It may never have been harder to pick a new hot hatch than it is today. With so many great options to choose from, especially for Europeans (and whatever UK residents call themselves now), choice paralysis must surely be at an all time high.
Fortunately, Top Gear is here with its latest YouTube video designed to help you make up your mind. Host Jack Rix you through seven of the finest hot hatches available today and what they’re good (and not so good) at.
The list opens, as should any list of hot hatches, with the Golf GTI. New for 2021, the GTI is based on the new Mk8 Golf platform and is, well boring. Not to drive (although at the upper limit it may be the least exciting), it’s just so good at being a car. It’s calm and practical when you need it to be, and fun when you want it to be and it’s the one you should go for if you have your sensible pants on.
Same goes for the S3, albeit with a bit more performance and class. But I’ve basically also described the Golf R. It’s getting harder and harder to tell these cars apart and the only thing that really makes the S3 better is the badge. But that’s a double-edged sword because everyone’s going to ask why you didn’t get the RS3. Mind you, neither the R nor the RS3 are available quite yet, so there’s your answer, I suppose.
If you’re into German lunacy, you could also go for the AMG A45 S. It’s as ridiculously fast as it is expensive. Speaking of ridiculous, there’s the Honda Civic Type R, which now comes in varying levels of lunacy. There’s the Sport Line, which gets rid of the Type R’s most ridiculous features or the Limited Edition, which turns it all up to 11. Good stuff.
If you’re more interested in a good time than you an impressive time, there’s the Fiesta ST. Despite being the least impressive on a timing sheet, it makes up for it by being a hoot and the least expensive here.
The Hyundai i30 N, meanwhile, might be the closest competition for the GTI in this video and went from nothing to serious contender in no time flat. The only problem with it is the rough ride and (chiefly) the badge, which Rix figures might still put some people off. Having driven the Veloster N, I can whole-heartedly agree with him that you’d only be doing yourself a disservice by avoiding it.
Finally, there’s the GR Yaris. It’s the one Rix and just about every UK journalist, including former BTCC champs, say you should go for. It may be the worst one here to live with, but will undoubtedly be the most fondly remembered in years to come.