The UK’s Best Hot Hatches
Cars don’t have to be high-end sporty saloons to be fast and exciting. Hot hatches are speedy and fun to drive while still being suitable for everyday use. Many are as at home on the racetrack as in town or on your favourite local B-road. This article showcases ten of the hottest hatches on offer in the UK – read on to find the one for you.
1. Mini Cooper S
With its instantly recognisable retro style, the Mini Cooper S was one of the first hot hatches on the road. The Cooper S is highly customisable, available with three or five doors, a convertible option, and in automatic or manual transmission. There’s also the option for dozens of interior and exterior features, so it’s likely no two are the same. While the engine isn’t quite as fun or fine-tuned as some other hot hatches, it’s an iconic vehicle that’s good for everyday driving and agile enough to be fun on the road.
2. Ford Fiesta ST
Quick off the blocks and incredibly fun to drive, the Ford Fiesta ST is surprisingly efficient for such a hot hatch, though older models are less so. Its engine is only a 1.5-litre, yet it puts down more power than several other cars on this list with bigger engines. The interior is functional but dull, and the backseats are proportioned for kids – newer models have active safety features to make it even more kid-friendly. So, you can take it on the school run or head out for some serious fun.
3. Hyundai i30
Nimble in traffic and available as a manual or an automatic with petrol or diesel, the Hyundai i30 is a hatch that’s both hot and family friendly. The standard spec includes a bunch of entertainment kit, though the car’s automatic safety and driving features can take some getting used to. It has a top safety rating and a big boot, but might miss the mark a little if top speed and a sporty feel are your priorities. That said, the i30 isn’t slow by any means, and the i30N comes with a bigger engine and more agility.
4. Renault Megane RS
The Renault Megane RS is one of the cheaper hot hatches out there, though it’s got plenty of agility and decent acceleration. With a big boot and five doors and seats, it’s also a good option for an everyday car. It’s available in some bold colour options (think traffic-cone orange), but has a fairly conventional shape, meaning it’s not too outlandish looking. The Megane RS comes in a few different trims, and fancier ones are generally sportier with a firmer ride. Older versions tend to be more fun, as the latest revamp is just a bit less hot.
5. Honda Civic Type R
With its sharp, angular exterior, the Honda Civic Type R looks the part of a hot hatch. It plays the part too, with great cornering and a satisfyingly sporty driving feel. The 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is powerful enough for the racetrack, and the seats are comfortable and offer an optimal driving position. You’ll be pleased to hear the Honda Civic Type R is spacious in the back with plenty of boot space. It’s also efficient given the engine size, though it’s one of the louder cars on this list, especially at high speeds.
6. Suzuki Swift Sport
Offering good value for money and decent amounts of fun, the Suzuki Swift Sport is a middle-of-the-road hot hatch. Though it won’t beat the frontrunners on this list in a race, it does have good acceleration and cornering. Newer versions are available as a self-charging hybrid, but it’s worth noting that all the engine options offer distinctly average power for a hot hatch. Well-balanced with features and tech, the Swift Sport is great in town and is comfortable and quiet to ride in, as well as having excellent built-in safety.
7. Vauxhall Adam S
With 50% more power than its standard-spec siblings, the Vauxhall Adam S looks punchy and corners well. It handles better than the other Adams in the range, though it doesn’t stand up to some of the other hot hatches on this list. The Adam S’s 1.4-litre petrol engine is efficient, though not super speedy, and its gearbox is nice and slick. Its engine doesn’t quite have that hot hatch roar, and its price is hotter than its performance, but it’s certainly the sportiest of the Adam range.
8. Mercedes-Benz AMG A35
The Mercedes-Benz AMG A35 drives like a proper high-end hot hatch – it’s sharp and adept, with excellent dynamics. Drivers can switch between front and all-wheel-drive, and there are lots of optional driver-assist systems. It can feel a little fidgety for stop-start town driving, mind. With five doors and seats, even the base spec cabin is luxurious, although all the add-ons can add up to increase an already premium base price. The Mercedes-Benz AMG A35 underwent a bit of an overhaul in 2019, so bear this in mind when looking at used models.
9. Ford Focus ST
Though it’s on the larger side for a hot hatch, the Ford Focus ST handles well and is fun to drive. It undercuts some of its closest rivals on price and it’s cheaper to insure too, but that can get outweighed a little by its average efficiency. The Focus ST is great on the motorway and good on the open road, and it does a reasonable job in town – just be aware that its larger size makes it less agile on city streets than many on this list. It has lots of passenger space though, and fares well as an everyday car that’s both practical and sporty.
10. Volkswagen Golf R
Though its styling is more mature, the Volkswagen Golf R is the fastest Golf on the road. It handles beautifully and accelerates even faster than the Honda Civic Type R, even if it is less suited to winding roads. There’s a Performance Pack option for racing, which is a nice touch, but the brakes are only just up to the job for top speeds. The Golf R is all-wheel-drive with electronic stability control that can be fully deactivated. While access to the back is a bit cramped in the three-door version, this is still a practical everyday vehicle that’s worth a look.
While some are practically on fire and others might just be hot to the touch, there’s a great selection of hot hatches out there to suit different needs and preferences. To find out more about any of the cars in this article and other similar models, search our range of used cars today.