There’s by no means been a greater time to purchase a scorching hatchback. Whether or not you’re after a four-wheel-drive hatchback with sufficient energy to disgrace a sports activities automobile, or a terrier-like fun-size GTI, there’s a scorching hatch for everybody.
Some scorching hatchbacks supply a degree of consolation to easy away the ache of a every day commute. Others have the tempo to maintain a supercar on its toes. All will put a smile in your face whenever you take to your favorite B-road.
We’ve pulled collectively a listing of the most effective scorching hatchbacks to purchase in 2021, with our selections offered in alphabetical order.
High 10 greatest scorching hatchbacks
Audi RS3 Sportback
Sizzling hatch purists may take umbrage at the truth that the Audi RS3 Sportback has 5 doorways and four-wheel drive. To them, a scorching hatchback must have three doorways and be pushed by the entrance wheels. This Audi laughs within the face of such nonsense.
Its 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine develops 400hp and produces a sonorous soundtrack that’s virtually unrivalled at this finish of the market. It doesn’t come low-cost, though £50,000 is probably the most inexpensive manner into the world of RS possession. It additionally options the very newest Audi security and connectivity know-how.
The Audi RS3 Sportback will dash to 62mph in a whisker over 4 seconds, making it sooner than a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. That stated, the GT4 will hit a high pace of 189mph, whereas the RS3 is proscribed to 155mph, or 174mph with the limiter eliminated. Different scorching hatches are extra agile, however few are faster in a straight line.
Wait, what? A front-wheel-drive BMW scorching hatchback? The 128ti is a lighter and extra inexpensive different to the four-wheel-drive BMW M135i, designed to take the struggle to the all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI. It may very well be the right riposte to complaints that BMW has bought its heritage down the river.
The ‘ti’ badge harks again to BMW fashions of outdated, whereas the two.0-litre turbocharged engine is borrowed from the hardcore Mini John Cooper Works. It produces 265hp, which is sufficient to propel the 128ti to 62mph in 6.1 seconds. That’s 1.3 seconds slower than the all-weather M135i, however solely fractionally off the tempo of a Golf GTI.
A limited-slip differential and grippy Michelin Pilot Sport tyres come as commonplace, together with sports activities seats and a bunch of beauty upgrades. The 128ti can also be 80kg lighter than the M135i, so it ought to really feel extra agile whereas providing decrease working prices.
Learn our BMW 1 Sequence evaluate
Ford Fiesta ST
The Ford Fiesta ST is proof that you simply don’t want monstrous horsepower and a large price ticket for driving enjoyable. Probably the most inexpensive Fiesta ST prices £23,500, whereas even the hardcore ST Version is available in at lower than £29,000. The latter (pictured) options adjustable coilover suspension, lighter 18-inch alloy wheels, a Quaife limited-slip differential and launch management.
All variations are powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine mated to one of many slickest gearboxes you’ll discover in a automobile at any value. Nearly all the pieces has been honed to perfection, together with the clutch pedal really feel and the taut firmness of the dampers. Crucially, it’s extra snug than the outdated Fiesta ST.
We stated: “You’ll be able to maybe by now inform we predict the Fiesta ST is a category act. It sounds a bit like a Porsche 911 and drives much more like one, exuding immense depth and connoisseur’s breeding. The sooner you drive, and the higher you drive, the extra it provides again – whereas doing all of the common Ford Fiesta stuff like being compact on the town, straightforward to deal with and cozy to make use of each day.”
Learn our Ford Fiesta ST evaluate
Honda Civic Sort R
Honda up to date the Civic Sort R on the finish of 2020. It stays probably the most bonkers scorching hatchback you should purchase. Extroverts will select the GT model, though the extra sombre styling of the brand new Sport Line mannequin will enchantment to some. Gone is the massive rear wing, whereas the alloy wheels are contracted to 19 inches.
Energy is sourced from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine able to producing 320hp. High pace is 169mph, with the dash time accomplished in 5.8 seconds. It is likely to be a really conventional scorching hatch, however the Civic Sort R is probably the most fashionable of the breed. It’s a marvel of know-how and engineering.
We stated: “The Sort R is a formidable automobile, no query. Honda has filed off the tough edges with out compromising dealing with or efficiency – fairly the alternative, in reality. For those who’re available in the market for a 300bhp+ scorching hatch, it ought to definitely be in your shortlist. But it surely isn’t the automobile we’d select. So it’s a stable 4 stars for the Civic. Shut, however no cigar.”
Learn our Honda Civic Sort R evaluate
Hyundai i30 N
Smart may be thrilling. The Hyundai i30 N comes with a five-year guarantee, which makes it the new hatchback you should purchase along with your head and your coronary heart. Its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 275hp, which is sufficient to propel the i30 N to 62mph in 6.1 seconds. High pace is proscribed to 155mph.
Hyundai’s N division is led by former BMW M division chief Albert Biermann. It reveals, as a result of the i30 N is a severe rival to the Golf GTI, with a selection of driving fashions and a pleasant soundtrack. It may be just a little anti-social at occasions, however issues may be toned down utilizing the 1,944 (sure, actually) totally different powertrain and chassis settings.
We stated: “The twists and turns of Zig-Zag Hill should have sounded raucous to anybody inside a three-mile radius of the i30 N. You’re compelled into first gear to make a swift exit from the tightest bends, however the payback is a sound akin to fast gunfire, because the exhaust emits a mess of pops on the over-run. The noise reverberates off the timber because the Hyundai makes its manner out of the gloom, blinking because it breaks into the daylight on the high of the hill.”
Learn our Hyundai i30 N evaluate
Mercedes-AMG A45 S
If you end up enjoying Sizzling Hatchback High Trumps in 2021, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S is the cardboard to stay up your sleeve. 4-hundred-and-twenty-one horsepower. For those who suppose that appears mad written down, you need to attempt being behind the wheel. Thankfully, 4Matic four-wheel drive retains this automotive missile on the straight and slender.
It’ll dash to 62mph in 3.9 seconds, which is nearly as loopy as having 421hp at your disposal in a five-door household hatchback. This makes it probably the most highly effective 2.0-litre engine… on the planet. Crucially, it’s extra thrilling to drive than the Audi RS3, whereas a bunch of AMG options make it straightforward to dwell with.
The AMG A forty five S prices £52,000, which is a large amount of money for a scorching hatchback, even one with such prodigious expertise. You would save greater than £10,000 by choosing the much less hardcore Mercedes-AMG A 35 4 Matic.
Learn our Mercedes-Benz A-Class evaluate
Mini Cooper S
Whisper this, since you don’t must splash out on the Cooper S to have a great time in a Mini. Even the essential Mini Hatch is a riot to drive, so you might discover that a number of properly chosen extras are all you want for a Mini journey.
You is likely to be tempted to go for the flagship John Cooper Works mannequin, however probably the most excessive Mini is just a little too unhinged for every day use. The Mini Cooper S sources its energy from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, finishing the 0-62mph dash in round seven seconds. The central exhaust pipes produce a naughty soundtrack to go along with the terrific tempo.
The Mini vary has been up to date for 2021. Highlights embrace a brand new look impressed by the Mini Electrical, new paint colors, elective matrix LED headlights, new alloy wheels, an 8.8-inch touchscreen and a standard-fit digital instrument panel.
Learn our Mini hatchback evaluate
Renault Megane RS
The Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy shares its 300hp 1.8-litre and six-speed guide gearbox with the Nurburgring-taming Megane Trophy-R. Put apart any ideas of tackling the well-known observe in 7min 40.1sec, although, as a result of the RS 300 Trophy is 113kg heavier and comes with significantly much less carbon fibre. At £33,000, it’s additionally considerably cheaper.
It’s a formidable package deal. Ceramic turbo bearings, grooved brake discs, an on-board telemetry system, four-wheel steering and an elective (stiffer) Cup chassis. Adjustable Recaro bucket seats are a must have improve, even at £1,500. This Megane sees a return to type for Renault Sport. Fewer scorching hatchbacks are as sharp; this factor can change course like a bluebottle.
We stated: “The Megane Trophy stays true to its Renault Sport roots by being probably the most intense, involving automobile in its class. Does that make it greatest? Properly, if you happen to’ll permit me to clamber onto the fence… not essentially. The brand new Ford Focus ST is a greater all-rounder and the Civic Sort R is extra intuitive – if much less thrilling – to drive. It’s not all about lap occasions, in any case.”
Learn our Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy evaluate
Toyota Yaris GR
Until you’ve been residing in a cave for the previous 12 months – insert one thing about being caught in lockdown – you’ll know that the Toyota Yaris GR is the new hatchback of the second. A efficiency hatch so thrilling, it’s being spoken about alongside among the most formidable homologation specials of the previous 4 a long time.
It isn’t actually a Yaris in any respect. The GR Yaris shares little in widespread along with your auntie’s commonplace Toyota supermini. Its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine produces 261hp, but regardless of the four-wheel-drive system, the GR Yaris weighs simply 18kg greater than the Ford Fiesta ST.
We stated: “Most individuals will spend their £33k or so on the Volkswagen. And that’s tremendous. It’s extra highly effective, extra sensible and simply as fast on a B-road. However arrive at a Automobiles and Espresso occasion in a Golf R and no one gives you a re-assessment. Flip up in a GR Yaris and also you’ll be hailed a hero. Auntie Joan wouldn’t perceive.”
Learn our Toyota GR Yaris evaluate
Volkswagen Golf GTI
The eight-generation Golf GTI has landed – and Volkswagen hasn’t tampered with a profitable components. Its 245hp 2.0-litre engine is carried over from the earlier GTI Efficiency (a 300hp Clubsport model arrives imminently), serving up 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds and 155mph.
The brand new GTI is a sharper driving device than earlier than, with extra direct steering and stiffer suspension. Nevertheless, this comes at some detriment to journey high quality and on a regular basis usability. We surprise if the forthcoming Mk8 Golf R can be a greater total package deal.
Nonetheless, the usual GTI deserves its place right here. We stated: ‘It feels faster than its predecessor on a B-road, with pointier turn-in, impartial steadiness and a taut, hunkered-down perspective. While you’re on it, the Golf is true there with you.’
Learn our Volkswagen Golf GTI evaluate
Volkswagen Up GTI
The venerable Golf GTI is one factor, however don’t dismiss its (very) little brother. It’s simply as a lot enjoyable, and may very well be yours for half the worth.
The Volkswagen Up GTI places us in thoughts of junior scorching hatchbacks of the previous – a sort of Citroen AX GT for a brand new era. Not shocking, when you think about this metropolis automobile is comparable in measurement to the unique Golf GTI. It prices simply £16,000, or £16,500 if you happen to fancy a pair of rear doorways, so it’s extremely inexpensive to finance on a PCP deal.
Crucially, the Up GTI will elevate a smile on any street and at any pace. You’ll have enjoyable squeezing the most effective out its 1.0-litre turbocharged engine with out concern of triggering pace cameras or attracting the gaze of the native constabulary.
Learn our Volkswagen Up evaluate
Basic Golf GTIs: driving Volkswagen’s scorching hatch icons
Renault Clio Williams quantity 0001: scorching hatch icon pushed
New Volkswagen Golf R – and its scorching hatch ancestors