Best used hot hatches for less than £20,000

A budget of £20,000 could buy you a sensible family car, or you could inject some excitement into your life with one of these 10 used hot hatchbacks...

Used BMW M135i vs Honda Civic Type R

7. Honda Civic Type R

If you don’t mind the huge spoiler, aggressive bumpers and flared wheel arches of the Civic Type R, you’ll be rewarded with one of the lairiest hot hatches around. It’s the second most powerful car on this list, with its innovative 2.0-litre VTEC engine also turbocharged to produce 306bhp – all of which goes to the front wheels. Despite what you might think, this isn't a recipe for disaster; this Type R version of the ninth generation Civic is almost unflappable on track, and it has an R+ mode for when you want to turn the fun up to 11.

We found: 2016 Honda Civic Type R GT, 25,000 miles, £17,500

Read the used Honda Civic review

6. Volkswagen Golf R

New Renault Megane RS vs Honda Civic Type R vs Volkswagen Golf R

The Volkswagen Golf R is the chalk to the Civic Type R’s cheese, having very understated looks and absolutely no histrionics. However, beneath the surface lurks a 296bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and a four-wheel-drive system, as used in the Audi S3.

Like the S3, the Golf R has little trouble getting all that power down off the line. But it has lighter steering, so it feels a bit more nimble. Admittedly, it's not quite as pleasurable to drive as the slower GTI, because it simply doesn’t involve you very much in the process, but it is devastatingly quick, and that performance is very easy to access safely.

We found: 2017 Volkswagen Golf R 3dr, 19,000 miles, £19,500

Read the used Volkswagen Golf R review 

5. Skoda Octavia vRS 

Skoda Octavia vRS 2019 front tracking

Think of the Skoda Octavia vRS as a Volkswagen Golf GTI with a bigger body and you won’t be too far off the mark. Both use the same platform and 227bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, but there are subtle differences that set them apart. Firstly, the steering in the Octavia vRS is lighter still than it is in the Golf GTI. This means it’s even easier to drive and manoeuvre in car parks, which is perhaps a good thing, considering it's just over 41cm longer.

Thanks to all that extra length, the Octavia vRS has a more spacious rear seat area and a cavernous boot, making it the perfect fast family car. It isn't quite as sharp to drive as the Golf GTI and will understeer sooner through corners, but this is small potatoes give the fact that it's considerably more practical.

We found: 2019 Skoda Octavia vRS DSG, 9000 miles, £19,500

Read the used Skoda Octavia vRS review