PH poll: best hot hatch

A hat-tip to PHer Matt Fullwood, AKA 300bhp/ton, for bringing to our attention a poll that’s been running in the PH forums to try and find PHers’ favourite hot hatch. A thorny question if ever there was one, hot hatches inspiring almost tribal loyalty and the source of more than one long-running rivalry.

And the winner is going to raise a few eyebrows. Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy? Nope. 205 GTI? Almost, but not quite. Golf GTI then? Even six generations of dominance isn’t enough.

Before it all kicks off a few words from Matt on the selection process. First it had to be a hatchback. Obvious enough there, and one hailing from the recognised A to C segments, “a straightforward way to prevent ‘coupe’ styled vehicles” says Matt. Engine location and configuration? Flexible, to include “some of the more eccentric offerings.” No restriction on which or how many wheels are driven either but it must have been a mainstream production model, limited run homologation specials accepted.

Fair play to those counting and attributing the votes too – “a challenging task” according to Matt. “We’ve endeavoured to separate individual versions of a model if they have been voted for separately,” he says. “However, the results have required sanitising in places to make them more meaningful. I hope this won’t offend but it has been a means of necessity.” The original thread can be found here.

So to the top 10, presented in reverse order…

10th place: Renault Clio V6
A hot hatch king, Renault kicks off the top 10 with about the maddest of the breed ever put into production

9th place: Renault 5 Turbo 2
Spotting a theme here? (Yes, we know the pic is of a Turbo 1...)

8th place: Honda Civic Type R (EK9)
A true purist’s hot hatch, the JDM only EK9 deservedly flies the flag for Japan in the top 10

7th place: Ford Escort RS Cosworth
A proper hot hatch? Sierra running gear, four-wheel drive and the rest will no doubt raise some controversy

6th place: Ford Focus RS
Early controversy over that diff have softened and the RS is held in high esteem

5th place: Renault Clio Williams
The third Renault in the PH readers’ top 10 and a true classic from the archives

4th place: VW Golf GTI (Mk2)
A strong finish for the second generation of hot Golf

3rd place: VW Golf GTI (Mk1)
Only third place for the car that invented the genre? Harsh but still a good result

2nd place: Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9
Surprise runner-up for the car many would consider the very definition of hot hatch credibility, notorious through a hedge backwards reputation included

1st place: Lancia Delta HF Integrale
Anticipating the outcry Matt says, after careful analysis of the results, the Integrale earns its place. “It may well be remembered as one of the most awesome rally cars of all time, but the vast majority of Integrales built were destined and intended for road use.”

And the rest of the best:
11th place:  Renault 5 GT Turbo
12th place:  Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy
13th place:  Renaultsport Megane R26.R
14th place:  Honda Civic Type R (EP3)
15th place:  Nissan Pulsar GTI-R
16th place:  Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6
17th place:  Talbot Sunbeam Lotus
18th place:  Peugeot 106 GTI
19th place:  Renaultsport Clio 172 and 172 Cup
20th place:  Peugeot 106 Rallye S1
21st place:  Peugeot 306 GTI6
22nd place:  Renault 5 Alpine Turbo/Gordini Turbo
23rd place:  Renaultsport Clio 182 and 182 Cup
24th place:  BMW 130i
25th place:  Ford Focus RS (Mk2)
26th place:  Vauxhall Astra GTE 16v
27th place:  Ford Escort RS Turbo S1
28th place:  Alfa Romeo 147 GTA
29th place:  Ford Focus ST
30th place:  Daihatsu Charade GTTI
31st place:  Citroen AX GT
32nd place:  Peugeot 309 GTI
33rd place:  Renaultsport Megane Trophy (current)
34th place:  Audi RS3
35th place:  Peugeot 306 Rallye
36th place:  MINI Cooper S JCW
37th place:  Renaultsport Megane R26
38th place:  Volkswagen Golf R32 (Mk4)
39th place:  Alfasud 1.5ti
40th place:  Fiat Uno IE Turbo
41st place:  Volkswagen Golf GTI MK5
42nd place:  Subaru Impreza WRX STI (3rd gen)
43rd place:  Renaultsport Clio 200 (current)
44th place:  Suzuki Swift GTI
45th place:  Ford Fiesta XR2 (Mk1)
46th place:  Fiat Strada 130 TC Abarth
47th place:  Suzuki Swift Sport
48th place:  Subaru Impreza Cosworth
49th place:  AMC Pacer (inc Carl Green Edition)
50th place:  Alfa Romeo 145 Cloverleaf

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Comments (350) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Countersteer 29 Oct 2013

    I thought the 309GTI would be higher and I don't see my Fuego Turbo in that list ;o) but other than that I'm pretty happy with the list. Of course, the Intergrale - I always forget the Intergrale....

  • 300bhp/ton 07 Oct 2012

    levinski2228 said:
    300bhp/ton said:
    So on that basis, could you confirm if these are hot hatches or not:

    Focus ST
    Focus RS MK2
    Focus RS500
    Audi RS3
    Golf -R
    Are you being serious ? lol, you know exactly which cars I'm on about, they wouldnt have been included because of price, insurance and running costs. This little list here is just taking the pee pee!
    Serious - yes.

    I think most people would accept the Focus ST is a hot hatch. However is the RS? Well in many ways it's just an ST with revised suspension, a bit more power and some styling tweeks. The major components are not radically different. However is the RS affordable? Debatable. But lets assume we are going to count the RS as a hot hatch too, how about the RS500, that is a highly unaffordable vehicle and as it was a highly limited production model it was not intended for the masses at all, but a very select few.

    But is the RS500 really not a hot hatch while the regular RS is, just because of price and some matt paint?

    I'm sure you can see my point, it's not about these cars specifically, but where and how do you draw the line to include some and exclude others as a hot hatch?

    Your email to me might have cited the Charade and the XR3i. Well what about the Escort RS Turbo? And in today's market is not an Abarth 500 or Mitsubishi Colt RalliArt not pitched at a similar point to the Charade?

  • Dave Hedgehog 07 Oct 2012

    300bhp/ton said:
    Dave Hedgehog said:
    The Obeast said:
    The irony being im a gushing sycophant whilst you are doing the same for mr Hedgehog. I dont care if i didnt see the original poll, the amount of folk getting at someone for a poll they started not cast all the votes in is sad. People may or may not be in agreement with the results, but its not 300s fault people voted the way they did. How dare i think rationally.
    the point was it wasnt a poll it was random scribblings (which i did contribute too)

    i have no beef with 300, personally i would have taken all the suggestions in the random scribble thread and produced a proper poll with one vote per person, might have got something meaningful from it then
    Thing is, a PH poll can only have 10 answers, which is a bit limiting, as how do you decide which 10 hatches to let people vote on? Maybe you could have 10 polls of 10 different cars, but ad I'm sure you'd guess that'd fall on it's face pretty quickly and still doesn't solve which cars to let people to vote for.

    You could try and and draw up a table for people to add votes too, but having tried this it really isn't worth the effort, mostly people don't read and actually put something not hugely helpful down, or it's too much work and they don't bother.

    If you want to custom decide a webpage for submitting nomonees and then voting on them, then please do so. Just send me a link when it's done wink

    get garlick to amend the site code so you can make a larger poll smile

  • levinski2228 07 Oct 2012

    300bhp/ton said:
    So on that basis, could you confirm if these are hot hatches or not:

    Focus ST
    Focus RS MK2
    Focus RS500
    Audi RS3
    Golf -R
    Are you being serious ? lol, you know exactly which cars I'm on about, they wouldnt have been included because of price, insurance and running costs. This little list here is just taking the pee pee!

  • Dusty964 07 Oct 2012

    What about the Porsche 928?

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