The hot hatch IS the perfect all round car. Let me explain why.
Hatchbacks are unanimously loved, small, maneuverable, with space…near enough…for four people. You can opt for either a small hatchback – B Segment, or a larger, small hatchback – C segment.
B segments are made up of your Corsa, Fiesta, Polo types. Whilst C segment cars consist of the Megane, Golf, 308, Civic.
Hot hatches are available in both segments – the latter being extremely powerful with the likes of the Mercedes A Class A45 AMG pushing over 350 BHP.
If you’re a youngster you are more likely to opt for the B Segment. The Fiesta ST being class winner for a long time, until the refreshed Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport took the crown – according to EVO.
But if you’re a family man you don’t have to miss out, the rabid Golf R is available in 5 door and even in a wagon variant, it’s capable of 0-60 in 4.7 seconds! That’s as quick as a Bentley Conti GT, a Rolls Royce Ghost and a Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta. But more on performance later.
Hatchbacks are generally pretty cheap. £9,595 will get you a brand new 3 door Vauxhall Corsa…but performance does come at a cost. The fire breathing 202 BHP VXR variant will cost you £18,480. That’s still a pretty good price though, when you think the latest version shifts from a standstill to 60 in 6.5 seconds. In 1990 a 4.9 litre V8 DeTomaso Pantera got to 60 in the same time.
The majority of buyers will probably opt to lease their new rapid hatchback. Personal contract hire lease cars don’t have to be your boring, bog standard box on wheels you know.
Over the last few years there have been some stunningly good deals on the Volkswagen Golf R – hence why you see so many of them around. At £31,685 they aren’t cheap to self-finance, add on a few choice options and you can be looking at nearer £40k.
On the larger side a MEGANE Renault Sport 275 Cup-S (bit of a mouthful), costs £24,480. Only available in a 3 door it isn’t the most practical, but if you want extra space coupled with possibly THE sweetest chassis set up of the lot, then the Meg is your best bet. It doesn’t even feel front wheel drive, it’s insane.
Have more cash to burn? £31,000 will park the newest kid on your driveway. The Ford Focus RS. As practical as the Golf R, it’s only available in 5 door form, but has a beefy 2.3 litre turbo charged engine and a 4.5 second 0-60 time making it a cheaper rival to the Mercedes A45 (0-60 in 4.2s) and the Audi RS3 (0-60 in 4.2s).
As touched upon in the last two sections, the performance of modern day hot hatches is crazy.
In 2001 the Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0 litre was performing 0-60 in 4.3 seconds. Now that sort of acceleration and performance is attainable in a 4 door, 5 seat family car.
The amount of BHP that can now be squeezed out of a single cylinder is quite incredible. Back in 2013 when the A45 AMG came out, Merc claimed it had the highest power density out of any production car – 178BHP per litre. The McLaren 675LT only makes 175.3 BHP per litre.
On the BHP per ton stakes the Honda Civic Type-R weighs in at 221.4 BHP, that’s more than a 2011 Porsche Panamera GTS!
Hot hatches these days are more hyper hatches when compared to the heyday of the early 90’s.
The game has definitely ratcheted up a few notches. But they are still superb all-rounders, capable of lugging loads to the tip, driving the kids to school, or tearing it away from a start line at Silverstone. They are the ultimate jack of all trades.
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter