Best cars

Top 10 best used hot hatchbacks 2022

If you need practicality but don’t want to lose your enthusiasm for the road, hot hatches offer a great solution. Here’s our top 10 best used hot hatchbacks.

Ford Fiesta ST

Hot hatchbacks are family cars moonlighting as sports cars; they’re still practical and easy to park but offer similar performance to fast coupes and convertibles. In Britain, hot hatchbacks have always been popular ever since their introduction in the mid-1980s. They’re the perfect fit for our winding, narrow back roads, and the hot hatch market is currently thriving.

Used hot hatchbacks offer even greater value for money and our list features an array of options that still include the most important creature comforts like air conditioning and are new enough to be financed on monthly payments.

The performance war is helping to push prices up and up - the latest Mercedes-AMG A45, for example, costs over £50,000. This is where one of the best used hot hatchbacks makes sense because, if you can put up with a few thousand miles on the odometer, you can save a lot of money over a brand-new model.

If you don’t need the practicality of a hot hatchback, check out our list of best cheap sports cars or our top three used sports cars for £10,000. Read about the best used hot hatchbacks you can buy now below.

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback review

2022 Ford Fiesta ST driving
Carbuyer rating

4.3 out of 5

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The latest Ford Fiesta ST is our favourite hot hatchback currently on sale and it makes a good choice on the used market too. Its three-cylinder engine produces just shy of 200bhp, which is plenty in a small, lightweight car. Zero to 62mph takes just 6.5 seconds, and it’s even more fun in corners than in a straight line. It’s one of the sweetest cars to drive currently on sale, so much so that we prefer it to some supercars that cost six times the price. It’s on a par with the previous Fiesta ST for driving thrills but feels more sophisticated. Despite the exciting performance, the Fiesta ST is surprisingly efficient when you’re not in the mood to drive it quickly and can manage almost 50mpg. Plus, it has a hi-tech interior, enough space for four adults and a reasonably big boot, but it’s considerably cheaper than some of the slightly bigger cars on this list.

Skoda Octavia vRS hatchback review (2013-2021)

Skoda Octavia vRS Best Buy cutout
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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The standard Skoda Octavia is one of our favourite family cars, and the rapid vRS version adds extra pace and sportiness without sacrificing any of its qualities. You still get class-leading practicality, thoughtful ‘Simply Clever’ touches and all the space you could wish for, but a 242bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine helps to turn up the excitement; 0-62mph takes 6.7 seconds and the top speed is 155mph. There’s also a 2.0-litre diesel version that offers most of the speed of the petrol but much better fuel economy (7.7 seconds to 62mph and 44.8mpg), and it’s one of three cars on this list that can be had as an estate. The Octavia vRS has subtle styling additions to make it look sharper than the standard car, but it’s still much more discreet than alternatives such as the Honda Civic Type R. Skoda Octavia vRS models are always in demand, so prices stay higher than a regular Octavia in the same condition.

Honda Civic Type R review (2017-2021)

Honda Civic Type R
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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There’s no mistaking the Honda Civic Type R, with its massive spoiler, vented bonnet, wide body kit and red badges and brake calipers. This styling won’t appeal to everyone, but the aero additions aren’t just for show — they really do help the Civic’s performance and impressive cornering ability. The most powerful and fastest Civic Type R ever produced, the ‘FK8’ generation, has 316bhp and officially manages 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, on the way to topping out at 169mph. All the standard Civic’s plus points still apply: the boot is cleverly designed and bigger than most of its rivals, it’s well-built and it has plenty of equipment — although it’s slightly disappointing that you don’t get sat nav as standard. Honda’s infotainment set-up as a whole is eclipsed by the systems in rivals, while some cheaper materials can be found if you look hard enough. We don’t think you’ll care too much though, once you sit in the red bucket seats and use the aluminium gear lever. All five Type R generations are highly sought after on the used market, but the latest car has been produced in higher numbers than the previous generation so it should be more readily available.

Volkswagen Golf GTI hatchback (2013-2020)

Carbuyer rating

3.7 out of 5

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Now in its seventh generation, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is the iconic hot hatchback. It faces stiff competition from the likes of the Octavia vRS and the Hyundai i30 N, and from within its own ranks from the more powerful Golf R. You’ll be able to find a 227bhp version on the used market, alongside the 242bhp Performance version that is now the entry point for a new GTI. The Performance is likely to hold its value better as, alongside the additional power, it adds extras like a limited slip differential for better handling. Above that is a limited-run TCR model with 286bhp, lowered suspension and an Akrapovic sports exhaust, which will catch the attention of collectors and likely always have high residual values. Golf GTIs are often thought of as the everyday hot hatchback, as they’re comfortable, quiet and refined when you’d rather just cruise. Generous equipment levels and the classic GTI touches like the tartan seats and the golf ball gear knob make it feel more special than a standard Golf, too.

SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback (2014-2020)

SEAT Leon Cupra cutout
Carbuyer rating

3.6 out of 5

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The SEAT Leon Cupra undercuts the Golf GTI but is quicker and more powerful. The Cupra produces 286bhp but it has had varying amounts of power during the last few years, and there have been several special editions. All models sprint from 0-62mph in six seconds or less, and all now come with an automatic gearbox as standard — although earlier models were available with a manual gearbox. Like the Octavia vRS, you can have a SEAT Leon ST Cupra estate version but, unlike the Skoda, the SEAT is petrol-only. Inside, the Cupra adds a smattering of sporty touches over the standard Leon, including Alcantara suede-fabric trim and exclusive badges.

Hyundai i30 N hatchback review

2021 Hyundai i30 N hatchback - front 3/4 dynamic
Carbuyer rating

4.2 out of 5

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Hyundai entered the hot hatchback market without the history of enthusiastic sports vehicles. At first it appeared they had at least gone in the right direction with the styling; however, after revealing the car to the world and opening themselves up to the motoring press it was clear that they had done things right. The Korean manufacturer managed the rare achievement of getting their first attempt balanced just right between handling and power and not overstretching themselves with something that may grab headlines, but fall into a trap of becoming a marketing exercise, rather than a proper drivers’ vehicle.

Renault Megane RS hatchback review (2017-2022)

2021 Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy
Carbuyer rating

3.1 out of 5

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If you require a hot hatchback that is agile, quick, and above all else, fun to drive, then the Megane RS is where your search will most likely end. Renault haven’t attempted to compromise their hot hatch by targeting an audience that wants a hatchback with a little extra power; instead their Megane RS is a lively sports car with five doors and a decent sized boot. Renault also didn’t fall into the trap of many other manufacturers by making the car too stiff. Instead, even on the bumpier British B-road, it is still relatively comfortable and easy to drive. Interior quality isn’t as high as others on our list and the steering is slightly compromised by a lack of feel. However, the Trophy version comes with even sharper handling if you don’t mind giving up some of the comfort of the standard model.

Volkswagen Polo GTI hatchback review

Volkswagen Polo GTI facelift driving
Carbuyer rating

4 out of 5

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While the Golf GTI and the even more powerful Golf R attract plenty of attention in enthusiast circles, the Polo GTI is often overlooked even as it has become more capable than ever before. Equipped with the same 2.0-litre turbo engine in the Golf GTI but with less horsepower, the Polo is now a quick car that is easy to enjoy. Don’t confuse it with a supermini though: the Polo GTI has grown and is now similar in size to a Golf of a few generations ago. Equipment levels are now higher than the previous generation and the interior finish in the Polo GTI feels refined, although not as exciting as some rivals, but it will achieve over 40mpg when you aren’t enjoying the performance. 

No manual gearbox is available and so for the enthusiast that really wants to engage with the car on every level, this will be a disappointment, but if you can see past this and enjoy clicking through a DSG paddle shifter the Polo GTI is hard to overlook.

MINI John Cooper Works hatchback review

MINI JCW hatchback driving
Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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MINI offers two fast versions of its hatchbacks but the John Cooper Works (JCW) version is more powerful and racier than the Cooper S. Both provide an exhilarating drive and are excellent fun on a back road, but the JCW sits on lower, sportier suspension and comes with a more eye-catching body kit and paint scheme — complete with a handful of red accents. Despite featuring one of the lowest power figures on this list – 228bhp – it gets from 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds, which is quicker than some bigger hot hatchbacks. Its size means it’s nimble and easy to drive around town, although the usual MINI three-door practicality considerations apply here too: the back seats don’t offer much legroom, and the boot is small. Those drawbacks don’t stop the regular MINI from selling well, and it’s even less important here as you’ll buy a JCW for its speed and cornering ability.

Mercedes-AMG A 35 hatchback

Carbuyer rating

3.8 out of 5

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Although the AMG A35 isn’t the most powerful hot hatchback Mercedes offer, it has the same high quality finish and with 302bhp it isn’t lacking in performance. If you want a quick hatch back but also want the prestige and quality of a more premium vehicle, then this is likely to feel like a great fit. Residual values have remained strong, as you would expect from such a well built and well equipped hot hatchback, however, now that the earliest models are just over three years old there are good savings to be made over buying new. If you do begin searching for the Mercedes AMG A35 you should remember that there were an array of options available so it is important to view the car, or ask the seller to send you a copy of the options list fitted to their example.

Top 10 used hatchbacks

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