What Car? Personal Shopper: hot hatchback for £30,000

Want a new car but don't know where to start? Just send us your criteria and we'll give you our top new and used car choices, and even tell you how much we can save you...

Honda Civic Type R

Buying new

  • Our recommended choice: Honda Civic Type R GT
  • List price: £33,525
  • What Car? Target Price: £30,966
New Honda Civic Type R vs BMW M140i vs Ford Focus RS

You want a thrilling hot hatch that's also comfortable and practical enough to use every day? That would be the Honda Civic Type R – our reigning new car champion in this class.

Underneath that bulging bodywork, there's a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 316bhp, and although its exterior appearance is positively demonic, driving the Civic Type R is a heavenly experience. It will just keep pulling and pulling; you'll get a handsome surge forwards even if you ask the car to accelerate from 50-60mph in sixth gear. 

The Type R's steering isn't blessed with masses of feedback, but it is accurate, so you can place the car exactly where you want it on the road. And the ride is adaptable; after a day spent in Type R+ mode at the track, flip the switch to Comfort and the Civic Type R can smooth out lumps and bumps as effectively as many regular hatchbacks.

In terms of practicality, there's more room in the back of the Civic Type R than in the BMW M140i and Renault Mégane RS, and its boot is massive by class standards.

With an on-the-road price of £33,525, this Civic Type R would normally be slightly out of your budget. However, as always, What Car? New Car Buying can help. Our latest Civic deals take that price down to a far more palatable £30,966. Remember, that's our minimum Target Price saving, too, so you could save even more by getting quotes from our dealers.

Find a great Honda Civic Type R deal

Read our full Honda Civic Type R review

  • Also consider: Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance 5dr
  • List price: £29,930
  • What Car? Target Price: £27,168
Volkswagen Golf 2019 GTI TCR front cornering

Being based on the regular Volkswagen Golf means the GTI is about as practical as hot hatches come, plus there's a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with 242bhp to play with.

Read our full Golf GTI review or see our great deals

  • Also consider: Hyundai i30N 5dr
  • List price: £25,760
  • What Car? Target Price: £24,728
New Hyundai i30N vs Honda Civic Type R

This hot Hyundai hatch has plenty of poke, thanks to its 247bhp engine, but there's so much more on offer here: namely sweet and precise handling, a comfortable ride and lots of equipment.

Read our full Hyundai i30N review or see our great deals

Next: our recommended used car choice >

Also consider