Hot hatchbacks are traditionally one of the cheapest and most practical routes into owning a performance car. Usually based on superminis or family hatchbacks, the focus on lightness and agility at a knock-down price makes them some of our favourite models on sale.
You can buy a good hot hatchback for less than you think, too, because manufacturers are keen to make their performance models more accessible to the younger buyers who want them. We’ve put together this list of the 10 cheapest choices to help you decide which to pick.
1. Abarth 595 (from £14,610)
It’s stylish, compact and a genuine pocket rocket – the Abarth 595 is the cheapest genuine hot hatch money can buy. With just 135hp and a 0-60mph time of 7.9 seconds, it’s not the quickest model on this list, but the turbocharged 1.4-litre engine suits the tiny Abarth’s character well and is certainly exciting enough for most drivers.
Like its exterior, the 595 shares most of its interior with the standard Fiat 500 – that’s no bad thing, however, because you get a retro design with plenty of charm and a reasonable amount of equipment. It’s not the most spacious car – even for a hot hatchback – but there’s plenty of room for front passengers. There’s also the 595C convertible if you like your hot hatches topless – it costs £2,000 more than the standard car.
Check out our Abarth 595 deals page to save money on your new car.
2. SEAT Ibiza Cupra (from £17,460)
SEAT has always offered good value for money, especially so with the stylish SEAT Ibiza Cupra. It’s an entertaining car to drive, with stable handling that can be improved further with the optional adaptive suspension. Despite having been on sale for a little while, it still looks razor sharp.
The new, larger 1.8-litre engine makes 196hp helping it hit 62mph from rest in 6.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 146mph. Priced at £17,460, it offers much of the same experience as pricier rivals, just at a lower cost – and there’s always the warm FR version if you’d prefer something a little cheaper, too.
Our SEAT Ibiza Cupra deals page has all the latest offers.
3. Ford Fiesta ST (from £17,645)
The Ford Fiesta ST is one of the best performance cars ever made, let alone currently on sale, and its low price makes it even more appealing. It’s quick, practical and great fun to drive, improving everything about the already-talented standard Fiesta.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol with 176hp, helping it cover the 0-62mph sprint in an impressive 6.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 137mph. Costing from £17,645 for the ST1, it certainly won’t break the bank, either.
Use our Ford Fiesta ST deals page to discover how much you could save.
4. Vauxhall Corsa VXR (from £17,995)
The previous Vauxhall Corsa VXR could fairly be described as a bit of a handful but, for the current model, Vauxhall has improved its smallest hot hatchback in every area. It’s still fast in a straight line but, thanks to lots of suspension and chassis tuning, it now goes around corners with much more confidence and refinement.
Its 1.6-litre turbo makes a potent 202hp, helping it complete the 0-62mph dash in just 6.5 seconds. At £17,995, it represents great value for money and, thanks to the bold bodykit and striking colours, it’ll suit those who like to stand out in the car park.
Check out our Vauxhall Corsa VXR deals page to save money on your new car.
5. Peugeot 208 GTi (from £18,895)
The Peugeot 208 GTi aims to restore the former glory of one of the most famous hot hatch makers in the industry. It might not look that different to a standard 208 but, if you prefer your hot hatches to fly under the radar, this might be the one for you.
Peugeot has bestowed the GTi with sharp handling, giving drivers great confidence on a tricky back road. It’s fast, too, with its 197hp 1.6-litre turbo petrol powering from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds. With a well built interior and decent space for passengers, it’s also a practical choice and the entry level price is a reasonable £18,895.
Our Peugeot 208 GTi deals page has all the latest offers.
6. Volkswagen Polo GTI (from £18,900)
If you’re after a more refined hot hatch, the Volkswagen Polo GTI offers a more grown-up approach. Very subtle styling tweaks mean the untrained might struggle to tell it apart from a standard Polo, but it still carries the much-admired GTI image developed on the legendary Golf GTI.
A newly installed 1.8-litre turbo produces 190hp, helping it accelerate from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds. A premium interior makes the £18,900 price tag easy to justify and the standard fit infotainment system is among the most intuitive to use in the class.
Use our Volkswagen Polo GTI deals page to discover how much you could save.
7. Renault Clio Renaultsport (from £19,130)
The Renault Clio Renaultsport is arguably one of the most stylish hot hatchbacks on sale, with a hidden rear-door handle and massive front spoiler giving an aggressive look without compromising on practicality. Inside, there’s good space for passengers and an attractive and fairly straightforward dashboard layout, too.
Its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine offers 200hp and completes the 0-62mph dash in 6.7 seconds. The Renault costs slightly more than some direct rivals but, considering the extra functionality provided by the standard-fit automatic gearbox, it offers decent value for money.
Check out our Renault Clio Renaultsport deals page to save money on your new car.
8. Mini Cooper S (from £20,460)
With each generation, the Mini Cooper S has grown larger and more refined, but the current car still has that sense of fun and the go-kart-like handling that made the original Mini such a success. Power is impressive too, with a 2.0-litre turbo producing 189hp that gives the Mini some serious shove on back roads.
For a car with bags of premium appeal, the £20,460 price of basic versions doesn’t seem too bad, but a glance at the options list reminds you that you’ll probably need to add a good chunk of money to get the equipment you want. Nevertheless, the Cooper S remains a classy act that’ll hold its value well and put a smile on your face.
9. Ford Focus ST (from £22,745)
Moving up a size category from supermini-based hot hatches, the Ford Focus ST offers incredible value for money because it can also double as a day-to-day family car. Engaging handling and a powerful 247hp petrol engine mean it’ll satisfy your inner boy racer, but well-judged suspension will keep the family happy on longer journeys.
Equipment levels across all trim Focus ST levels is generous and, if the hatch’s somewhat tight 316-litre boot isn’t large enough, there’s a practical Focus ST Estate version available for just £900 more. Like the smaller Fiesta ST, the Focus is one of the best hot hatch options on the market and the low price is just the icing on the cake.
Our Ford Focus ST deals page has all the latest offers.
10. Skoda Octavia vRS (from £24,230)
Offering even more practicality than the Focus, the Skoda Octavia vRS is another plus-sized hot hatchback that works just as well as a family car. Despite its saloon-like appearance, the bootlid and rear window lift as one making it easier to put items in. The standard Octavia is a comfortable and high quality machine, and adding a sporty engine simply enhances the package.
The Skoda’s 227hp and relatively heavy weight won’t set the world on fire but being based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf GTI and SEAT Leon Cupra means this is still an entertaining hot hatchback to drive. If you need a sporty car that also offers a little more refinement and space for a great value price, there are few better options.
Use our Skoda Octavia vRS deals page to discover how much you could save.
Save money on your next hot hatchback
Our new car deals page will find you the best discounts on any of the hot hatchbacks featured here. If money’s no object, check out our list of the best overall hot hatchbacks. Alternatively, if you’re struggling to decide what your next car will be, our car chooser is here to help narrow down your search.