If you’re looking for a car offering genuine thrills that can still be driven everyday, there are few better choices than a hot hatch. They offer the ample practicality and ease of use of their regular hatchback siblings, but add powerful engines and sporty tweaks to make them a hoot on your favourite B-road.
We’re taking a look at 10 of our favourite hot hatches to help you decide which one is right for you. Once you’ve picked, put any of the cars in this list in our new car deals page to discover how much carwow could help you save. Hungry for more power? Check out our list of the fastest hot hatches. Fancy the pace without the fuel bills? Read our list of the best diesel hot hatches.
1. Ford Fiesta ST200
The Ford Fiesta ST200 is one of the most entertaining hot hatches around. It’s so good, in fact, it could go down as one of the best hot hatches ever made. The standard Fiesta is already a lot of fun down a B-road but the ST version goes even further with sports suspension and better brakes to the mix.
There’s also a turbocharged 197hp 1.6-litre engine under the bonnet, capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in less than seven seconds aided by the car’s low weight. Despite being compact, there’s room for four adults and a boot large enough for the weekly shop, making the Ford a perfect car for those wanting to add a healthy dose of fun to their everyday commute.
Check out our Ford Fiesta ST200 deals page to find the best savings.
2. Ford Focus RS
While the Fiesta ST200 relies on low weight and cheeky handling to provide the driver with thrills, its bigger brother adds sheer brute force into the mix. The Ford Focus RS produces 345hp from its Mustang-derived 2.3-litre engine, and features a four-wheel-drive system to give ultimate grip and cornering ability.
Impressively, Ford has managed to keep the RS relatively inexpensive – costing only slightly more than the less powerful Focus ST. If we were to find something to criticise then it’d probably be the reduced boot space compared to the standard Focus hatch, but there’s still enough room for a weekend away. Equally, its cabin feels a little outdated compared to more modern rivals.
Take a look at our Ford Focus RS deals page to find out how much you could save.
3. SEAT Leon Cupra 290
The latest SEAT Leon Cupra boasts sleek styling and a 286hp 2.0-litre petrol engine, giving it true hot hatch credentials. Based on the desirable Leon hatchback, the Cupra gets upgraded brakes and suspension as standard, plus a grip enhancing torque-vectoring system.
While it looks very sporty. it’s actually a fantastic all-rounder being both fairly comfortable and stable at high speeds. Looks are subjective but it’s arguably one of the most attractive hatchbacks on sale, with sharp creases running down the bodywork. In addition to three- and five-door bodystyles, you can also get the Cupra as a practical ST estate.
Our SEAT Leon Cupra ST page has loads of deals for you to check out.
4. Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport
The Volkswagen Golf was the car that started the hot hatch craze back in the 1970s and remains one of the best in the class. The standard GTI is a fantastic all-rounder and this new Clubsport version ups the ante by adding more power and equipment – there’s now 286hp and an even more striking bodykit.
While the similar SEAT Leon Cupra 290 is noticeably cheaper to buy, the Volkswagen badge carries more kudos in the company car park and helps ensure residual values will remain strong. Part of the GTI’s appeal is that it adapts to how you drive it, so if you’re after a hatchback that can be a crazed sports car one minute and a practical family car the next – the classy Volkswagen might be just the ticket.
Take a look at our Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport deals to find out how much you could save.
5. Renaultsport Megane 275
The Renault Megane’s days are numbered, but dealers still have a handful of last-of-the-line Renaultsport Megane models which, in their most potent form, have a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine producing 275hp and can out accelerate most rivals here. It doesn’t have the all-round abilities of the Golf or the Leon, but has a manic race car-like quality that suits being driven hard and will feel instantly at home on a race track.
Renault should be launching a hot version of the new Megane hatchback later this year. The new model is expected to offer improved performance in every regard but might sacrifice some of the Megane’s hardcore edge for a little more all-round ability – this will either be a positive or negative point depending on what you want from your hot hatch.
6. Honda Civic Type R
Even casual observers couldn’t mistake the Honda Civic Type R for a normal Civic. It features huge flared wheel arches, quad exhausts and a large spoiler that give the Honda an almost cartoonish appearance. Despite the crazy styling, it retains the standard car’s practical interior and large 487-litre boot – great for those who regularly carry passengers.
The 2.0-litre engine produces 310hp and has an unlimited top speed of 167mph – faster than many limited German super-saloons, let alone hot hatches. Unfortunately though, this harder edge makes it tricky to live with day-to-day, with limited refinement and a harsh, nervous ride quality.
Use our Honda Civic Type R deals page to find the best savings on your next car.
7. Peugeot 308 GTI 270
The Peugeot 308 GTI 270 is pleasingly understated compared to some rivals outlandish designs but has the performance credentials to match some of the fastest in the class. With 270hp from a tiny 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, it’s both quicker and cheaper than the the VW Golf GTI but, like that car, features a classy cabin built from sturdy premium materials.
Mirroring the exterior styling, the 308 GTI offers a more laid back and relaxing driving experience than many rivals. There’s excellent body control but it still insulates occupants from scruffy road surfaces. A large boot and spacious rear seat make it a practical choice for anyone who regularly carries a lot of cargo or rear seat passengers.
Check out our Peugeot 308 GTI 270 deals page to find out how to save with carwow.
8. Skoda Octavia vRS 230
While many cars in this list offer a good amount of space, buyers looking for a truly practical hot hatch should look no further than the Skoda Octavia vRS 230. The standard Octavia is a high quality and spacious family carrier and the hotter version simply adds some welcome extra power and sportier handling to the mix.
Those expecting the Skoda to match competitors in terms of dynamics might be a little disappointed – it’s stable and grippy but lacks the last degree of agility found in the best in class. The £24,230 price of base versions isn’t much more expensive than the average diesel hatchback and, if you don’t need the full 227hp, a diesel version is also offered that returns significantly better fuel economy.
Discover the latest Skoda Octavia vRS 230 savings on our deals page.
9. Vauxhall Corsa VXR
The Vauxhall Corsa VXR has a bit of an unfair reputation as a boy racer’s car and, while its loud styling isn’t for the shy and retiring, it’s still a great hot hatchback. The high quality cabin and increased power of the most recent example brings it perilously close to its main rival – the Ford Fiesta ST.
When it comes to ultimate ability to entertain, the Fiesta offers more fun behind the wheel, but the Vauxhall is a solid choice that’s good value for money too. Its interior is larger than the Fiesta’s so might be a more practical option for those who find the Ford a little too compact.
Our Vauxhall Corsa VXR deals page has all you need to save money on your new car.
10. Suzuki Swift Sport
The Suzuki Swift Sport might not be the first model that springs to mind when you think of a hot hatchback, but it’s arguably one of the purest hot hatches on the market. With a simple non-turbo 1.6-litre 136hp engine, it has less power than many crossovers, but its low weight and agile handling make the Suzuki exceptionally good fun to drive.
The Swift’s low price means it’s an option for may buyers but it can be felt inside where the cabin features a some cheap-feeling materials. Nevertheless, those materials are really well screwed together and the whole car feels beautifully constructed.
Take a look at our Suzuki Swift Sport deals page to check out the latest offers.
Save money on your next hot hatch
Our new car deals page will find you the best savings on any of the cars featured here. If you’re struggling to pick your next car, our car chooser is here to help narrow down your search. Have a need for even more speed? Check out our list of the fastest hot hatches. Got one eye on your fuel bills? See our list of the best diesel hot hatches.