However, if you’re looking for a used hot hatch, which one should you pick? That’s where this article comes in – we’ll be checking out the cream of the crop from this very exciting segment.

The best hot hatches combine that everyday usability with exciting performance and, because of their popularity in this country, there are plenty to choose from. As with all cars, we’d be making sure to do thorough background checks on any car you’re checking out, while because of the extra performance that hot hatches offer we’d make sure that all servicing and repair work is up to date too.

The top 10 used hot hatchbacks

As we’ve touched upon, there are loads of hot hatches to choose from. That’s why we’ve done the tricky deciding and picked out ten of the very best hot-hatches that are worth of consideration. Let’s waste no time and check out these exciting performance cars.

1. Volkswagen Golf GTI - (2013-2020)

For most people, the term ‘hot-hatch’ goes hand in hand with the Volkswagen Golf GTI. It’s a car which firmly ticks that ‘everyday usability’ box, with its large boot and well-made interior ensuring that this is one car that you really can live with day in, day out.

We’re big fans of this seventh-generation GTI, too, as it brought great levels of standard equipment but remained fun to drive. Its 227bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine brought more than enough grunt to keep things interesting, while later on in the GTI’s life a series of special editions – including the finale TCR version – broadened the number of versions. However, you can’t go wrong with the ‘standard’ GTI of this generation – it’s a true all-rounder.

Best Features

  • Great all-rounder usability.
  • Has more than enough performance for most drivers.
  • Fares well in the reliability stakes.

Things to consider

  • GTIs hold their values well – expect to pay slightly more than rivals.
  • Other options offer a more engaging drive.
  • Can seem a little bland in ‘normal’ colours.

2. Ford Fiesta ST - (2013-2017)

Ford has a longstanding history of making memorable hot hatches. The Fiesta XR2, Escort XR3i and more modern Focus RS all stand as pillars in the Blue Oval’s back catalogue of excellent hot hatches, but it was the Fiesta ST where Ford really broke new ground and made a car which changed the motoring scene entirely.

It remained just as small and easy to park as the standard Fiesta, but the switch to ST brought a peppy 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine alongside some suspension tunes and tweaks which made this into one of the best-handling cars ever made. Find a twisty road when you’re behind the wheel of the ST and there’s no way you’ll be in a bad mood by the time you come to the end. It’s a top choice in this segment and represents excellent value for money too.

Best Features

  • Truly exciting performance and handling.
  • Small size means it feels very nimble on the road.
  • Interior is robust and hard-wearing.

Things to consider

  • Ride is quite firm at low speeds.
  • Can command high insurance premiums.
  • Compact size means it’s not great for families.

3. Suzuki Swift Sport - (2012-2016)

The Swift Sport may be less powerful than others on this list – this second-generation model’s 1.6-litre engine kicks out a modest 134bhp – but that doesn’t stop it from being a real hoot to drive. But in typical Suzuki fashion, everything on the Swift Sport is built to last and made to ensure that running it won’t break the bank as well.

But unlike some other hot hatches, the Swift Sport won’t guzzle fuel and that makes it even more suited for use as a daily driver. Couple in a decent boot and a roomy cabin and you’ve got a car that can be relied upon whenever the time comes. It’s available in a good range of colours, too, and comes equipped with loads of equipment as standard.

Best Features

  • Surprisingly efficient for this class of car.
  • Lots of equipment as standard.
  • Interior is built to last.

Things to consider

  • Not the most powerful hot hatch about.
  • Some interior plastics can feel a bit scratchy.
  • Quite boomy on the motorway.

4. Hyundai i30 N - (2018-2024)

Hyundai upset the apple cart when it introduced the i30 N. Here was a company better known for its efficient and value-orientated models making a car that could truly rival the Golf GTI in the handling stakes – and in many areas trumped its key German rival.

Key to this success was the ‘N’ performance arm which worked to completely tune the i30 N to both on-road and track performance driving, while ex-BMW M boss Albert Biermann’s expert knowledge ensured that this hot-hatch handled like few others. Today, it remains one of the sharpest of its type, yet because of its Hyundai basis it’s still incredibly reliable and retains the manufacturer’s excellent five-year unlimited mileage warranty.

Best Features

  • Excellent handling makes the i30 N tremendous fun to drive.
  • Still very reliable and backed by long warranty.
  • Well sized and incorporates a large boot.

Things to consider

  • Doesn’t have the badge prestige of others here.
  • Some interior plastics feel a bit low-rent.
  • Pop-and-bang exhaust can be a bit wearing after a while.

5. Honda Civic Type R - (2017-2022)

Honda is yet another brand with loads of heritage in the hot hatch segment and its Civic Type R is probably one of the best-known models of its class. This generation of Type R, with its wild looks and larger-than-life rear wing, might look a bit intimidating, but it’s actually a breeze to drive and flatters whoever’s behind the wheel with its superb balance and responsiveness.

But it’s still brilliantly practical to live with thanks to its large boot and spacious interior. Though the tech inside the Type R might be showing its age, it’s still more than usable. Plus, if you can look past the slightly low-res infotainment you’ll be getting one of the best handling hot-hatches about and one which is also great to take on track, should you want to.

Best Features

  • Excellent to drive with loads of grip and balance.
  • 2.0-litre petrol has an impressive 316bhp to offer.
  • In typical Honda fashion, the Type R is a reliable option.

Things to consider

  • Design may not be for everyone.
  • Infotainment is quite bad.
  • Ride is very firm at low speeds.

6. Audi S3 Sportback - (2013-2020)

Audi’s S3 Sportback is the kind of hot hatch which doesn’t shout too loudly about its performance. Sure, it’s got quad exhausts at the back but save for that feature, this is one understated hot hatch – but that’s part of the appeal of Audi’s ‘S’ performance cars.

It’s a beautifully finished car, mind you, with loads of high end materials put together in a truly rock-solid fashion. On longer journeys the S3 bowls along quietly and without issue, yet with its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine pushing out 296bhp – or 306bhp in later models – it’s very fast too. Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system also makes the S3 into a great all-weather warrior, with top levels of traction being delivered even in the slippiest of conditions.

Best Features

  • Excellent build quality and features.
  • Feels refined and composed at speed.
  • Quattro system coupled with the 2.0-litre engine makes this a very speedy choice.

Things to consider

  • Interior space can feel quite tight.
  • Strong residuals make this a more expensive used purchase.
  • Expect higher servicing and maintenance bills.

7. Abarth 595 - (2009-present)

The Abarth name stretches back decades to a time when the original – and tiny – Fiat 500 was transformed into a go-faster model. The modern interpretation of the Abarth followed a similar recipe, taking the standard Fiat 500 and giving a real kick of character through an uprated engine and one of the noisiest exhaust systems in the business.

While we’re not fans of the 595’s high seating position – it makes you feel a bit like you’re driving a van – you can’t help but smile when you first start up the 1.4-litre engine. Early models came with 133bhp, but opt for later versions and you could see as much as 178bhp being produced from this turbocharged unit. The 595’s relatively square design – and compact proportions – make it a breeze to whistle down UK country lanes, too.

Best Features

  • Exhaust gives the 595 bags of character.
  • Nippy handling makes the 595 really good fun to drive.
  • Really stylish and features plenty of customisability.

Things to consider

  • Really harsh ride at slower speeds.
  • Tiny inside – the 595 won’t be great for families or taller drivers.
  • Seating position is odd to get used to.

8. Toyota GR Yaris - (2020-present)

You may not think a car with ‘Yaris’ in the name would be that ‘hot, but you’d be wrong. The GR Yaris is one of the most comprehensively re-engineered hot hatches about, drawing real learnings from motorsport and transplanting them into a car which is similar to the ‘regular’ car in name alone. Everything else is changed, from the lightened and shortened body which was mean to be used on Toyota’s rally car, to the handbrake which disengages the rear wheels for proper drifts.

The 1.6-litre three-cylinder engine powering the GR Yaris is fizzy and has loads of performance to offer, but it’s the chassis – which helps the Yaris to track around corners effortlessly – which is this car’s standout feature.

Best Features

  • One of the sharpest handling cars in this segment.
  • Great reliability thanks to Toyota’s learnings.
  • Four-wheel-drive provides loads of traction.

Things to consider

  • Boot space really isn’t the best.
  • Interior plastics are a let down.
  • High demand means prices have remained strong.

9. BMW M140i - (2016-2019)

You might usually associate BMW with performance saloons and luxurious SUVs, but it’s a dab hand at making hot hatches, too. Nowhere is that more evident than with the M140i, which delivers the same refined experience that you get from other BMW models but in a nimble, compact and punchy package.

With 335bhp from its 3.0-litre straight-six engine the M140i is immensely powerful, yet with a rear-wheel-drive layout it loves corners just as much as the straights. However, when you simply want to get the miles covered, the M140i’s quiet cabin at speed ensures those longer journeys aren’t going to be too tasking either.

Best Features

  • Punchy engine delivers supercar-scaring performance.
  • Rear-wheel-drive setup ensures agility and a great sense of balance.
  • Interior is made to a high standard and still looks fresh today.

Things to consider

  • Values remain strong so expect to pay a premium over rivals.
  • Rear-seat legroom is tight.
  • Rear-wheel-drive means that the M140i won’t be much help in snow or ice.

10. Peugeot 208 GTI - (2013-2019)

Peugeot and hot hatches go together like steak and frites, and we’d argue that the 208 GTI was one of the firm’s most successful entries into this segment. Why? Well, its handling feels intent on making the most fun out of any road, with direct steering ensuring a good level of feedback between road and driver.

It’s still firm, however, and you’ll notice those lumps and bumps in the road when you’re travelling slowly. However, the upshot of this setup is that the 208 GTI feels remarkably composed through high-speed bends, while the 1.6-litre engine with 197bhp in earlier models felt eager and happy to rev out. But it’s the quick steering which is central to this GTI’s appeal; it truly makes this car feel alive.

Best Features

  • Handling makes this feel like a true ‘hot hatch’.
  • Engine is nicely powerful without feeling too intimidating.
  • Standard sport seats look good and have nice levels of support.

Things to consider

  • Ride can feel bouncy and unsettled at times.
  • Compact steering wheel takes some getting used to.
  • Infotainment isn’t the the most responsive by modern standards.

Why should you buy a hot hatchback?

Hot hatches are designed to offer all things to all people. Because they’re often based on ‘regular’ hatchbacks, they’re spacious and have well-sized boots so you can use them every day without finding them a pain.

Traditionally, smaller engines mean that hot hatches are cheaper to run than larger and more expensive performance cars yet can still deliver a very exciting driving experience.

You’ll also find that because hot hatches are so popular, there are plenty of examples to choose from which means you’ll be able to find one for your budget.

What to consider before buying a used hot hatchback?

There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t rush into hot hatch ownership. Remember, these are performance vehicles which, as well as a number of positives, bring several compromises.


Insurance is a big kicker for hot hatches. Since insurers are aware that hot hatches have more power than a ‘standard’ model – and are often driven in a more spirited manner – you’ll find that premiums will rise as a result. Make sure you do some quotes before purchasing any vehicle and read our complete guide to car insurance.

Running costs

While running costs for these vehicles shouldn’t be too sky-high, they’ll be noticeably more than on a regular model. Hot-hatches tend to wear through brakes, tyres and suspension components more frequently, too, so you’ll need to budget for this accordingly.

Ride quality

It might sound simple, but a lot of these cars – as a result of their firmer suspension setup and larger alloy wheels – do struggle to deliver a comfortable ride. If you live in an area with particularly poor roads, or find a rough ride very uncomfortable, then you might want to consider an alternative to a hot hatch.