
Recently restyled inside and out, the hatchback range is offered in three- and five-door styles and with 1.0, 1.1, 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines, a 1.5-litre diesel and six trim specifications. On-the-road prices range from less than ú7,000 to ú12,270.
Among these are two 'hot' hatches, the ranging-topping VTS and the VTR, as tested here, both with 1.6-litre units, the former 120bhp and the latter 90bhp.