While not as popular as high horsepower muscle cars here in the US, the hot hatch class is an important staple of car culture. Everyone knows of the little hot hatches, and if you’re into performance driving, you’ve probably owned/driven one at some point.
It kinda makes sense that most driving enthusiasts will have experience with a hot hatch. It’s the perfect way to dip your toes in the water of spirited driving without losing practicality by buying a tiny, low slung coupe. That’s where the hot hatch class of cars shines. It combines your need for performance with the need for functional trunk space for groceries and other boring bullsh#t.
Now let’s talk about the performance aspect a bit. Hot hatches of today are no slouches. Yea, the hot hatches of the 80’s and early 90’s might have moved at half the speed of a hot fart floating across an empty room, but that is no longer the case. For example, the new Honda Civic Type R is getting zero to sixty times in the high four to low five second marks. That’s pretty goddamn quick. That puts this little hatchback in the same range as the Nissan 370Z NISMO, and not too far behind the Camaro SS’s 4.3 second time. Quarter mile and 0-100 times show a similar story. These hot hatches are no joke.
Speed is only half of the equation though. Handling is where the hot hatches have typically shined. The front engine, front-wheel drive layout of most hot hatches, along with increased emphasis on suspension tuning (even from the days of the first hot hatches), have worked incredibly well into creating fun, great handling hatchbacks. There is a reason that even older hatchbacks like EP3 Civic Si’s and MK IV GTIs are still found on tracks today, and it sure as hell ain’t because they’re fast. While they might be slower by today’s standards, those little hatchbacks shred through corners, while providing numerous smiles per gallon. There is another reason they are always around though…
Older hot hatches are also cheap as f@#k to buy. If you’re looking for a used hot hatch, it’s almost a certainty that you can pick up a fine example of an RSX Type-S (Integra Type-S for our international readers), GTI MK IV, Focus ZX3 or EP3 Civic Si with at least 130,000 miles on the clock for around $3,500 – $4,000 USD. They’ll have miles on them and maybe more than a few dings, but they’re still gonna run. If something does break on it, the parts are also cheap and plentiful. You can probably keep these little hatches going indefinitely without breaking the bank.
If you’re new into the car community and looking to get into something that is fun as hell, but don’t want to sacrifice the comfort and practicality of your daily driver, then seriously take a good look at the hot hatches for sale around you. Ignore the boring f@#ker saying “Why don’t you just get a Mitsubishi Mirage?” and the dude yelling “No replacement for displacement!!!” while jerking off to a picture of a Dodge Viper. Hit right in the middle of those two extremes with a hot hatch, and you’ll have a true performer and a comfortable daily driver.
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