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The top 10 best hot hatches to buy in 2024

Everyone loves a hot hatch. They're small enough to drive in the city while also being large enough to carry passengers and their stuff.

Point your hot hatch at a twisty back road, however, and you'll feel like you've dropped into a rally special stage. Grippy handling, snappy steering and punchy turbocharged power are the order of the day for our picks for the best hot hatches you can buy.

Ford Fiesta ST

Ford Fiesta ST in green

You can't buy a brand-new Ford Fiesta ST anymore but they're still readily available on the used market. It's worth hunting one down, too, because this might be the very best small hot hatch money can buy. There's a sense of poise and composure to the Fiesta ST's handling that few if any rivals can replicate. It has perfectly judged body control that grips the road like a magnet without shaking your fillings loose, and just the right amount of power to be thrilling without putting your licence in too much danger.

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Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI in white

The Volkswagen Golf GTI was one of the first hot hatches and is still one of the best all-rounders on sale. It's comfier than some of the firmer, more aggressive cars on this list, so might not be the best choice if you're a track-day regular. However, the GTI's dual personalities mean it can be just as relaxing as a regular VW Golf to drive when you want to get from A to B. Then, switch it to sport mode and lean on the throttle, and you'll discover the GTI still has more than enough grunt to put a smile on your face.

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Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R in white

The Honda Civic Type R is a very serious car. It has serious performance that'll keep pace with many more powerful cars on real roads. It has serious handling, with endless reserves of grip and a ferocious front end that makes it feel like a touring car for the road. And, sadly, it now has a seriously big price tag to match its vast amounts of talent. If you can stomach the bill, however, this isn't just one of the best hot hatches you can buy – it's one of the greatest performance cars ever made. Almost nothing costing this side of six-figures goes, turns and stops like the Type R.

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Hyundai i20N

Hyundai i20N in light blue

Small hot hatch buyers now have yet another excellent choice to add to their shortlist – although not for long, because the i20N is only available as a used car now. The Hyundai i20N packs a 204hp turbo petrol engine into the brand's compact but sharply styled hatchback, delivering snappy acceleration when you put your foot down. On the open road it feels confident and composed, responding faithfully to your inputs, with just enough sophistication in the suspension that long drives aren't a chore. Passengers also benefit from Hyundai's infotainment tech, which is among the best in class with a big screen and clear graphics.

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Cupra Leon

Cupra Leon in silver

Having split from its former SEAT parent, the Cupra Leon can now lean into its sporty personality, so you get angular styling and a selection of powerful engines to choose from. You can have a fire-breathing 300hp 2.0-litre petrol for the fastest possible experience, or select one of the zippy plug-in hybrid versions with either 204 or 245hp – both delivering instantaneous acceleration thanks to the assistance of the hybrid motor. A simple, spacious cabin greets you when you climb aboard, and there’s the choice of a hatchback or the practical estate model. Or the Cupra Formentor, which blurs the line between hot hatchback and SUV.

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BMW 128ti

Hot hatches are meant to look a bit racy and stand out from regular traffic. The BMW 128ti delivers with big wheels popping out of its wheel arches and roguish red accents – although you can delete the red bits for a more restrained look. There are two hot hatch versions of the 1 Series, and we’ve chosen the less-powerful one for this list. Why? The 265hp 128ti is noisier, edgier and more fun than the four-wheel drive 306hp M135i. And fun is the most important measure of a hot hatch. But it still has a pleasing duality – it can be a back-road blaster like the Ford Focus ST, or a posh hatch like any other 1 Series.

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Toyota GR Yaris

Toyota GR Yaris in red

The Toyota GR Yaris is a homologation special – a hot hatch built from the ground up so the brand can take it rallying. It’s not a half-baked job by any means – the GR Yaris is the only model in the Yaris lineup that gets a chopped three-door body, a huge weight-loss diet and is the only version that includes a manual handbrake for *ahem* 'parking'. It's also unique thanks to the 1.6-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that's turbocharged within an inch of its life, mated to a real-deal manual gearbox and a rally-ready four-wheel-drive system. It's huge fun and a cult classic in the making.

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Audi S3

Audi S3 Sportback in yellow

While the Audi S3 doesn't actually sit at the very top of the brand's hot-hatch lineup – that honour goes to the rare, red-eyed RS3 – it's probably the better all-round choice. For a start, the S3 is more affordable and more common than its swifter sibling, and still has 310hp for lightning-quick acceleration. Handling is surefooted and unflappable thanks to the car's neutral handling and ultra-grippy quattro four-wheel drive. Plus, you get the typical Audi benefits in the cabin, with elegant materials and loads of on-board technology.

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Suzuki Swift Sport

Suzuki Swift Sport in red

It's easy to forget the hot hatch class used to be led by cheap, simple, lightweight cars. The Suzuki Swift Sport, however, serves as a perfect reminder. It's much more affordable than most of the options on this list, but still comes equipped with luxuries such as rear parking sensors, air conditioning, cruise control and a fully featured infotainment system. Between the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine and the 48V mild-hybrid system, the 129hp output might not sound impressive but, considering the car's low weight, it feels much nippier than you might expect.

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Mercedes-AMG A45 S

Mercedes-AMG A45 S driving

Still the reigning king of hot hatches, the Mercedes-AMG A45 S is one of the fastest cars the German brand sells. Its 2.0-litre petrol engine is boosted to a frankly insane 421hp, with all that power delivered to the ground via a rapid-shifting eight-speed auto gearbox and limpet-like four-wheel drive. The 0-62mph benchmark is completed in just 3.9 seconds – taking this family hatchback well into the realm of ultra-exotic supercars – while clever on-board computers and the car's aggressive aero package keep all four wheels pressed into the road. All this performance doesn't come cheap, however.

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Big thrills, small price

Motorpoint has thousands of nearly new and used cars for sale, with huge savings on their list price. Or if you don’t need practicality, check out our guide to the best sports cars to buy this year.

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