It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that the cost of a new car has risen quite noticeably in recent years.
So while not that long ago a £20,000 budget would have got you behind the wheel of a number of new hot hatches, it’s quite a lot more restrictive now.
However, there are still plenty of fun new cars available for this budget, and here’s what they are.
Abarth 595 – from £17,310
One of the few hot hatches that you can still get new for less than £20,000, the Abarth 595 is something you can drive every day with a grin on your face. While not pushing the boundaries for performance tech, this sporty Abarth proves that something light, front-wheel-drive and eager can still be a lot of fun behind the wheel.
While a £20,000 budget will limit you to the standard 595 version, it still features a peppy 143bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which can get you to 60mph in just 7.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 130mph. What’s more, you can choose the 595 as either the standard hatchback or a convertible for top-down thrills – the latter just sneaking under the £20,000 marker.Enquire on a new Abarth 595
Ford Fiesta ST-Line Edition – from £19,840
The Ford Fiesta has long been regarded as one of the best cars to drive in its class. And while it might be the ST hot hatch that’s really the model to aim towards, you’ll be surprised at just how enjoyable the still-sporty ST-Line is to drive.
While a £20,000 budget limits you to the standard 94bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, it’s surprising at just how competent this unit is, while ST-Line models come with a sportier suspension setup, which adds to the appeal. You also get plenty of standard kit for your money – including keyless start, cruise control and an eight-inch touchscreen.Enquire on a new Ford Fiesta
Mini Hatch – from £16,200
Mini prides itself on the ‘go kart-like feel’ of its cars, and whether you opt for the most affordable One model or the sportiest John Cooper Works version, you’ll certainly have a lot of fun in the driving seat of this hatchback.
Available as either a three- or five-door, and from as little as £16,000, we’d recommend upgrading to the ‘Cooper’ model, which features a punchier 134bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, allowing it to hit 60mph in 7.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 130mph. Cooper models are available from £17,640, leaving you a couple of thousand pounds to play with to tick a few option boxes.Enquire on a new Mini Hatch
Volkswagen Up! GTi – from £16,140
When it comes to Volkswagen’s sporty ‘GTI’ models, it’s typically the Golf that grabs the limelight. But in recent years, it’s the German firm’s baby hot hatch that’s proven to be the big hit – the Up!.
While not so much a hot hatch but a warm one instead, the Up! GTI uses a 113bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine that enables a 0-60mpg time of 8.6 seconds. While not the quickest car on this list, it’s incredibly charming to drive, and light and nimble, all while looking pretty cool at the same time. With prices starting from just £16,140, you could also tick every option box and still have a car costing less than £20,000.Enquire on a new Volkswagen Up! GTI
Fiat Panda 4x4 – from £15,805
A fun car can come in various forms, and it doesn’t just have to be something that’s light and nimble on the road – no, it can be something that’s a delight away from the tarmac as well.
And if you want a new off-roader within this budget, your options are really quite limited. However, Fiat offers its funky Panda to fill this niche, which is available in a CityCross mode, or more capable 4x4 Cross version. You might not expect this rugged city car to be all that good off the beaten track, but it can quite easily embarrass much more expensive models – again proving that lightness goes a long way.Enquire on a new Fiat Panda 4x4