Eight Reasons You Should Drive a Hot Hatch
SUVs are rad, sedans are dying out, coupe-like saloons look cool, and hot hatches seem to be on drugs. Hot hatches being on drugs isn’t the first reason I listed to make you buy them, but writing about it, I think it might as well be. See, the hatchback layout may be the perfect one for creating a car. Its sheer shape offers safety and practicality. Plus, hot hatches aren’t expensive to produce or expensive to buy. I managed to come up with eight reasons why your next car should be a hot hatch.
They are Cheap to Buy and Maintain
Ok, shooting for the top-notch hot hatches will easily get you into the 40 grand ballpark. The Golf R starts there; the S3 is about four grand more expensive, and the prices only go up with the AMG A45 or the RS3. Yet, you do not have to shoot that high at all. The Golf GTI starts at just above 26 grand, the Focus ST was a bit cheaper, but more powerful only two years ago. Now, we are waiting for the new Focus ST. Expect it to be cheaper than the Golf GTI once again.
Obviously, hot hatches, while madly expensive in their most extreme form, are rather sensible when it comes to their pricing in their entry form. Plus, they are cheaper to insure, cheaper to maintain and, usually, cheaper to run than equivalently priced cars from a higher segment. What’s not to like?
They are Practical
|2018 Ford Fiesta ST shown here.|
No, they are not as big as compact sedans, but they are as practical. Thanks to the fifth door, modern interior layout, and modular rear seats, modern hatchbacks offer fantastic practicality that usually makes them more than capable of transporting bulky items. You can actually load oversized things in the car. Despite the larger boot, sedans often can’t accommodate bulky items due to their limited loading space.
Ok, why the heck am I writing about the trunk and practicality when writing about hot cars? It is simple really. Hot hatchbacks are usually as practical, civilized, and sensible as their “normal” versions. So, you can get your kids to school with all their belongings. You can easily park your hot hatchback, and navigate through the narrow city streets better than with almost any other car. And then, you can throw them through some bends on the track while feeling confident you’ll match the might and speed of some proper sports cars.
See, practical when you need it, and capable in all other instances. A hot hatch. A perfect car.
They are Well Equipped
|2017 Honda Civic Hatchback shown here.|
Even the entry-level hot-hatches come with a number of awesome equipment, some of which one wouldn’t expect to find in the standard trim. Most of them come with big alloy wheels - 18-inches and more - cruise control, LED running lights, two-zone air conditioning, aluminum pedals, Bluetooth compatibility, and an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Add a number of unique sporty features, and you have yourself a cool, modern machine that can match the sophistication and complexity of cars from higher segments. And, you know what, hot hatches will always give you a certain flamboyant appearance that no similarly priced sedan or SUV can ever match.
They are Fast
|2015 Mercedes-AMG A45 shown here|
If you go really crazy with your money, you could get a hot hatchback that’s capable of near-supercar levels of quickness and fitness. The AMG A45 or the Audi RS3 (this one actually available in the U.S.), can get you to 60 mph under 4 seconds. Granted, on a really good day. However, as you are much more likely to try to find for your hot hatch somewhere between 25 grand and 30 grand, you can expect sub 6 seconds 0-60 mph times. Top speed, on the other hand, is usually pegged at 150+ mph. Plenty fast, if you ask me.
Yet, the thing about hatchbacks isn’t all about the quickness or their top speed (although it works wonders in bar talks). They are sleepers in a way (save for the Honda Civic Type R which clearly wants to tell the whole world how fast it is), with driving characteristics and speed to give headaches to all drivers of entry-level sports cars. With some of these, you’d smoke a generation old Carrera or the entry-level F-Type. Heck, even the one with the V-6. That’s freaking awesome. And don’t even get me started on the Mustang EcoBoost Convertible with an automatic. You’d probably smoke that off the line with a retuned Focus ST diesel (the one available in Europe).
They are a Blast To Drive
|2017 BMW M140i shown here.|
Hot hatchbacks aren’t simple cars. With the new millennium, they started leaning towards extreme complexity with double clutch gearboxes, turbocharged engines, and smart adjustable suspension systems. Now, with the latest generations of hot hatches available, manufacturers managed to solve problems FWD machines with extremely powerful engines have. Hot hatchbacks gained multiple modes for the suspension setup, transmission response, and engine behavior. The exhaust setups are a story in itself. Yet, for me, the most amazing advancements have been made in the traction department, limited slip diff solutions, and launch control systems. Almost every hot hatch available offers the possibility of some sort of an advanced torque distribution system. Add to this the superfast and smart transmission, and you have yourself a capable machine that won’t be afraid to take on the bends.
They are Perfect for City Tasks
|2017 Audi S3 shown here|
Despite all the tech installed, a hot hatch is, after all, just a hatch. A compact car with a short wheelbase, short overhangs, and a really precise steering wheel. Due to their small size, it is a pleasure to navigate cars like these in cramped spaces. Read cities. Perhaps there isn’t a better way to move around the town than in a hatch like the Golf GTI. It is not only by chance that the whole of motoring world considers the Golf GTI one of the all-time greats. Seven times in a row. Other hot hatches do not fall behind. They offer similar city satisfaction and can be even quicker. Yet, be advised - go for a hardcore version of a hot hatch, and you will most probably find yourself unsatisfied with the comfort levels it provides.
Hot Hatches Are Making Something Great Out Of Almost Nothing
|2018 Hyundai I30 N shown here|
Think about it.
Hot hatches aren’t big but are practical.
They don’t use huge engines but are fast.
They aren’t expensive but can offer thrills similar to expensive sports cars.
They don’t depreciate nearly as steep as “civil” cars but offer the same convenience and sensibility.
If you choose wisely, and with cars such as the Focus ST, the Golf GTI, the Audi S3, the Veloster N, or the Focus RS, there is no way to fail, you may discover that you actually like hatchbacks.
They are Cool
|2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI shown here|
What do you think is cooler - driving the Volkswagen Golf R or the entry BMW 330i Sedan? The Audi S3 or the entry Audi A4?
They cost much the same, yet, one of them is an extreme representation of what can be done with the hatchback layout, while the other is only a tad more than an entry-level family sedan. A hot hatch is way cooler, and if you don’t have too many kids and do not need a lot of space, hot hatches should be preferable.