Compare the best hot hatches

High quality hot hatchbacks from rated and reviewed dealers

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Rated 4.5/5 from 55,997 reviews
Last updated June 12, 2024 by Darren Cassey

Best hot hatches of 2024

Hot hatches have been a hugely important part of UK car culture for decades. The mix of performance and practicality in a relatively affordable package is an enticing recipe, because if you love driving but can’t justify running a sports car alongside your family car, hot hatchbacks let you have your cake and eat it.

What is a hot hatch? Well, they are typically based on a regular family hatchback, but upgraded with more power and mechanical bits that make them more capable – and importantly, more fun – on a twisty road.

Here's Carwow’s expert reviews team’s rundown of the best hot hatches in 2024.

Toyota GR Yaris

1. Toyota GR Yaris

10/10
Toyota GR Yaris review
Honda Civic Type R
2024
Driving Pleasure Award
Highly Commended

2. Honda Civic Type R

9/10
Honda Civic Type R review

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Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
2024
Most Anticipated New Car
Highly Commended

3. Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

9/10
Hyundai Ioniq 5 N review
Battery range up to 278 miles
Audi RS3

4. Audi RS3 Sportback

9/10
Audi RS3 review
Mercedes-Benz AMG A45

5. Mercedes-AMG A45 S

9/10
Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 review
Hyundai i20 N

6. Hyundai i20 N

9/10
Hyundai i20 N review
Volkswagen Golf R

7. Volkswagen Golf R

9/10
Volkswagen Golf R review
Ford Focus ST

8. Ford Focus ST

8/10
Ford Focus ST review
BMW M135i

9. BMW M135i

8/10
BMW M135i review
Cupra Leon

10. Cupra Leon

8/10
Cupra Leon review
Battery range up to 429 miles

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Advice about hot hatches

Hot hatchbacks FAQs

A hot hatch is essentially a sporty hatchback. What’s a hatchback? A small run-around car, with a big boot opening and an almost vertical rear-end. Here's our list of the best hatchbacks you can buy. Nearly every one out there has a sporty variant on offer. Typically they have more aggressive looks to complement their sporty and desirable nature - hence the term hot hatch.

If we’re talking about straight line acceleration, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 S and Audi RS3 have been top of the charts in recent years. However, they’ve been dethroned by the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, which can go from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. There’s tenths of a second in it, though – all are mighty quick, and impressive for cars that are practical, with decent space in the rear seats and well-sized boots.

Technically, a sports car has been designed from the ground up to focus on handling and acceleration. A hot hatch starts off as an everyday, practical hatchback. So, not really. That being said, many hot hatches out-perform some sports cars. But what if you couldn’t care less about practicality and really want something sporty? Well, the Mazda MX-5 is a good bet. Its lightweight nature means it’s seriously fun to drive, and it’s good value for a sports car, too.

With performance characteristics that are comparable to an all-out sports car, hot hatches offer much more practicality and are a whole lot cheaper to buy and run. Sports car performance for the masses? Of course they’re popular. With more speed restrictions on the public roads, many would argue that they’re more fun to drive day-to-day. The Honda Civic Type R handles brilliantly and with plenty of punch, is one of the best cars for driving on country roads.

The ultimate hot hatch depends what you're looking for. If you're looking for a rally car for the road, it's the Toyota GR Yaris, but if you prefer a more traditional front-wheel drive model the Honda Civic Type R is tough to beat. If it's outright power you want, there's the rapid Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, which is an electric car, or if you prefer petrol power, something like the Audi RS3 would be a great alternative.

One of the great things about hot hatches is that they're generally quite economical by performance car standards, thanks to their family car beginnings. If you want the most economical hot hatch, though, you will want a smaller, less powerful car, such as the Hyundai i20 N, which hits about 40mpg in official tests. If you can charge at home and have a cheap electric car-friendly tariff, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N will have the lowest running costs of any car in this list.