Volkswagen Golf GTI MK1 - Rewind Wednesday

In another of our weekly history lessons, we look back at the original hot hatch, the Mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI – our 1981 Car of the Year

Words By Will Nightingale

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How much do they cost now?

MK1 GTIs are still 'relatively' affordable classics, with prices for usable, rough-around-the-edges examples starting at around Β£10,000. A fully restored car, or a very well-maintained original, will set you back between Β£15,000 and Β£20,000. Low-mileage examples can fetch a lot more.

Like any old car, don’t expect stellar reliability. Remember this is a 40-year-old classic so things will inevitably go wrong and some parts will be tricky to source.

As always, look for examples with good service history. This doesn’t mean things won’t go wrong, but it should mean problems will be fewer and farther between. Either way, make sure you service your GTI regularly. Doing so will keep repair bills down and will make your car more attractive when you decide to sell.

Given that MK1 GTI is already a classic, it’s well worth the effort and expense. Prices will surely only head skywards.

Rather something more modern?

If the idea of buying a used hot hatch strikes fear into your heart then worry not, because below you'll find our top 10 current hot hatchbacks. Oh, and those we think you should be avoiding, too.

The best (and worst) hot hatchbacks

10. Audi S1

The S1 may be based on Audi’s little A1 shopper, but a 228bhp engine has been shoehorned under its bonnet and a four-wheel-drive system replaces the usual front-wheel-drive set-up. All that power in such a small package means the S1 is seriously rapid in a straight line. In fact, it’ll outrun a Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI. The four-wheel drive helps the S1 stay glued to the road in fast corners and the interior is up there with larger luxury models. The ride is a bit firm and the steering a bit lacklustre, though.

Audi S1 review

Find a great Audi A1 deal

9. Audi RS3

Audi has been locked in a power battle with Mercedes-Benz in recent years, but this revised RS3, which borrows the 394bhp five-cylinder engine from its TT RS sports car, puts the hot hatch firmly in the top spot for outright acceleration. You’ll need a well-padded wallet to buy and own an RS3, though. If you’re after something more playful and cheaper, check out the BMW M140i and Ford Focus RS.

Read our full Audi RS3 review

Find a great Audi RS3 deal

8. Ford Focus ST

The regular Ford Focus is already a very competent family hatchback, so it makes sense that the go-faster version, the Focus ST, would be a great all-rounder as well. You can have it in either 182bhp or 247bhp forms, but whichever option you choose you'll get engaging handling and a great driving position. The interior could do with being a little classier, but it's still a solid option in this market.

Our pick: ST-2

Read our full Ford Focus ST review

Find a great Ford Focus ST deal

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