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Best used hot hatches 2022

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

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By Cazoo editorial team

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.

1. Ford Fiesta ST

If having the maximum amount of driving fun for the minimum amount of money is your priority, then a 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.

Read our Ford Fiesta review

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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, LED headlights and a touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav. 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.

Read our Volkswagen Golf review

3. Seat Leon Cupra

Seats combine great value for money with a youthful, sporty feel and that’s certainly true of the 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. The Leon Cupra has the same engine as the Golf R, so it’s a remarkably quick and responsive car.

Even though the Cupra is fast in both hatchback and estate forms, the hot hatch is practical enough to double as a reliable 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.

Read our Seat Leon review

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.

Read our Ford Focus review

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.

Read our Volkswagen Golf review

6. Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG (sold new between 2013 and 2018) is one of the fastest hot hatches around. In fact, you have to look at some seriously expensive sports cars before you find anything that’s comfortably quicker than this much-modified Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It’s not just fast, either – with four-wheel drive, the A45 AMG has the kind of grip and composure that you normally associate with supercars made by brands like Ferrari and Porsche.

This is one of the more intense hot hatchbacks, but because it shares so many parts with other A-Class models it’s still a practical hatchback that’s well-suited to outings with friends and family or a trip to the shops.

Read our Mercedes-Benz A-Class review

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.

Read our Mini Hatch review

8. Audi S3

Audi makes a lot of fast, luxurious cars and all of that know-how is distilled into a comparatively compact, cost-effective package in the shape of the S3 – a high-performance version of the A3. This high-quality hot hatch has lots going for it. An all-new version was launched in 2021 but here we're focusing on the previous model (sold new between 2013 and 2020).

A powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine gives you quick acceleration, while four-wheel drive gives you extra confidence in bad weather. You can choose from a manual or automatic gearbox, both of which shift gears quickly. The S3 is available as a three-door or five-door hatchback – Audi calls the five-door a ‘Sportback’ – giving you a choice between a slightly sportier body style or extra practicality.

Read our Audi S3 review

9. Skoda Octavia vRS

While all hot hatches are practical, not one is as spacious as Skoda’s 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 when new, has a great reputation for reliability (which should keep your maintenance costs to a minimum), 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 devilishly quick.

Read our Skoda Octavia review

10. Honda Civic Type R

The latest version of the Honda Civic Type R arrived in 2018 and, like its predecessors, 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. Despite its aggressive looks and heart-thumping acceleration, the Civic Type R has a sensible side. Its interior is comfortable and practical, and 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.

Read our Honda Civic review

There are lots of great-value used hatchbacks for sale at Cazoo. Simply use the search function to find one you love then buy or finance it online. You can choose to have it delivered to your door, or you can collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.

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