We’ve a lot of experience of driving lower medium hatchbacks – the Merc A-class, Volvo V40, BMW 1-series as well as the A3 – so I decided to combine the opinions of three BusinessCar road testers to see which model is best.

They scored the cars for badge appeal, exterior looks and drivability, before I added a mark for practicality (boot space) and cost per mile (KwikCarcost).

There was a lot of disagreement within each category. For example, each tester chose a different brand as the best when judging badge appeal – which meant that Audi, BMW and Mercedes couldn’t be separated – although they agreed the Volvo was the least appealing in terms of branding and that the 1-series was the least attractive but also the best to drive. Collectively, the Merc was deemed the best-looking, with the Volvo second.

Remarkably, overall it was a tie between the A3 and 1-series, with the A-class only a point behind and the V40 a long way off.

A decision for you may therefore come down to factors such as CO2, mpg, RVs or BIK, but even here there’s little between similarly priced Audi (150hp) and BMW (118d) models (108g/km, 67.3mpg, 41.7% and £60 per month for a 20% tax payer vs 109g/km, 68.9mpg, 40.7% and £59).

We can’t split them – can you?