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 Renault Sport Megane

4. Renault Mégane RS

If the other cars you’ve seen so far aren’t quite hardcore enough and you don't have children, are single or have an understanding partner, the Renault Mégane RS could be just the car you’re looking for. Despite not having a turbocharger, its 2.0-litre engine still puts out a mighty 275bhp – although not before you’ve wrung it towards its redline. This is therefore a car that requires maximum commitment to get the best from it. 

If you find one with the Cup chassis or in Trophy specification, you'll need to be able to forgive a rock-hard ride, too. For some, this will be too much to live with, but for others, it will be worth it for the razor-sharp handling it also engenders.

We found: 2016 Renault Mégane RS Trophy, 15,000 miles, £18,795

Read the used Renault Mégane RS review 

3. Volkswagen Golf GTI 

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport Edition 40 review

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is the car that does everything, and the one that every other brand tries to emulate yet never quite manages to. One moment it's a classy hatchback that quietly, comfortably and efficiently deals with the daily grind, the next it’s a rapid point-to-point sports car that few twice-as-expensive models can keep up with.

This is partly down to the 227bhp 2.0-litre engine fitted to GTIs equipped with the Performance Pack, but the excellent chassis dynamics play their part, too. Lumpy roads and potholes don’t ruffle the composure and an effective electronic differential helps to tighten your line in sharp corners. Couple that with near-perfect interior ergonomics and you have a crushingly competent hot hatch.

We found: 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance Pack 5dr, 20,000 miles, £19,995

Read the used Volkswagen Golf GTI review 

2. Ford Fiesta ST

Used Ford Fiesta ST 13-17

We’ve seen a number of small hot hatches on this list, but they’ve lost out to bigger, faster machines. However, the Ford Fiesta ST packs a punchy turbocharged 1.6-litre engine that puts out 178bhp. That’s impressive for a small car, but in actual fact, the Fiesta ST can get closer to 200bhp for brief periods of overboost, making it a remarkably rapid performance car.

Find an ST-200 version and you’ll have the finest example of hot Fiesta yet made, because it produces even more power and has shorter gear ratios, enabling it to accelerate faster.

We found: 2017 Ford Fiesta ST-2, 12,000 miles, £14,950

Read the used Ford Fiesta ST review