Best hot hatchbacks

Best hot hatchbacks 2013 top 10
18 Mar, 2015 2:30pm Sam Naylor

A great hot hatch is fast and fun, but also practical and useable - here are ten of the best

If you only have the space or the money for just one car, a hot hatchback is often the perfect choice. For those looking for driving thrills, going for a model that can be fun to drive but also carry the whole family on everyday trips is a brilliant idea.

It's often said that the first-gen Volkswagen Golf GTI was the first proper hot hatch, although if you ask a pedant they're likely to have another answer for you. The crucial thing to know is that the GTI name lives on in the current Golf range, and it's still one of the top hot hatches around.

BMW, Suzuki, SEAT and even Kia make it onto our list as well, with their own brilliant models in the hot hatch category. Each has its own niche within this sector, too: there's the BMW M135i at the top of the scale, with its upmarket image and extreme performance, and the Suzuki Swift Sport at the other end with its more traditional formula of a light weight and a peppy four-cylinder engine.

These models get more powerful engines, improves suspension and better brakes than the small hatchbacks they are based on, and that means they are brilliant fun to drive on the road - and on a track day, too. You could quite easily drive to the track with a boot full of gear, do a hot lap or two and then head on to a nearby campsite to end the day.

With these cars often being the top-spec models in their respective ranges, you get loads of standard equipment as well. Sat-nav, sports seats and larger alloy wheels are common extras you get as standard on hot hatchbacks.

Unfortunately, it's not all good news with these models. The stiffer suspension can sometimes result in a hard ride, and the powerful engines do have an impact on fuel economy. Still, if you can live with those issues you can't beat them as all-rounders.

Click on the links below, or use the navigation panel on the top left of this page, to see our list of the top 10 best hot hatchbacks...

1. SEAT Leon SC Cupra
2. Ford Fiesta ST
3. Volkswagen Golf GTI
4. Suzuki Swift Sport
5. BMW M135i
6. Renault Megane RS 275
7. Skoda Octavia vRS
8. MINI Cooper S
9. Peugeot 208 GTi
10. Kia Pro_cee’d GT

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No Astra VXR? What?

This car mag hates Vauxhall so much that it's starting to become ridiculous :D

The Focus is the most dynamic and attractive of all.

On the whole I pretty much agree with this Autoexpress line-up of the best hot hatches.
After all hot hatch is all about affordable fun but albeit Seat Leon is a good car yet its appearance with the diesel engine at #2 seems a bit sassy.
Suzuki is at best a warm hatch and the omissions of the A45 AMG and Astra VXR may upset a few.

Abarth 500 595? Not the obvious choice, but a real pocket rocket.

Skoda Fabia vRS
Bargain bucket performance!

Swift Sport? come on... Octavia not even a hatchback... Clio RS? RS3? A1 AMG? CZT? Polo GTi? Astra VXR? is it a joke?

propaganda for ever....

The Focus is the best here... by miles!!

It is a hatchback...

How is the Astra VXR not on this list?! Its a stonking car that wipes the floor with 90% of the cars on that list.

Also Leon FR diesel...? Sorry but hatches cannot be hot with a dirty diesel under the bonnet.

I thought the Talbot Sunbeam was the first hot hatch?

Vauxhall isn't a class leader... Its even been proven that its slower to 60 than the Focus.

Is it necessary to be faster to 60 than the Focus to get on the list?

Don't like the Focus myself, it's too chav.

Focu´s far!

I'm sorry to correct you, but the Suzuki Swift Sport is a great little car.

Yes, the focus is better if you wear a Burberry cap, thick gold chaps and live in Essex. You may find that the rest of us disagree.

Regardless of how you want to percieve the image behind the Focus, it is a brilliant hot hatch. Arguably the best in class. It could be argued the Golf would be better if you wear a trilby and smoke a pipe though!

First hot hatch probably the Alfasud. Renault 5 and Golf came after. I think Suzuki is a "warm hatch" (even check wikipedia and they agree!).

These are not the best 10 available today, but all offer something good in their niche.

Top 10 trend setters would be good.... e.g. Skoda Fabia VRs.... first diesel only hot hatch??

A45AMG should be here too. Mainly as the most powerful hot hatch ever??

"Swift Sport remains the best ‘warm’ hatchback on sale." - Autoexpress...... say no more

From that list, probably Cooper S - a car you can actually use 100% of it's power easily without breaking the law. Torquey turbo and flat cornering great. But torque steer could make it a potential handful on twisty roads.

This crowd have been driving Audi A3s and the BMW 1 Series for years.

Is there a hot hatch that isn't chav?

Simca 1100ti from 1973/4? No slouch for a small-mid size car from 40 years ago and worthy of the hot hatch label by the standards of the time.

It's funny how some people ruin cars for others. I like the 1 Series, but couldn't drive one because of the idiots who give it a bad image, same with the A3.

The association with Gordon Brown has ruined Volvo for me.

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