Blue Hyundai i30 N driving down country road

Best used hot hatches 2024

Hot hatches are fast and fun, promising a mix of excitement, practicality and affordable ownership costs. Here are our top 10 used hot hatches for 2024.

Cazoo Editorial Team Byline Icon

By Cazoo editorial team

Updated: 29 January 2024

What do you get when you take a standard hatchback, give it extra power and make it more fun to drive? You get a hot hatchback.

The latest hot hatches are quicker and more powerful than ever, but they still combine the performance and enjoyable driving experience of a sports car with the practicality and affordability of a sensible family car.

Here’s our pick of the 10 best used hot hatches for 2024.

1. Ford Fiesta ST

If having the maximum amount of driving fun for the minimum amount of money is your priority, then a Ford Fiesta ST should be high on your shopping list.

Every Fiesta is great to drive but the ST is really special, feeling even more nimble and responsive. The previous Fiesta ST (sold new between 2013 and 2018) was a cracker, but we’re focusing here on the latest version, sold new from 2018 onwards. It’s just as much fun as the earlier cars but it’s more comfortable, better equipped and has a more up-to-date infotainment system. The Fiesta ST is inexpensive to buy and run compared to many other hot hatches, yet it's more enjoyable to drive than a lot of more powerful, more expensive rivals.

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2. Volkswagen Golf R

Few cars balance everyday ease of use and driving thrills quite as well as a Volkswagen Golf R. Available as a versatile hatchback or a spacious estate, it’s comfortable and quiet on long journeys and it’s even reasonably fuel-efficient for a high-performance car. The Golf R is as fast and fun to drive as much more expensive and less practical sports cars, and it even has four-wheel drive to give you extra confidence in bad weather.

It’s also well equipped, with standard features including parking sensors and LED headlights. You can choose a manual or automatic gearbox, and some versions are fitted with sophisticated adaptive suspension that you can adjust for extra sportiness or increased comfort.

3. Seat Leon Cupra

Every Seat combines great value with a youthful, sporty feel and that’s certainly true of the Seat Leon Cupra. Under the Seat bodywork and badge, it’s very similar to the Golf R, which is no surprise since both Seat and Volkswagen are part of the wider Volkswagen Group.

Even though the Leon Cupra is fast in both hatchback and estate forms, it's practical enough to double as a family car. It gives you lots of standard equipment, too, including a touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav. Cars made from 2021 onwards were rebadged as Cupra Leons, after Seat gave its sportiest cars their own brand.

4. Ford Focus ST

The Ford Focus is one of the most popular hatches around and in many ways, it defines this type of medium-size family car. Even the most affordable Focus is great to drive thanks to its responsive feel.

That sensation is turned up a notch or two with the Focus ST, which is larger than the Fiesta ST mentioned earlier. The Focus is great fun to drive and gives you lots of power from its turbocharged engine. But it’s also as easy to live with as a ‘regular’ Focus, and compared to a lot of performance cars, it’s affordable to buy and run.

5. Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Volkswagen Golf GTI was the first true hot hatch, going on sale more than 40 years ago. The latest version remains one of the best.

We’re focusing on the seventh version, sold new between 2012 and 2020. On top of the usual Golf virtues of excellent comfort, high-quality interiors and lots of standard features, the GTI has had a subtle, sporty makeover. You get smart-looking alloy wheels and red trim highlights on the outside; on the inside, distinctive tartan seat fabric and a golf-ball-pattern gear knob on cars with a manual gearbox. The GTI is as comfortable as a regular Golf, but it feels that much more exciting with acceleration that brings a smile to your face.

6. Hyundai i30 N

The Hyundai i30 N is Hyundai's first proper hot hatch but you'd never guess since it's such a great example of this type of car. It's fast, of course, and it's also fun. You're also able to choose different settings for the suspension, steering and accelerator response, so you can make sure it fits your driving style, or even your mood.

As you'd expect of a Hyundai, the i30 N is also excellent value for money – it costs less than most rival cars and comes with lots of features as standard.

7. Mini Cooper S

Even the standard Mini Hatch is more fun to drive than most small cars, but the Cooper S is even more satisfying. It’s rare to find a hot hatch with such a nice blend of low driving position, compact size and comparatively large windows – it really is an enjoyable car to spend time in. The retro style makes it stand out too.

You can get the Cooper S with three doors or five. Both are compact but you can fit four adults in each and the five-door model could be practical enough for a small family. Part of the fun in buying a Mini comes from choosing one that suits your style. There is a wide variety of colour and trim options to choose from, so even though Minis are a common sight it’s rare to see two that are exactly alike.

8. Audi S3

The Abarth 595 isn't the quickest hot hatch here and it can't match the other cars on this list for outright ability, but in terms of pure fun it's up there with the best of them.

Essentially a souped-up version of the hugely popular Fiat 500, the Abarth 595 has had a pretty serious makeover to transform it from cute city car to snarling hot hatch. There are sporty cosmetic upgrades, of course, but lots of mechanical changes that make it very nippy, responsive and much more rewarding to drive. It remains good value, and despite its sportier character it's still comparatively cheap to run.

9. Skoda Octavia vRS

While all hot hatches are practical, not one is as spacious as the Skoda Octavia vRS. In standard form, its boot is 50% larger than a Volkswagen Golf’s and the estate model has one of the biggest boots around.

Another key part of the Octavia’s appeal is value for money. It’s well priced and delivers low running costs thanks to fuel-efficient engines. This is particularly true of the diesel version; according to official figures, it has an average fuel consumption of more than 60mpg with a manual gearbox. If all that sounds a bit too sensible for a hot hatch, don’t worry – the Octavia vRS is also thrilling to drive and very quick.

10. Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R is one of the wilder hot hatchbacks you can buy. With aggressive styling that includes a huge rear spoiler, this is a car that stands out from the crowd. The theme continues inside, with racy red highlights on the dash, steering wheel, floor and sculpted seats that hold you firmly in place as you round corners.

The Type R backs up its sporty looks with a powerful engine that makes it a super-fast hot hatchback. It’s also one of the most exciting and dramatic to drive, thanks to fast steering that gives a real feeling of connection to the road. Honda’s reputation for making some of the most reliable cars means you should be able to enjoy stress-free motoring even as you make the most of its performance.

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