2012 What Car? Hot Hatch Awards

Last night was the 2012 What Car? awards and, while most of the categories won’t trigger much interest for Driving Spirit readers, there are three categories for hot hatchbacks.

The first is the award for Best Hot Hatch under £15,000. There aren’t too many hot hatches that fall into that price bracket these days but the new kid on the block has stepped in and snatched the award from the current holder, the Renaultsport Twingo 133. The Suzuki Swift Sport won thanks to its combination of driving thrills, low price and cheap running costs.

The all new Suzuki Swift Sport is a brilliant junior hot hatch which is at home on all kinds of roads thanks to its strong grip, tight body control and accurate steering. Priced at £13,499 and equipped with luxury specification it’s a great hot hatch that is perfect for young drivers.

Suzuki Swift Sport

The second category is for those hot hatches that fall between £15,000 and £20,000. There is a lot more competition in this bracket and a lot of very good contenders including the Fabia vRS, Ibiza Cupra, Polo GTI, Abarth Punto and Clio 200. Last year this award was won by the Renaultsport Clio 200 but this year it went to … the Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup. Again.

The Clio Cup has a level of dynamic finesse that makes it a serious performance weapon and will thrill you like few other hot hatches can.

Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup

 

The final award is for the Best Hot Hatch. For this award money is no object and you’re potentially looking at anything from a £13k Suzuki Swift Sport up to a £40k Audi RS3. The previous winner was the Renaultsport Megane 250 and this year is no different, with the Megane 250 scooping the award for the third year in a row.

The Mégane Renaultsport 250 Cup is the perfect hot hatch. Most importantly, it’s engaging and huge fun on an empty country road, but it’s also practical enough for everyday use. It’s a comfortable winner of our Hot Hatch of the Year award.

Renaultsport Megane 250

 

With an improved Megane 265 heading into showrooms for 2012, is there any hope for the competition at the 2013 awards? Maybe the upcoming Ford Focus ST and Vauxhall Astra VXR can teach it a thing or two but I won’t be holding my breath. Either way, this represents a brilliant achievement from Renault who continue to make some amazing hot hatchbacks.

Car Of The Year

There was another award that might be of interest to fans of cheap and fun cars. The Volkswagen Up! won two awards, one for Best City Car but also the big one, the What Car? Car Of The Year 2012.

Volkswagen up!

Why would you be interested in a small city car? Because if the rumours are true there is a 98bhp GT version in the works and that promises to be a very interesting drive. Small, light and with just enough power to be entertaining. I’m really looking forward to hearing more about the up! GT.


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Author: Chris Auty

Voted the Breakthrough Blogger of 2013 by SEAT and the Guild of Motoring Writers , Chris has lived and breathed cars since he was old enough to say 'faster'. With a penchant for hot hatches and an allergy to public transport, he would much prefer to drive a bad car than never drive at all. Fortunately his family has learned to put up with this obsession and the internet has provided a channel for his ramblings.

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