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Used Car of the Year Awards 2021: Hot hatches

With demand for used cars on the rise, you’ll want to know which are the best buys. That’s where our annual Used Car Awards come in. These are our favourite hot hatches...

Used Hot Hatch of the Year
(and best buy less than £18,000)

BMW M140i (2016-2019)

Used Car Awards 2021 logo

The BMW M135i is a previous winner of this award, but we’ve now reached the point where the even faster M140i can be bought used for less than £18,000. And what made the M140i so great when it was new holds just as true today. The driving experience centres around the car’s brawny six-cylinder engine. That may sound like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but it pulls like a locomotive and delivers a soundtrack that the four-cylinder Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R simply can’t get close to matching.

BMW M140i interior

True, both of these rivals will corner at least as quickly, but the M140i is more fun. Its steering lets you place the front wheels exactly where you want, and you can feel the car moving around you when you get back on the power, which sounds scary but is actually thrilling. Being a BMW, it also has quality materials inside, plus there’s space for four and the ride is supple.

The M140i can even top 35mpg in real-world use, so it offers a better balance of driving thrills, everyday usability and value than a used Fiesta ST or Civic Type R.

Used test: Ford Fiesta ST vs Vauxhall Corsa VXR

Best buy less than £12,000

The Fiesta ST won this category last year, and it’s still an outstanding used hot hatch at three years old. Rivals such as the Mini Cooper S, Renault Clio RS and Volkswagen Polo GTI are nowhere near as sharp or fun to drive, plus the ST’s engine pulls strongly right across its rev range and sounds wonderfully fruity.

Read our full used Ford Fiesta ST review >>

Find used Ford Fiesta ST for sale >>

Honda Civic Type R (2017-present) 

Honda Civic Type R

Best buy less than £25,000

The Civic Type R beats the rival Ford Focus ST, Renault Mégane RS and Volkswagen Golf GTI as a new car, and the same is true as a used buy. It’s that bit more enjoyable to drive, thanks to precise, feelsome steering and a fluent ride, yet it’s also surprisingly practical and easy to live with.

Read our full used Honda Civic Type R review >>

Find used Honda Civic Type R for sale >>

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Read about more Used Car of the Year 2021 winners >>