Hatchbacks have always been a popular choice amongst Britain’s drivers, but as the costs of running a car soar they’re becoming increasingly sought after as people downsize their cars. Worldwide demand is skyrocketing, but that just means that everyone is figuring out what we knew all along … the hatchback rules. Offering an enticing combination of practicality and fuel economy, they can also offer performance and style.
Despite concerns over environmental issues and rising fuel costs the hot hatch market is as buoyant as ever. As drivers of bigger, more powerful cars downsize they want to maintain the performance capabilities of their car, and the hot hatch often fits in perfectly with their needs. Just take a look at the models below to get an idea of how powerful hot hatches are these days and you’ll see why they’re still very popular, but if these are a bit too rich for you then you could always look for used cars for sale to see if you can get a deal on one of your own.
[singlepic id=1332 w=160 h=160 float=left]The Audi faithful waited a long time for the A3 to get the RS makeover and with 335 horsepower coming as standard they weren’t disappointed. The RS3’s style is as attractive as the 5-cylinder engine under the bonnet. It sits low to the ground and carbon fibre detailing and flared wheelarches gives it a menacing presence to match the performance.
Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy
[singlepic id=1334 w=160 h=160 float=left]If you’ve had a chance to check out the reviews, chances are, you’ve heard how this new Trophy-model Megane is already making history. It’s 265 horsepower shattered the Nurburgring record for the fastest front-wheel drive production car, beating out the stripped-out Megane R26.R. How’s that for Renault beating itself at its own game?
SEAT Leon Cupra R
[singlepic id=1330 w=160 h=160 float=left]The Cupra R badge returns on the most powerful ever SEAT Leon. Borrowing heavily from the Volkswagen parts bin, the Cupra R brings some of their best hardware, wraps it in a bold design with big alloys, twin exhausts and bright paintwork and then sells it for much less than the equivalent Golf R.
Volkswagen Golf R
[singlepic id=1331 w=160 h=160 float=left]While the Golf R shares much of its platform with the Cupra R, it brings four-wheel drive to the party to make it stand out. Add an optional six-speed DSG auto gearbox and you’ve got a car that is safe, practical, easy to drive … and very, very quick when you’re in the mood for a B-road blast.
[singlepic id=1336 w=160 h=160 float=left]Volkswagen’s Scirocco R is technically similar to the Golf R, but with only two wheel drive and a more aggressive setup to complement its coupe styling. The Scirocco is very different to the practical Golf, being more driver-oriented and low slung, and it’s ever-so-slightly cheaper than the Golf R.
What Does The Future Bring?
There are two exciting new models arriving in 2012, proving that the hot hatch is still seen as a key part of a manufacturer’s model lineup.
Ford Focus ST
[singlepic id=1333 w=160 h=160 float=left]Revealed in Frankfurt just a few months ago, the Ford Focus ST is set to continue the tradition of superb performance hatchbacks from the blue oval. Sporting a new four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that’s good for 247 horsepower, the new Focus ST will be quicker than ever and yet much more economical. It is due out next year.
Vauxhall Astra VXR
[singlepic id=1335 w=160 h=160 float=left]At 280 horsepower, not many cars can compete with the strength of the new VXR’s engine, and the fact that it can go from 0 to 60 in less than six seconds is sure to rattle the cages of the other manufacturers. Though it has yet to go on sale, the few specs provided point to one of the best handling Vauxhalls of all time. Drivers can buy the Vauxhall Astra VXR in 2012.