For years hot hatches have delivered a brilliant mix of affordability, fun and practicality, and though hatchbacks might not be as popular as they once were, this segment remains as brilliant as ever.
There is no end of superb options in this class, and picking the right car for you to spice up those day-to-day journeys remains a difficult choice.
So to help we’ve rounded up 10 great hot hatches in 2021.
BMW 128ti – from £35,120
BMW’s decision to move the 1 Series away from the traditional rear-wheel-drive setup was always going to be a controversial one, but with the all-wheel-drive M135i xDrive, there was at least an alternative for performance car fans.
However, BMW has now introduced a purer front-wheel-drive option in the form of the 128ti. It’s lighter, more affordable and arguably better to drive than its sibling, and is a fantastic hot hatch option.Enquire on a new BMW 128ti
Ford Fiesta ST – from £21,950
Ford has a superb reputation when it comes to hot hatches, and its current options in the form of the Fiesta ST and Focus ST show that it hasn’t lost its sparkle at all.
While both of these hatches are brilliant models, it’s the smaller Fiesta ST that’s our pick, being one of the funnest cars you can buy today, across any budget.Enquire on a new Ford Fiesta ST
Abarth 595 – from £17,560
Abarth’s range of hot hatches might not have the dynamic sparkle of some rivals on this list, but where fun is concerned they’re hard to beat.
With a peppy 1.4-litre petrol engine, they’re remarkably quick in a straight line, yet also nimble when things get twistier. A low starting price and impressive personalisation options also add to the appeal.Enquire on a new Abarth 595
Mini – from N/A
Mini's models are renowned for their ‘go-kart-like feel’, and really any version of its Hatch is a superb model to drive, but it’s the Cooper S or John Cooper Works that you want where hot hatches are concerned – particularly the latter which offers exhilarating performance for such a compact model.
While the Mini might not be the most spacious or cheapest of options, impressive build quality and a classy image easily help to justify the price.Enquire on a new Mini
Mercedes-AMG A45 S – from £51,595
It felt like Mercedes took things up another level with its latest A45, as it feels more like a mega hatch than it does a hot hatch. That’s because it packs a monstrous 415bhp from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, which allows for a 0-60mph time of under four seconds.
Granted, the A45 isn’t quite so good at the affordability part of things, but if you want the best of the best, it’s the hot hatch to go for.Enquire on a new Mercedes-AMG A45 S
Volkswagen Golf GTI – from £33,510
One of the most famous hot hatches ever created, the Golf GTI is now in its eighth generation and remains as sublime as ever when it comes to fun and usability.
This latest car, which has only recently arrived in showrooms, is actually sharper than ever, and elevated even further by a new Clubsport model. If you want to take things up another level, there is also the 316bhp four-wheel-drive Golf R, too.Enquire on a new Volkswagen Golf GTI
Skoda Octavia vRS – from £30,605
For several generations the Octavia vRS has proved that practicality and performance can be seamlessly wrapped into one package, and the latest model only builds on that here – being quicker and roomier than ever before.
There’s also an impressive amount of choice available on the latest car, as it’s available as a petrol, diesel and a new plug-in hybrid – the latter offering delightfully low running costs.Enquire on a new Skoda Octavia vRS
Toyota GR Yaris – from £29,995
Toyota might be better known for its sensible and efficient hybrid models these days, but there’s still a thrilling side to this Japanese manufacturer, as exposed with the firm’s astonishing GR Yaris.
Packing 257bhp (in a Yaris!), and being based on the firm’s rally car rather than the regular supermini, it’s an astonishing piece of engineering that’s proving hugely popular.Enquire on a new Toyota GR Yaris
Honda Civic Type R – from £34,320
The words ‘Type R’ mean a lot in the performance car world, and the brand’s hottest Civic is one of the best affordable performance cars you can buy today.
With a superb high-revving engine and fantastic balance between having great handling but not being too stiff, it’s a delightful hot hatch that’s only been improved further as part of a recent update. A big boot, plenty of safety technology and plenty of rear space also means it could double-up rather well as a family car.Enquire on a new Honda Civic Type R
Hyundai i30 N – from £29,810
Hyundai shocked the world in 2017 when it introduced its new i30 N hot hatch – the firm’s first true performance model that sent shockwaves through the hot hatch segment. Being pure, fun and good value, it’s proven quite a hit since its introduction.
Recent updates have seen buyers given the choice of an automatic gearbox, a revised look and more standard kit – including a larger touchscreen and LED headlights.Enquire on a new Hyundai i30 N