Bravo for Fiat's styling
YOU'd quite like a used family hatchback but you've examined the usual suspects and none of them do very much for you.
The Golf is a bit pricey, the Astra's a little dull and the man next door's got a Focus so that's out.
You've only just scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg in terms of the choices available in this densely populated area of the market but to save time, why not go straight to a model that's often unfairly overlooked? It's called the Fiat Bravo.
It's easy to forgive the Bravo any minor shortcomings when you walk round the car, taking in its beautifully integrated detailing and elegant proportions.
Many five-door hatches are about as beguiling as the prospect of an evening spent creosoting your mother-in-law's fence, but the Bravo is different.
There really wasn't any need for a sleek three-door version.
If size is everything to you, the Bravo may well disappoint.
Ford spent millions on making the Focus fit virtually anybody but Fiat hasn't spent that sort of budget on the Bravo and as such, it's far tighter than the Ford in the back although there's a decent amount of luggage space in that curved rump.
The engine range is solid and uses technology that has been developed in house by Fiat.
The manufacturer has had a shaky reliability record in the past but the signs are encouraging that the Bravo is built of sterner stuff. An alternator is around £90, front brake pads are around £40 for a set, a rear exhaust section should be about £70 and a headlamp is around £85.
Expect to pay around £10 for an air filter and about £20 for a fuel filter.
Styling will only get you so far if the car drives poorly.
Several manufacturers have found this to their cost but the Bravo comes up trumps on that score.
It's not too far off the class leaders when it comes to sharp handling through a series of twisties and the selection of engines is, by and large, better than the more obvious Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra offerings. The Bravo was good value as a new car and very little changes on the used market.
The styling will be the thing that sells it to most customers because it really is a pretty car despite the practical five-door bodystyle.