What alternatives should I consider to a used Abarth 595 hatchback?
The Mini Cooper is a very well rounded car, with a smooth engine and excellent handling. However, it isn’t particularly quick, unless you go for the more expensive Cooper S and simply doesn’t have the character of the 500.
If you want a practical car that happens to be fast, the Ford Fiesta ST is a great option. The turbocharged 1.6-litre engine is very punchy; the handling is a joy and it practical enough for a small family. It’s cheap to run too with sensible insurance and fuel costs.
The Vauxhall Corsa VXR is a bit of monster power wise, with enough mid-range grunt to blow rivals into the weeds. In Nurburgring edition form (which comes with a limited slip differential at the front) it even handles rather well. It’s not as involving to drive as a Fiesta ST, or the Abarth 500, though.