Welcome to the Auto Express countdown of the
best Hot Hatches. These cars have to be fast and fun but also practical and useable. And
here’s our round up of the best top 10. At number 10 is the Kia ProCee’d GT. The
Korean firm is a latecomer to this class class but this keenly priced hot hatch is well worth
a look if you’re after something a bit different. It’s not the fastest though and won’t
be sharp enough for track day fans. In 9th place is the Peugeot 208 GTI. After ages in
the wilderness this is a return to hot hatch form for Peugeot. The 208 GTI has strong performance
and fine handling yet comfy enough to use for commuting. Trouble is the steering wheel
obscures the speedo – not great in a performance car. At number 8 is the MINI Cooper S. Now
with a 2.0-litre engine and 189 brake horse power the new MINI Cooper S may have grown
up a bit, but it’s still a fun little car with thanks to that wheel-at-each corner stance.
Shame the ride is still very bouncy. 7th is the Skoda Octavia VRS. It’s always been
the thinking man’s hot hatch, and once again the Octavia VRS is available with either a
2.0-litre turbo petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel, which, as you are being sensible buying
a Skoda, is the one to go for. But then being sensible isn’t always fun. In 6th place
is the Renaultsport Megane 275. This is one of the very finest driver’s on sale today.
On a race track or the right road the way it handles and accelerates will have you grinning
from ear-to-ear. At all other times, though, the harsh ride will drive you mad. 5th is
the BMW M135i. A six-cylinder turbo with 316bhp, rear wheel drive and the option of one of
the best automatic gearboxes in the business – the M135i a great drivers car that’s
practical too. However, its also one of the most expensive hot hatches on the market.
In 4th place is the Suzuki Swift Sport. This car proves that you don’t need to spend
big to have fun. It’s 1.6-litre may only have 134bhp but the lightweight responsive
chassis makes up for this. Shame it’s rather thirsty considering the modest power output.
At number 3 is the Volkswagen Golf GTI. It’s the car which created the Hot Hatch class
back in the 1970s and it’s still one of the standard setters today by mixing power,
handling, comfort, practicality and desirability in equal measure. Unfortunately, it’s now
rather expensive. Second place goes to the Ford Fiesta ST. When it comes to bang for
your buck, the sublime Fiesta ST is king. Not only is it more fun than its rivals it
actually undercuts them by some margin… what’s not to like… well perhaps the overly
firm ride. And that brings us on to number one and the Auto Express best Hot Hatch – the
SEAT Leon SC Cupra. Based on the same platform as the Golf GTI but with a lot more power
and a clever front differential as standard, the SEAT is sharper to drive and better value.
Oh, and it’s comfy and practical too. And that’s why it’s the Auto Express best
hot hatch. Click on the video windows to see our round up of the top 10 4x4s and our list
of the safest cars by category. Click on the play icon to watch our latest video and on
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