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Top 15 Diesel Hatchbacks has applied some common sense and a little mathematics to the quest to find the best diesel hatchbacks. Our ingenious boffins have scored each car according to the following criteria to help you make sense of an ever increasing choice of new cars.

Popularity. Sorry, no place for the finest, hand-built cars in our list. They have been selected from the twenty most popular diesel hatchbacks sold over the last few years, the cars you drive every day. After all, you know best!

Price. We worked out the average price paid, cars scored more for being lower-priced and less at the premium end. We'll be publishing a separate list for premium cars too, so if you are feeling flush, you can compare like for like.

User ratings. regularly surveys its users and asks them what they think of their car. High user rankings are vital for a good score in our list.

Space. If you're looking for a family car, you will need plenty of room. Enough to keep the kids from fighting, to store bikes, skateboards, prams, cats and dogs. Bigger is definitely better.

Safety. All the cars featured attained the top NCAP safety rating, but some perform better for pedestrian and passenger safety than others.

Running costs. Miles per gallon, road tax and insurance groups. Our customer surveys tell us which order they rank running costs, so we have appropriate scores for each criteria.

Lastly, you could call it the X Factor, but it is simply brand. How desirable is the car. Using real data from thousands of users, we've calculated a desirability index. Will your car set the net curtains twitching, or just blend in?

We hope this helps you choose your next car, or at least gives you food for thought, safe in the knowledge that our tech team have applied a little science and data on their quest to help our users find their perfect car.