The Ford Focus ST is a popular choice in the hot hatch segment. It’s fast, fun to drive and packs the dramatic styling so many buyers in this class love. Add in a purchase price several thousand pounds less than some of the competition, and it isn’t hard to see why the Ford so desirable.
It needs to be good, however, because it’s an area of the market flooded with talented alternatives – we’re looking at five of the very best. If you’re not sold on these options, put either the Ford Focus ST or the Ford Focus ST Estate in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
Peugeot 308 GTi
The Peugeot 308 GTi is one of the most recent additions to the hot hatch brigade, and it’s also one of the fastest. Thanks to a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol that pumps out 266hp in its top state of tune, it’ll crack the 0-62mph sprint in just six seconds – a full half-second quicker than the Ford.
Despite the stand-out performance figures, the 308 isn’t just a focused performance car. When the driver just wants to relax, the 308 is spacious, refined and impressively comfortable. While some may search for something a little more extreme, this slightly more laid-back nature means it can be enjoyed more than the Focus more of the time.
Pick your perfect Peugeot 308 GTi in our car configurator to see what savings can be made.
Renault Megane Renaultsport
For pure driving excitement ahead of all other measures, the Renault Megane Renaultsport is one of the best hot hatches money can buy. Fitted with a 271hp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, the Megane boasts superior performance figures to the Ford, yet it’s the chassis that’s the real star…
It feels engaging and responsive in its standard setup but, with the optional Öhlins dampers fitted, it’s capable of flowing along a country road at a pace rivals struggle to compete with. Available as a three-door only, it may not quite be as practical as the Ford but, in the key performance car areas, it’s the one to have.
Kia Pro Cee’d GT
The Kia Pro Cee’d GT was one of the brand’s first attempts at a hot hatch and, as it turns out, it’s a very impressive vehicle. It manages to get most basics right – the steering and gearbox are pleasant, it looks purposeful and is well built. Push the car further and it reveals itself to be fun to drive, too – it remains composed on even the most undulating of bends.
It isn’t quite as fast as some alternatives here – 0-62mph takes 7.4 seconds, compared to the Ford’s 6.5 – but it’s claimed to return 38.2mpg and, on a daily basis, feels comfortable and refined.
Spec up a Kia Pro Cee’d GT in our car configurator to see what savings are offered.
Skoda Octavia vRS
Build quality and practicality aren’t always the biggest priorities for hot hatch buyers, but they are two attributes in which few rivals to the Skoda Octavia vRS can compete. The cabin is spacious, the boot is almost double the size of the Focus’s, yet it still covers the 0-62mph sprint in a time within a couple of tenths of the ST.
It’s competitively priced, too – costing from just under £24,000, it’s one of the few alternatives to the Ford that can truly compete in the value-for-money stakes. Like the Focus, it’s also offered in a more practical vRS Estate body style.
Put the Skoda Octavia vRS in our car configurator to see what reductions are on offer.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
Long seen as the all rounder in the hot hatch segment, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is the car that rivals such as the Pro Cee’d GT and 308 GTI aspire to beat. Its big selling point is that it effectively has no weak links, managing to do almost everything very well…
While not the pinnacle of excitement on a B-road (look to the Megane for that), it’s uncannily composed, grippy and immensely enjoyable. Performance is on a par with the best here yet, in terms of refinement and build quality, it streaks out into the lead. As all-rounders go, the Golf GTI is almost impossible to beat.
Pick your perfect Volkswagen Golf GTI in our car configurator to see the deals available.
Save money on your next hot hatch
If you’re not sold on any of these options, put either the Ford Focus ST or the Ford Focus ST Estate in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, head over to our deals page or, if you still need help picking your next car, check out our car chooser.