SIX OF THE BEST? FORGOTTEN HOT HATCHES
We gather together a sextet of hot hatches that we reckon deserve more recognition than they usually get...
If we were to ask you, off the top of your head, to rattle off the names of a few hot hatches, your list of shopping-trolley-turned-performance-cars would probably include at least some of the following: the Mk1 Golf GTI, the Peugeot 205 GTI, the Escort XR3, The Astra GTE, The Civic Type R or the Focus RS.
The idea formed when we tried to come up with a list of cars with which to compare our PH Fleet Seat Leon Cupra R. Now, we could have plumped for the obvious 'get a load of contemporary fast hatches and call it a group test' option, but we're not What Car? so we didn't. And besides, a large proportion of the Seat's current rivals are VW Group products, so there wouldn't have been all that much engineering variety on offer.
We quickly realised that, however much we like the Leon Cupra R, it is not a superlative performer in any one area. As such, when the history of hot hatches of the 2010s comes to be written it will be easy to forget the bright yellow beast from Barcelona. And here the light-bulb moment happened: we would compare it with a gaggle of other forgotten hot hatches.
a fevered forum thread, where everything from a Daihatsu Charade GTti, to an Alfasud, to an MG Maestro (and an astonishing amount of stuff in between) was suggested as a possible candidate.
The eclectic mix of stuff you see here is a result of those options suggested that we could a) find and, b) get together on the same day. And with everything from a bespoke V6 Beetle to a hydropneumatically suspended Citroen BX, it's certainly an eclectic mix...
Pics: Nick Williams
Philip - Alfa Romeo 145 Cloverleaf
Top speed: 129mph
Read more about Philip's Alfa Romeo 145 Cloverleaf
Steve - MG ZS 180
Top speed: 139mph
Read more about Steve's MG ZS 180
Tony - VW Beetle RSi
Top speed: 140mph
Read more about Tony's VW Beetle RSi
Richard - Citroen BX 16v
Top speed: 135mph
Read more about Richard's BX 16v
Ian - Skoda Octavia vRS
Top speed: 144mph
Read more about Ian's Skoda Octavia vRS
Riggers (on behalf of RacingPete) - Seat Leon Cupra R
Top Speed: 155mph
Read more about RacingPete's Seat Leon Cupra R