Top 10: used hot hatches for less than £10,000
If you need something practical but want to inject some fun into your everyday motoring, take a look at our top 10 list of hot hatchbacks for less than £10,000.....
So you fancy a car with a good turn of speed and the fun factor turned up as high as it’ll go, but you also need something that’s reasonably practical and cheap to run.
You’ll be after a hot hatchback, then – no other class of car mixes pulse-racing fun and day-to-day, real-world ability quite like a hot hatch.
Here, we’ve gathered 10 of the very best and all with an upper price limit of just £10,000, so as cheap as chips. Read on to see if any of these can tempt you – and to see which budget hot hatch is best avoided.
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10: Ford Focus ST
Who could resist this chunky Focus, an old-school hot hatch with pumped-up bodywork and garish colour options that’s about as subtle as a punch in the face and as leery as a stag weekend in Blackpool?
10: Ford Focus ST - interior
Its turbocharged 247bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine burbles and pops and invites you to have a go; and when you do, you’ll find it does the performance (0 to 60mph in 6.5sec), steering and handling part very well.
It’s even fairly practical. Only its age prevents it from ending up higher up our list.
We found: ST-3, 2012, 49,000 miles, £9995
9: Mini Cooper S
You want a Mini that can do 0-62mph in just seven seconds and go on to a top speed of 142mph? Look no further. The 1.6 Cooper S is a flickable and delightfully agile hot hatch.
9: Mini Cooper S - interior
Think of it as the ultimate Mini. Expensive new but at this age and for less than £10k, it’s beginning to look like a thoroughly good buy.
We found: 2.0 Cooper S, 2015, 40,000 miles, £9995
8: Audi S3
If what you’re after is straight-line performance combined with lashings of practicality, then the five-door S3 might well be the car for you.
It’s civilised and secure; in some ways, a swift and sure-footed express rather than a fire-breathing hot hatch. However, it’ll let rip with the best of them if you really push it (0 to 60mph in 5.6sec), thanks to its turbocharged 261bhp 2.0-litre engine and four-wheel drive, providing a pleasing blend of both speed and comfort.
8: Audi S3 - interior
Plenty of room for the kids, too. Our money only buys a 2011 version, however, otherwise it might have finished higher.
We found: S3, 2011, 60,000 miles, £9995
7: Skoda Octavia vRS
The Skoda Octavia vRS is one of those cars that can probably carry most things you will ever want carried, thanks to its enormous boot, and yet shares most of its oily bits with the iconic Golf GTI, a car with more than adequate speed and amazing agility.
7: Skoda Octavia vRS - interior
Add in a bargain-basement price both new and used and it seems there’s little to dislike. Its 197bhp 2.0-litre engine is smooth and flexible, and it’s enjoyable and competent in the chassis department, if not quite at the Golf’s level. Grab a good 2014 model for our money.
We found: vRS, 2014, 50,000 miles, £10,000
6: Renault Sport Clio 200
Bulging with intent, the Renault Sport Clio 200’s bodywork is pulled taut over a 197bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged engine of rare liveliness and a chassis of exceptional competence.
6: Renault Sport Clio 200 - interior
The Cup version was even stiffer and lighter than the standard car, with faster steering. It’s wonderfully adjustable and it’s a great car to punt down a winding road, as well as being a hoot on a track. Check used ones carefully for enthusiastic use but it’s certainly good value.
We found: Clio 200, 2014, 48,000 miles, £9995
5: Honda Civic Type R
Dispense with any preconceived notions you might have of the workaday Honda Civic when you approach a Type R. This version might be the last of the eighth-gen versions but it has a 197bhp 2.0-litre VTEC engine that howls like a banshee and revs to 8000rpm and propels the Civic from 0-62mph in 6.8sec.
5: Honda Civic Type R - interior
It’s tremendous – fast, fun, reliable and roomy. Plus, prices start from as low as £5000 and our £10k limit buys a late model car with a low mileage.
We found: Type R GT, 2012, 42,000 miles, £9995
4: Suzuki Swift Sport
The trouble with some of these otherwise wonderful hot hatches is that they can actually be a little too large. Of course, we all know cars are growing bigger, but luckily no one seems to have told Suzuki; this Swift feels so small that you could put it in your pocket.
4: Suzuki Swift Sport - interior
The Sport version takes full advantage of its diminutive size; it’s lightweight, agile, energetic, fast and fun. With a modest 1.6-litre engine, it gets along very well indeed and the entertainment factor is sky high.
A true small rocket and a bargain to boot. This money picks up one of the last of the 2013-2017 cars; spend a thousand or two more and you can even lay hands on the newer model.
We found: 1.6 Sport, 2017, 11,250 miles, £9495
3: Renault Sport Mégane 265
It’s true the Renault Sport Mégane requires you to make more compromises than contemporaries such as the Vauxhall Astra VXR, because its ride is firm and there's limited space in the back.
However, countered against those criticisms is the fact that this car has a peppy 262bhp 2.0-litre turbo that achieves 0-60mph in 6.1sec, sticks to the road like lipstick to a guilty man’s shirt and has handling that would shame a track car.
3: Renault Sport Mégane 265 - interior
The Cup version, in particular, is an absolute hoot, being rapid, agile and, above all, fun. And at this sort of money, it’s tremendous value.
We found: RS 265, 2013, 50,000 miles, £9995
2: Volkswagen Golf GTI
There are few icons in the car world more enduring and endearing than the Golf GTI. The fifth-generation car was a welcome return to form and this sixth-generation model added a smidgeon of extra refinement to its considerable sporting talents.
2: Volkswagen Golf GTI - interior
A lively 208bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit is enough to produce a 0-62mph time of just 6.7sec. It grips like a limpet and handles with a balance that’s the preserve of only the finest.
If all that wasn’t enough, it’s extremely practical and quite efficient, too.
We found: GTI, 2012, 64,000 miles, £9995
1: Ford Fiesta ST
If the main aim of a hot hatch is unparalleled driver enjoyment, the Fiesta ST’s got itself a heck of a head start.
Under the bonnet is a 179bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged engine of immense liveliness, allied to a slick six-speed manual gearbox that’s a delight to use. Its steering is super-quick, its handling terrific – it’s the best-handling small hatch by a country mile – and it makes a great noise.
1: Ford Fiesta ST - interior
The car has great sports seats, too, and a suitably sporty ride. Put simply, the Fiesta ST drives brilliantly and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Our modest budget buys you a 2016 car in excellent condition – what’s not to like?
We found: ST, 2016, 27,000 miles, £9,590
So what about the hot hatch to avoid?
Alfa Romeo Mito QV
The QV, or Quadrifoglio Verde, is the performance flagship model in the Mito range.
Alfa Romeo Mito QV - interior
It might have a passionate name, but it’s not that nice to drive and, most important of all, fails to stir the blood.