Hot hatches (sometimes known as hot hatchbacks in full) are a popular category of car, especially in the United Kingdom and Europe; they are also fairly popular in Australia and New Zealand, and to a lesser extent in the United States.
But why are hot hatches so popular?
What has led to this category of car becoming the vehicle of choice for many around the world.
We are big fans of hot hatches, so this was an exciting piece to research and write!
In today’s edition of Car Facts, we seek to examine some of the key reasons for the continued popularity of hot hatchbacks.
The Reasons For Hot Hatch Popularity
Let’s jump straight in, and look at why hot hatches are so popular with buyers across the world:
One of the key reasons why buyers love hot hatchbacks is that they tend to be affordable.
While there are exceptions (such as the top spec Renault Megane RS models that are made in incredibly limited quantities) the truth is that hot hatches provide an affordable, accessible way into good performance and fun for many buyers.
Although you clearly pay a price premium versus the “base” vehicle that you hot hatch of choice is built on, you still tend to get good value for money whether buying new or used.
Some companies, such as Volkswagen, also offer very competitive financing deals for new hot hatches like the Golf GTI and Golf R, depending on where you live. Whether you buy new or used is not our call to make – but whichever way you go, you should be able to find an affordable hot hatchback that ticks the boxes for your needs.
Most hot hatches tend to be relatively affordable to run as well, with acceptable running costs, decent fuel economy and so on.
Basically, you can buy and afford a hot hatch on a “middle class” income; to some extent the earlier hot hatches such as the MK1 Golf GTI and Peugeot 205 GTI made performance motoring more mainstream and accessible for the masses.
Practicality & Comfort
Another reason why buyers love hot hatchbacks is due to their practicality and comfort.
You will generally get five seats and a reasonable amount of space (at least on modern hatches – something like a new Golf GTI is a seriously practical car).
You will also get plenty of creature comforts and toys on newer hatches, although these may be much more limited on older examples such as Peugeot GTIs of yesteryear.
The underlying factor, however, is basically whichever hot hatchback you choose is going to have some element of usable practicality every day. Compare this with pure sports cars, which can often have no boot/trunk space, generally don’t have rear seats and often have interiors that make a Thai prison look accommodating (in the case of older sports cars, at least).
Driving Enjoyment & Performance
Another reason for the continued popularity of hot hatchbacks is the performance aspect – I.e. what makes them “hot”.
If you don’t care at all about performance, then just buy the base variant of a car and save a fortune on purchasing price and running costs.
However, if you want a car that is practical and comfortable and usable every day, but which is also fun and exciting to drive thanks to more power, better handling and greater driver involvement, then a hot hatch is the way to go.
You get a complete package that “does it all” with performance, power and handling to boot. Obviously this will vary a bit depending on which exact hot hatch you choose to purchase, but the general principle is that you are getting usable, “real world” performance that will put a smile on your face every time you turn the key.
Enough Is Enough For Most Of Us
In our opinion, one of the most important reasons for the continued popularity of hot hatches is the fact that – in many ways – they are “enough”, and “enough” is plenty good for many people.
While it can be tempting to think that driving a stripped out race car on the road would be fun, and that you would be able to make use of all that extra power and performance, the truth is you probably can’t.
With a hot hatchback (especially more modern examples) you get basically all of the performance you realistically need for real world driving, rolled into a convenient and practical package,
In effect, the hot hatchback is “enough” car for most buyers – and that is why they have become such a popular choice.
Conclusion – Why Are Hot Hatchbacks So Popular?
Ultimately, we believe that hot hatches are so popular these days because they really can “do it all”.
Take something like the Golf GTI – the quintessential hot hatchback (and the original one in Mk1 form).
You can buy something like a MK5 Golf GTI second hand for very reasonable money, and enjoy a vehicle that is:
* Fun and rewarding to drive, with good power and handling, even by modern standards
* Comfortable, which means you can easily enjoy it on a daily basis
* Practical – with a boot larger than many smaller SUVs
* Safe, with multiple airbags and other safety features
While many of us dream of having a garage full of multiple cars for every different purpose and occasion, the truth is that owning one car only is so much easier and more affordable.
Therefore, if you need a car that does it all, then a hot hatchback is the complete package; the “Swiss Army Knife” of cars.
Your Golf GTI, or Hyundai I30n, or Peugeot 308 GTI – or whichever hot hatchback you choose – will most likely be “enough” car. You get “enough” performance, “enough” space, “enough” practicality … the truth is that for most people and purposes, hot hatches really are the perfect choice and that is why they are so popular.
You also have great buying options both new and used. From absolute top-of-the-line performers like the new Mercedes A45 AMG, all the way down to 2nd hand bargains like the Fiat Stilo Abarth that you can pick up for less than the cost of a new iPhone, there are endless options.
At Garage Dreams, we are huge fans of hot hatchbacks of all types and styles – and we will continue to bring you news and buyer’s guides on this important category of car.
We would also love to hear your thoughts on hot hatches. Are you a fan? Or do you prefer other types of cars? If you are a hot hatch enthusiast, then what is your dream choice? Leave a comment below as we value your feedback and input!