A hot hatch should be hot, fun and enjoyable to drive, but you don’t have to blow a Years salary on something to have fun! Hot hatches have been around for decades and they keep bringing out more and more, slowly moving to the super hatches like Mercedes A45. So what are the Best Cheap Hot Hatches?
To define cheap we put this list together for the average man, someone that brings home a decent wage, a few thousand to spend, but nothing over £10,000, something in the £200 a month bracket. These cars are all around the 200 bhp mark and offer a tonne of fun.
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Probably the least popular on the list with people normally avoiding the likes of Peugeot and French cars, but let’s face it, Peugeot have done some fantastic hot hatches, all stemming from the 1980’s with their 205 GTI.
The 208 comes as a 3 door model with a 1.6 turbo engine, pumping out 205bhp and 300nm of torque to the front wheels, which is extremely punchy and loves to rev through the range. The Peugeot has been known to be able to be tuned to great power and with a lightweight body, the power to weight can out power a lot of other fast cars.
If you’re after a bit of economy, you can be assured to return a half decent mpg if driven steady, but lead foot it and you will see your fuel bill rise. With its 50 litre tank, if driven steady, you might get around 550 miles to a tank. Which is actually a really great number for a car that will get you to 60 in 6.8 seconds.
As these were probably one of the most expensive on the list from new, depreciation really is your friend. The Peugeot was around £21,000 from new, but as a used car you can expect to pay around £7,000, dropping 2/3 of the list price! Real affordable fun, if you’re not afraid of a Peugeot badge, I know we aren’t!
Overall the Peugeot is a fun quirky car with plenty of go and affordable even for the daily commuters.
Over the years the Vauxhall’s reputation has been the bad boy racer, kids in souped up Corsa’s. Don’t know why, it’s just how it was perceived. Nowadays the VXR is the perfect little project that can be tuned to immense power.
The VXR comes with yet again a 1.6 turbocharged engine, not quite as powerful from stock as a 208 GTI, but still with 192bhp and weighing so little, the car is an absolute fun machine. The throttle response is snappy, the steering is responsive and loves the corners, it really is a car to be thrown around.
Driving a Corsa VXR steady is hard enough, as those raspy exhaust notes are just tantalizing and make you want to floor it everywhere, but if you step off the gas, take it down a notch, you can expect to get around 38mpg.
These were around £18,000 for a brand new one a few years ago, but nowadays they have plummeted in price, meaning you can get one for around £5,000. Be sure to buy one that has been forged or well looked after as these have serious issues if not properly taken care of.
The iconic VW Golf, everyone loves them, they seem to have a huge following. You can see why, as they look the part, they feel well-built and sturdy and have a great sporty look. The GTI isn’t their top of the top though they have the R, which is considerably faster. The R is still quite an expensive bit of kit, but it does have 270bhp.
Both the GTI and the R have the 2.0 Tsi engines, which are also used in the S3 and the Seat Leon’s. a sturdy engine, with plenty of punch but slightly heavier than its competitors, meaning even though it’s pulling 207bhp it’ll take you 6.9 seconds to get to 60.
The Golf is one of those cars that just has it all, power, fun, noise and handling. It has beautifully weighted steering, it hugs the corners and feels the need to go, it’s sport mode makes everything feel tight and nimble, while the comfort modes allow for a smooth ride.
Mpg in a Golf is slightly lower as it is a 2.0 instead of the 1.6 in the previous mentioned cars, but you can still expect to return around about 30mpg maybe a little more if you take it super steady, but who’s going to do that?
The great point about the Golf is it came in 3 and 5 door, manual and automatic, loads of different variants, specs and optionals. Not only that but these were around £25,000 from new and now you can pick one up for around £6,000!! Making this a great buy, plenty of fun and love for miles to come.
You might be wondering why a Clio trumped the Golf, until you drive one, it’s hard to explain. They are go to track cars, with excellently raspy 2.0 litre n/a engines that just love revs and being taken to the limit. The previous 172 and 182 were so popular for track use, it seemed fitting to add this to the list.
The Clio RS both the 197 and 200 in the mk3 use a 2.0 n/a engine, the only car in this list without a turbo and still has bags of power to keep up with the rest of them, pulling a 0-60 in 6.9, the same time as the Golf GTI, so you can imagine what these are like with a turbo / supercharger.
What really helps the Clio to stand out from the crowd is the sweeping arches, the rear diffuser, vents on the wings, the bucket seats and the chassis. The biggest point is the chassis, it’s a mark of pure automotive genius and makes the car handle like a dream. Imagine a go-kart on crack.
Although the car is nippy, with an amazing exhaust note that rumbles in your ear, the car grips like a champ, the mpg isn’t the greatest. Probably the worst out of the lot. Expect to be getting 30 at best. It’s a fun car and it’s really more about smiles per gallon.
Although this was one of the cheapest from new, costing around £17,000 for a basic RS, depreciation didn’t have to hit too hard, meaning these haven’t dropped as much as far as figures. You can now pick a decent one up for around £5,000, although there are cheaper.
The mk7 Fiesta is becoming a serious favourite among young drivers, making its way to YouTube fame with a lot of different Youtubers. The fiesta has come a long way from the old XR2’s and RS’s. They’re following and fan base is bigger than ever and we love them.
The Fiesta ST features a 1.6 ecoboost engine with 180bhp and a 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. These little engines are known to produce a lot more power with the help of a bit of remapping and upgraded parts. Even pumaspeed have pushed these cars to the edge, getting out numbers into the 400bhp.
But it’s not all about power, the fiesta is a well-rounded car with great handling, gripping to every turn, laying down the power and keeping up with the big boys. Their chassis are well-built and give a good firm feel when cornering but can feel stiff at low speeds.
The age of the smaller engine plus turbo has brought us a lot of power and economy and the Fiesta ST is no different. The kind of mpg you get out of one of these will rival some of the diesel cars, as it is lightweight with a little punchy engine. You can expect to get around mid 40’s if you ease off on the pedal, ride it hard and that could drop below 30.
From new these were around £18,000 for a middle range car, nowadays you can pick one up in great condition for a little over £7,000. If you want to get one that’s had a bit of work already done, like a stage 2 running closer to 300bhp, expect it to be around £10,000. Still, very affordable fun!
Overall, all these cars are fantastic fun, fast, loud and some are quite economical. All have great tuning potential and offer you the chance to enjoy driving without having to spend an absolute fortune.
But for us the Fiesta ST is just the top of the top, it offers everything you want out of a hot hatch and is more fun than you think. That shouldn’t stop you from taking the time to consider the others and take test drives to see for yourself why these cars made the list.
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Safe driving guys
Founder of Boost And Camber