Top 5 Hot Hatches 2011

In this guest post Joe picks his top 5 hot hatches of 2011.

In an automotive marketplace defined by austerity and caution, it speaks volumes about the passion and fanaticism of car owners that many are still flocking to buy the affordable but by no means cheap hot hatch. The popularity of this special sub-genre of car does not appear to be waning in an era when pennies are being pinched and purse strings tightened.

This is perhaps due to the blind enthusiasm of car enthusiasts who are happy to throw all their disposable income at their wheels, or perhaps it’s because these hot hatches really do make great economic sense. Ok, maybe that’s taking things a little too far, but hot hatches do represent great value, in that they offer to the practicality of a family car and the performance of vehicles up to three times as expensive.

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In no particular order, here are my top five hot hatches available in 2011:

1. Citroen DS3 Racing

Citroen are firmly back in the driving seat of the hot hatch market now the DS3 Racing is on the scene. The DS3 represents everything that is great about this sector, with it’s ostentatious colour scheme, lurid styling ‘get out my way demeanour’. The only issue with the DS3 is that it costs £24,000, which is still reasonable considering the performance (0-60 in 6.6 seconds, 147mph), it certainly weighs in at the upper echelons of the accepted pricing bracket for this class.

2. Vauxhall Corsa VXR Nurgburgring

The original iteration of the Corsa VXR was criticised for being too soft and forgiving, but the Nurburgring edition, available on the new face-lifted model has made most critics warm to the idea of owning a hot Vauxhall, featuring a 207bhp unit boosted by turbo power. Reports are that it’s no slouch around the twisty stuff either, it posted an impressive time of 8mins35s on the track it’s named after.

3. Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse

The Fiat 500 is proof that good things come in small packages, the little city with bags of heritage oozes class. The Abarth Esseesse version only exaggerates this feisty character with some subtle, and well, not so styling cues. While the little Fiat may not be able to match its rivals in terms of performance, it certainly makes up for that in unique, head turning quirkiness.

4. Clio 200 Cup

For many motoring journalists, the 200 Cup is the king of the current crop of hot hatches, and it’s easy to see why. The 200 is the definition of a driver’s car, with stiff springs and a quick steering rack which make this pocket rocket ultra responsive and a blast to drive; that’s without the revvy, screaming 2litre powerplant

5. Seat Ibiza Bocanegra

The Ibiza is perhaps the least celebrated of this crop, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. The Bocanegra generates it’s power in a innovative way, pairing a 1.4 engine with both a turbo charger and a supercharger. This gives the car plenty of torque; handy when drag racing up hills and also good for fuel economy. Unfortunately the Ibiza’s looks don’t live up to its performance, the plastic black panels slapped across the front of the car look a tad awkward.

If you are in the market for a hot hatch, you are spoilt for choice. Not only is the market diverse, there is also some quality engineering on offer, in the past primitive hot hatches like the Peugeot 205 GTi and Vauxhall Nova SRi would suffer frequent reliability issues. Today’s stable guarantees thrills but throws in comfort, practicality and styling, meaning hot hatches are the true all-rounders of the modern automotive market.

Joe is an automotive blogger who closely monitors the hot hatch market, he is eagerly waiting for news of the upcoming Ford Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTi.

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  1. A top 5 hot hatch list with no VW product in it? Surely not…

    Of the 5, I’d have the Clio…though the Abarth is tempting just for its looks!

  2. Just watched the Top Gear episode with the Abarth, Clio, and DS3 and I would definitely take the Abarth out of those three. Plus, as an American, that’s the only one I have a chance of buying anytime soon.

    I’m driving a VW GTI now, so I’m looking forward to more competition in the US market, besides just Mini.

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