The hot hatch RESURRECTION

Fast yet practical (sometimes), the hot hatch has got a new lease of life

Recently I sat in an auction and witnessed a Ford Fiesta RS Turbo from 1991 sell for just under £20k, classic car values have been soaring in the past few years but now this trend seems to be reaching the hot hatches of the 80's and 90's. This era produced some of the most well known cars from the Mk1 VW Golf GTi to the Peugeot 205 GTi but from such a heyday the hot hatch suffered a little bit. Manufacturers seemed more interested in producing cars that gave us great MPG and saved the planet, that simply wasn't good enough, us petrol heads demand hot hatches! Now in 2016 it seems we are spoilt for choice!

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

The original hot hatches provided frivolous fun and boundless driving enjoyment. Taking an original car and 'pimping' it slightly had everyone hooked, I remember growing up and falling in love with the likes of the Vauxhall Astra GTE and VW Golf GTI. These cars seemed more realistic to own, you felt like they could be within your grasp financially unlike the supercars of the time and this is what made hot hatches extremely special.

What is resurrection: the act of bringing something that had disappeared or ended back into use or existence.

Cambridge English Dictionary
Seat Leon Cupra R

Seat Leon Cupra R

From 2000 onwards the hot hatch took a back seat, very few were in manufacturers plans and ones that were being produced such as the Peugeot 206 GTi and the Ford Fiesta ST just didn't tick the right boxes. The death of the hot hatch was starting to become a reality, but, thankfully in recent times the hot hatch has seen some kind of a re-birth and now nearly all car makers feature a sport little hatch in their range. The resurrection of the hot hatch has begun.

Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeotsport

Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeotsport

The modern hot hatchback still retains its usability and space but the engineering and acceleration that is now incorporated is absolutely mind blowing. I remember driving a Renault Clio 182 thinking how nippy and agile it felt, the 182 bhp felt plenty and the 2.0-litre petrol engine seemed a huge lump for the size of car. But oh how times have changed, recently I drove the Peugeot 208 GTi, 270 bhp and an acceleration that I can only compare to sh*t of a shovel. Hot Hatches are now in a completely different dimension.

Fiat 500 Abarth

Fiat 500 Abarth

Manufacturers are constantly battling against each other to produce the fastest hot hatch and the Nurburgring circuit provides a perfect place for them to compare figures. But to enable these cars to lap at such incredible speeds suspension set up and the addition of limited slip differentials are now being added to. The most recent Ford Focus RS comes with four wheel drive and a Drift mode. The ongoing competition is fierce, its not just about how a hot hatch makes you feel its now how good it is on paper, top trumps for the hot hatch world is as cut-throat as its ever been.

BMW M135i

BMW M135i

With all this new technology the car brands have also got to make the cars affordable, the 306bhp Honda Civic Type R retails at £30k but the Abarth 500 can be purchased for as little as £14k. There is a hot hatch to fit every budget or need and the saturation of the market is great news for the consumer, choice is power.

Mercedes A45

Mercedes A45

Hats off to the car manufacturers who are providing the 'petrol head' with an abundance of choices, technologies and prices that appeal to anyone and everyone. I don't know any 'car nut' who doesn't have a soft spot for a hot hatch and the classic value of old hatches means that you could also be purchasing an investment for the future.

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Comments (1)

  • I've been noticing the same trend and I love it. I'm a bit younger than you, so I wasn't fortunate enough to grow up during the hot hatch genesis, but even still, I fell in love with them since they've started to make a comeback. In college I had my heart set on a black Fiesta ST with no options other than black wheels and red calipers, as I knew it was within reach once I graduated. Last June, when I did graduate and started my job as an automotive journalist, I saved my first two paychecks and put a downpayment on a 2016 ST. Not only is it the most fun car I've ever driven, including ones I drove during my internship at a BMW and Mercedes dealership, hot hatch owners just make up a great community. Can't tell you the number of times I've seen another ST or an RS on the road and have the owner wave politely even though we've never met before in our lives. As an American I love that the trend has made its way to our side of the pond (I've always been partial to smaller turbocharged cars, rather than American muscle), I just hope manufacturers besides Ford, VW and Honda get in on the action. I've written a few articles at work about how it would be great to have Toyota bring the new supercharged Yaris, and Hyundai bring the new hot Elantra (i30 on your side of the pond), but unfortunately it doesn't seem like either one will.

      3 years ago
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