‘Big things come in small packages’ may be an overused idiom but, in the case of hot hatchbacks, it’s absolutely true. These cars pack impressive performance into a compact body, providing big driving thrills for a comparatively small price tag. Plus, the best hot hatches aren’t just fun; they’re also practical, with all the comfort and spaciousness that you need day to day.
But which hot hatchbacks provide the most bang (and real-world usefulness) for their buck? Read on to discover the very best hot hatches you can have for less than £25,000.
These are carwow’s best cheap hot hatchbacks:
Ford Fiesta ST
When it comes to fun-yet-inexpensive motoring, the Ford Fiesta ST is among the cream of the crop. The car may have a small price tag, but it delivers rapid acceleration, zooming from 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds. Plus, the ST’s tiny, three-cylinder engine sounds awesome and helps keep running costs relatively low. Inside, the equipment list is pretty generous, with the entry-level ST-2 car getting handy features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, heated front sports seats and rear privacy glass.
Volkswagen Polo GTI
The Volkswagen Polo GTI is fitted with a turbocharged, 2.0-litre engine, which can take the car from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds and return a claimed fuel economy of 46mpg. This all gives the little car an excellent blend of speed and economy, particularly appealing when you consider its sub-£25,000 cost. The Polo GTI feels like even better value when you climb inside, finding a cabin that blends a high-quality feel with sporty trimmings and high-tech infotainment. The front sports seats give the car the feel of a cool racer, while its big boot and smooth suspension make it easy to live with every day.
Volkswagen Up GTI
If you want your hot hatchback to not only be cheap but also excel in towns and on winding country trails, then the Volkswagen Up GTI should be your port of call. It has a 115hp engine that both sounds and feels surprisingly satisfying. It can go from 0-60mph in less than nine seconds. Inside, the Up GTI feels pretty spacious it can haul four adults in reasonable comfort and has a boot that’ll swallow the weekly shop.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Admittedly, with a 0-60mph time of 8.1 seconds, the Suzuki Swift Sport isn’t as quick off the line as others on this list. However, the car is an absolute hoot to drive, blessed with precise steering, strong brakes and stable suspension. It’s economical, too, with claimed fuel economy of up to 50mpg. Inside, there’s space for four and plenty of standard equipment, including touchscreen infotainment with sat-nav and active cruise control. This all comes despite the Swift Sport being one of the cheapest cars on this list, setting you back less than £20,000.
Abarth 595 Competizione
The Abarth 595 Competizione both looks and (courtesy of its comically loud exhaust) sounds like a bona fide racing car. Outside, its contrasting colours – made complete by the dark tinted windows and bright brake calipers – makes it an instant standout, one of the most striking cheap cars out there. It isn’t all shirt and no trousers, either: its 180hp, 1.4-litre petrol engine can get the car from 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds.
The following are honourable mentions that would normally cost above £25,000 but, thanks to carwow’s exclusive savings, you can buy them through us for below that budget:
Hyundai i30 N
You can have the standard 250hp Hyundai i30 N for less than £25,000 when you buy via carwow. Plus, it’s a model example of how to make a hot hatch. With room for four adults and, in the boot, a couple of large suitcases, it’s as practical as a normal i30 but with a sportier presence. This comes courtesy of a subtle bodykit and 18-inch alloy wheels. The N can back up those looks with genuine performance. Not only has its precise chassis been set up by the people who used to develop BMW’s M cars; its turbocharged engine gets it from 0-60mph in just 6.4 seconds.
Skoda Octavia vRS
Buy a Skoda Octavia vRS via carwow and you can save an average of £5,000, bringing its price down to less than £24,000. For that money, you get more interior space than any other car here. The boot is huge and the cabin has some generous rear legroom. Elsewhere, the vRS’s 2.0-litre petrol engine puts out 245hp, getting you from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds. The vRS is also one of the few hot hatches to get a diesel engine. It’s a second slower to 60mph than the petrol, but has a great fuel economy of 54mpg.
Renault Megane RS
Get a Renault Megane RS via carwow and you can have it for less than £25,000. For that, you get a hatchback able to blend racecar-style aggression with more practical poise. On one hand, its performance can make mincemeat of the alternatives, blitzing to 60mph from a standstill in 5.8 seconds. On the other, its interior has super-supportive seats and its boot is a sizeable 384 litres, edging out alternatives such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST in terms of practicality.
Save thousands of pounds on your next hatchback by going to carwow’s hatchback car hub page.