Recently the hot hatch market has come back to full health, the rising economy means people have more money to spend.
Instead of going for that sensible 1.4 buyers decide that want a bit more oomph, a bit more street cred and as most buyers opt for PCP the difference between the halo model and the sensible option is around about the cost of a phone contract!
So, we have decided to run down our current Top 5 hot hatches of this year – and yes we have driven them all!
We first sampled the 208 GTi back in 2013, it was good but it wasn’t quite good enough. Peugeot realised this and had a second stab at it with the “By Peugeot Sport” model.
Featuring all of the uprated goodies found on the 30th Anniversary edition it is more agile, gets the power down better and just feels like a special car.
The Fiesta ST took the hot hatch crown when the current crop made it to market. Yes it may be less powerful with only 179 BHP compared to the standard 200 offering by the competition. But a very taught chassis and spot on handling mean that it more than makes up for its shortcomings in the power department. It is slower than the current 208 GTi by .2 seconds coming in at 6.7, but in the real world that is negligible – this is still a damn quick car.
We coupled the Fiesta ST with some awesome Somerset roads to really put it through its places, in fact there are a few good Ford van and car dealerships around Yeovil if you fancy a test drive!
Some will argue this isn’t a hot hatch as it doesn’t have enough power…they may be right. But get behind the wheel of one and you will have one of the most connected, old school driving feel of any current hot hatch on sale.
Take it down some B roads and you will really see how well this thing handles! A high revving 1.6 gives you 134 BHP and 0-60 in 8.4 seconds, some have likened the drive to that of the fabled 205 GTi, it really is that good!
Another left field entry, and again arguably not hot enough to make it to this list. However due to its diminutive stature, the little 1.4 turbocharged engine gives it 135 BHP and a 0-60 time of 7.9 seconds.
What really makes the Abarth 500 a hoot is the clever Bosch TTC traction control button, it basically acts as a pseudo differential allowing you to corner at insane speeds whilst the rubber hangs on in there.
An unlikely choice, and one that doesn’t feature greatly amongst the usual comparisons. Seats’s Ibiza Cupra has one awesome trick up it’s sleeve that none of the current crop of hot hatches have…a quick flappy paddle gearbox.
Now whilst everyone craves that manual change, there is something to be said about the more focussed, more controlled driving that a paddle shift auto can bring. It’s 1.4 turbo supercharged engine makes 178 BHP and gives it a 0-60 time of 6.7 seconds, it lacks a little torque but that DSG ‘box makes it feel suitably next gen. Oh…and it’s how that abomination fitted in the RenaultSport 200 Turbo should have been!