When you picture yourself driving a sports car, you might imagine yourself sitting in something with two seats, a big V8 under the bonnet, and maybe a convertible to make the most of that summer sun. That dream, however, is ruined when you think of that big thirsty engine that incurs high fuel costs, the fact that you occasionally need to carry more than one passenger, or should you need a boot space that can hold more than a couple of small shopping bags.
Enter the hot hatch!
Europe, and more specifically, Britain, are absolutely in love with them, and it’s hard to disagree.
What would you say if you were offered a car that had nearly 300 bhp, could do 0-100 km/h in less than 6 seconds and give you 12.82 km/litre of fuel burnt during the morning commute?
Well, that is what is on offer with some of the following hatchbacks that I’m about to introduce!
You may have to make do with five doors instead of three doors; but you get five seats, decent boot space, and all the usual creature comforts for no more than the price of a mid-size sedan.
Here are three options to consider if you’ve got that sports car itch but still need a practical daily driver.
Vauxhall Astra GTC VXR
Having only arrived in 2011, the GTC is a fairly new name on the hot hatch scene but the Astra has been around for many years and is well known for having more than its fair share of power. This new version comes with a 2.0 turbo engine producing 280 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. It has an electronically limited top speed of 249 km/h and will manage a very economical fuel consumption of 15.3 km/litre. It also has a very capable limited slip differential to keep everything behaving as it should, which is a must when you have that much power going through the front wheels. Head down to your nearest Vauxhall Dealer, and you’ll notice that it’s not the subtlest of beasts as it won’t go unnoticed in a car park full of the usual three and five-door hatchbacks. Then again, VXRs have never been restrained and is a vehicle for those that like a car that looks as good as it goes.
Honda Civic Type R
One of the most well-known names in the hot hatch industry is the Civic Type R and it pays homage to its Japanese heritage in true Fast and Furious style with aggressive body kits and a huge rear wing.
You might have heard the familiar cry of the boy racers screaming “VTEC yo!” but those days are now gone. In 2015, Honda bowed to the prevailing trends and manufactured their first turbo-powered Civic Type R. It boasts a whopping 306 bhp and 406Nm of torque, all of which goes through the front wheels via a limited slip differential but not eliminating that dreaded torque-steer. It’ll manage 0-100 km/h in a claimed 5.7 seconds (although real-world tests managed it in 5.2 seconds) and has a top speed of 283 km/h.
Volkswagen Golf R
Possibly one of the most grown-up hot hatches available in the market, the Volkswagen Golf R is distinguishable to the knowing eye by the two twin exhaust tips at the back of the car and its huge 19-inch wheels. The Volkswagen Golf R sports a 2.0 turbo engine which puts out 306 bhp and 401 Nm of torque. It will manage 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds with a manual transmission or 4.6 seconds with the optional DSG. Limited to a top speed of 249 km/h the Volkswagen Golf R has a Haldex four-wheel drive system; which means that more power can get to the road giving better traction in the corners.
Well, there you have it; three ways to get supercar performance with all the practicality of a family run-around. All the cars have an average fuel consumption in the mid-30s, so there’s no reason not to treat yourself, just make sure you keep your new pride and joy protected.