Best premium hatch: BMW 1 Series

South Africans have enjoyed a long love affair with BMW, but no, we are not simply jumping on the bandwagon by choosing the German manufacturer's 1 Series as the winner in this category

The new-generation 1 Series is a brilliant little car, which offers a premium package coupled with modern technology. The Bavarian baby’s safety features are also state of the art.

What makes the BMW stand out in the segment is the way it drives. The only rear-wheel drive car in its class, it offers very different driving dynamics, which makes it more exciting than its rivals behind the wheel. Aesthetics always play a major role for any buyer and the face-lifted 1 series has improved greatly on its “fish-eyed” look, with the updated version donning softer lines.

The interior is typically BMW, offering a mix of luxury, sportiness and functionality. The 1 Series is not a faultless car, though, with one of our peeves being the cramped rear seats. Prepare to get up close and personal if you are going on a long journey with two other adults. Engine choices start from a fuel-efficient 1,5-litre three-cylinder block to a 3,0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder brute. Whether you’re a fuel conscious driver or a boy racer, there’s a 1 Series for you.