Used Car of the Year Awards 2022: 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...
Ford Fiesta ST
Prices from £7000
Here’s the rub: we actually prefer this earlier generation of the Fiesta ST to the latest one. Both versions are lively and good fun, but this one just has the edge for excitement, and that’s what hot hatches are all about.
With a gutsy turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, a slick manual gearbox and agile, grippy handling, the ST is a joy on a twisty road. It’s also relatively affordable to run, with better fuel economy than most similarly speedy rivals.
Better still, the ST is one of the most affordable hot hatches out there. Prices start at just £7000, but we’d look to spend between £10,500 and £12,000 to get a 2016 three-door example in high-spec ST-3 trim. If you need more practicality, a slightly pricier five-door version was added in 2017.
For that money, you could also get a Vauxhall Corsa VXR, but the ST is far better to drive, while being more sensibly priced than the Renault Clio RS, its other main rival. Sure, it might be tempting to splash out more on a BMW M135i or Renault Mégane RS, but we’d save our money; the ST excels as a usable everyday car with a penchant for excitement when you want it.
One we found 2016 Ford Fiesta ST 1.6 Ecoboost ST-3, 33,500 miles Price £12,000
BMW M135i (2012-2016)
Price from £13,000
A grown-up, premium alternative to the Fiesta ST, the M135i looks unassuming but packs a smooth 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine that can launch it from 0-62mph in just 4.6sec. Its beautifully balanced rear-wheel drive handling is terrific fun, too, if not as pin-sharp as the Mégane RS’s. With an intuitive infotainment system and a well- built interior, the M135i is a classy used buy.
One we found 2015 BMW M135i, 32,300 miles Price £18,000
Renault Megane RS (2018-present)
Price from £23,000
With enormous grip, a rorty engine and four-wheel steering, the Mégane RS is fast and amazingly agile, and the Cup version’s limited-slip differential brings extra traction out of corners for a truly visceral driving experience. Practicality is decent, too, with five doors and a good-sized boot. If budget allows and you don’t need the BMW’s classy interior, the RS is top dog for sheer thrills.
One we found 2019 Renault Mégane RS 1.8 Cup, 4200 miles Price £25,100