Hot hatchbacks are some of the most sought-after cars around. Not only are they practical pieces of kit, but they offer fun driving in a compact package that doesn’t cost the earth to buy or run.
But with many options to choose from, which ones should you be looking for if you want an affordable hot hatch? Here are some of the best options available on AA Cars.
Ford Fiesta ST
Not only does the UK’s best-selling car work well as a normal supermini, it excels as a hot hatch as well. For the seventh-generation, Ford made its second ST model, and this one was the best yet.
Fitted with a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, the ST had 180bhp at its disposal – meaning it could get from 0-60mph in under 7 seconds. With plenty of extra bits to take the normal Fiesta – which was already great to drive – to a new level, the 2013 ST was a triumphant hot hatch for everyday use. Prices start from £5,990.
Volkswagen Golf R32
The Golf GTI was one of the original hot hatches to captivate the world’s drivers – and the introduction in 2002 of the V6-powered R32 gave it an added boost. Based on the fourth generation Golf, the first R32 was superb.
Coming with 4-wheel drive and a sweet 6-speed manual gearbox, the R32 also came with independent rear suspension and additional add-ons to improve the performance. Managing 0-60mph in 6.4 seconds, the R32 could reach 150mph and is one of the great hatchbacks of the past 20 years. Prices start from £5,990.
Renault Megane R.S.
With a punchy 2.0-litre engine that handled exceptionally well, the Megane Renault Sport – R.S. for short – was a quality hatchback option. Full of kit to make the driving experience more involved and exciting, it also came with plenty of space inside and looked excellent.
With the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine developing 247bhp, the Megane R.S. could get from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds before reaching a limited top speed of 155mph. Used options start from £8,948.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Introduced on the second-generation version of this Japanese supermini, the Swift Sport is a pocket-rocket. The first version was fitted with a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre petrol engine that gave 123bhp.
The second-generation Sport is an even smarter used option, as it comes with more tech and more power. It boasts the same 1.6-litre petrol engine that increased to 134bhp to get the supermini from 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds. It could reach a top speed of 121mph. It looked more aggressive than the standard Swift thanks to a new bodykit, and revised dynamics that gave an even better driver experience. Prices start from £4,995.
Mini Hatch John Cooper Works
Minis are renowned for their go-kart handling, although most versions don’t have the power to go with it. But the John Cooper Works (JCW) version, introduced alongside the first Hatch produced under BMW ownership in 2002, certainly delivers on power.
The second generation is the version you’ll see the most, and that came with a 1.6-litre engine delivering 215bhp. Capable of 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 148mph, the Mini Hatch JCW is a fun hot hatch that only enhances the great underpinnings already in place. Used prices start from £3,900.