Never let it be said that here at Rear View Prints that we don’t appreciate all types of cars from all walks of life. Sure, it’s fun to daydream about which supercars we’d stock our fantasy garage, but what about the cars most of us are driving? That’s exactly what led us to this blog topic today – 5 of the best hot hatches ever made. We’ve watched over the years as the vehicle of convenience has gone from strength to strength, evolving into some amazing value performance cars that have become a staple of British roads and beyond. As always, this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, and no doubt this will be missing a vehicle you deem worthy of being here! If that’s the case, we encourage you to share your thoughts in the comment section below and join the debate.
Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1
Successor to the Volkswagen Beetle, the original Golf made a huge impact for hatchback cars around the globe. However, it was the Golf GTI derivative that really demonstrated the potential of hot hatches. The design was philosophy was simple; make a ‘sporty’ type golf that would combine practicality of the original family Golf with a slight performance edge. It’s fair to say the car was a hit, becoming an icon of the 1980s and remaining one of the most popular hot hatches today in its current form.
Fun Fact: GTI is an acronym for Grand Tourer Injection.
Ford Focus MK1
In 1998, Ford revolutionised the family car with the introduction of the Focus. For years to come, this car would become a staple not just on the public roads, but across the aisle in motorsport too. Its diversity as both a family and a successful rally car are two main reasons petrolheads consider it a modern classic. The Focus MK1 was an excellent foundation for the RS variant, a key performance version that launched in 2002 and further extended the brands popularity.
Fun Fact: Legendary rally driver Colin McRae gave the Focus its maiden victory in the 1999 Safari Rally.
Peugeot 205 GTI
Widely regarded as one of the greatest hot hatches of all time, the Peugeot 205 GTI remains a nostalgic example of when the French car manufacturer was more relevant. The iconic car launched in April 1984, with a 1.6-litre engine and a top speed of 116MPH. A few years later, the faster 1.9 version made its debut. To this day many car enthusiasts regularly debate which model is better.
Fun Fact: In 1992, Peugeot UK launched a special edition 1FM version to celebrate BBC Radio 1’s 25th anniversary. Only 25 were made.
Honda Civic Type-R
The Honda Civic Type-R, also known as the EK9, launched in 1997. It solidified the Honda Civic line as a true masterpiece of vehicle engineering, combining excellent reliability with exceptional performance benchmarks. If it were up to the author writing this article, the Civic Type-R would be crowned the best hot hatch ever made.
Fun Fact: The Honda badge for the Type R carries a distinctive red background to mark it out from other models.
Some people claim the Mini Cooper is the original hot hatch, although this is a hot topic for debate amongst fans, including those who love the Alfa Romeo Alfasud. Either way, the Mini Cooper is an iconic vehicle and combines the two staple characteristics of all great hot hatches; reliability and performance. The Mini Cooper has glamorous competition history, particularly during the 1960s where it won the Monte Carlo Rally three times. It went on to spawn the more powerful Mini Cooper S, but nothing will beat the romance of the original.
Fun Fact: The first Mini included a larger ashtray instead of a radio; as the designer was a heavy smoker and believed the radio to be an extravagant luxury.
Thanks again for joining us at Rear View Prints for another one of our blogs. You can find some of the cars mentioned above in glorious print form available on our storefront. Don’t hesitate to let us know what you think of the list, you can leave a comment below or catch up with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Until next time folks.