We love hot hatchbacks here at GTB. There’s nothing quite like getting behind the wheel of a small, compact car and letting the engine loose. The best hatchbacks are nimble, responsive, and immense fun to drive! Because they’re small and lightweight, they grip the road and transfer the power perfectly. In the 1980s, a bright spark at Volkswagen decided to put a high performance engine in a small car. The Volkswagen Golf GTi was born and the motoring world was never the same again. The race for the fastest, most practical hatchback was on. What do the contenders look like today?
- Ford Fiesta ST
Volkswagen may have started it all with the Golf GTi, but it is Ford that has really conquered the market. Most critics agree that the latest Fiesta ST is the best hot hatchback ever built. It’s already being regarded as a future classic. On paper, there’s nothing especially outstanding here. The figures match most of its competitors. But, get behind the wheel and the driving experience is second-to-none. It’s fast and responsive when you unleash the controlled aggression from the engine. This one will go down in history.
- Honda Civic Type R
For a long time, Volkswagen and Ford battled over the crown in this category. Only one car can claim to have bothered the top spot and that’s the Honda Civic Type R. It became a firm favourite among petrol heads thanks to its fierce styling and powerful engine. It went out of production for a few years, but 2015 saw its welcome return to the market. You can browse the range of Civics at www.harratts.co.uk and find your ideal specification. It remains the only real competitor and it continues to keep Ford and VW on their toes.
- Volkswagen Golf GTi
The Golf is the granddaddy here and its legacy is already secured. The iconic tartan interior and golf ball gear stick still sends shivers down the spines of car lovers everywhere. It was the first affordable small car with a belly-full of power. It comes with a ton of gadgets and technology too. The latest model is more expensive than its main rival at Ford, and we think it falls short in performance. But, don’t bet against them pulling out all the stops for the next generation.
- Seat Leon Cupra
The Seat Leon is the plucky outsider in the hot hatchback debate. Seat have recently transformed their range to produce a wildly exciting lineup of cars. The Leon and Ibiza models stand up against their more expensive counterparts with excellent credentials. Seat have also managed to capture and distil the essence of driving here. Sitting behind the wheel of the new Leon Cupra gives you an astonishing feeling of power and restraint. It’s quite something.
The hot hatchback market is one of the most fiercely contended in motoring. As a result, the bar is set higher and higher. Luckily, Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and Seat are up to the challenge. Which of the models would you choose?