1. Renault Clio Renault Sport 200
From the late 1990s until very recently, the Renault Clio was the king of the hot hatches. It remains within our budget, as £5000 is now enough to buy you a tidy Renault Sport 200. The big, powerful engine up front and dancing chassis make it the most exciting hot hatch this sort of money can buy, and a classy-feeling interior and plenty of equipment mean you don’t have to compromise practicality too much. True, a Golf is more practical and more comfortable. But if you want to have the most fun, here it is. Watch out for electrical gremlins and poorly-repaired accident damage, and buy a factory-spec, unmodified car.
And the £5000 hot hatches to avoid…
Alfa Romeo Mito Quadrifoglio Verde
Noisy, vague and unsettled, the Mito is way off the pace in most areas, and even with the extra power the hot Quadrifoglio Verde model has, it still feels utterly hopeless compared with most rivals here.
It looks great, but that’s not enough to save the Grande Punto Abarth. A terrible reputation for reliability, average driving dynamics, a shuddering ride and poor build quality make it a hot hatch to miss.
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