- We pick our favourite small hot hatchbacks 2019
- Featuring some of the best superminis on sale right now
- Which sporty supermini would suit your lifestyle and budget?
If you’re looking for a small hatchback with supercar-baiting performance, the competition is hot. Most manufacturers offer sub seven-second 0-62mph times and more than 150hp in their smallest cars. These superminis are still great to run for everyday use, however, with their hot performance not getting in the way of their practicality. There aren't many new hot hatchbacks on the market in 2019; several favourites are being upgraded and aren't currently available, but there are still some great small hot hatches to buy.
Ford Fiesta ST
The Ford Fiesta ST supermini was all new for 2018, with a 1.5-litre Turbo engine. 200hp in a small car is an impressive starting point, but Ford also introduced cylinder deactivation meaning it is economical too. Cheap to run, brilliant handling with selectable drive modes, class-leading technology and a great interior. All of these features can be taken for granted when paying more than £20,000. Highlights include partial leather heated sports seats and an upgraded stereo system. The Fiesta ST really does win the list of best superminis hands-down, and we were tempted to only have this car on the list. But there are other small hot hatches available if you don't fancy the Ford.
New price: £15,670 - £22,790
Lease this car from new: From £203 per month
Used price: £7,315 - £18,480
Typical used monthly cost: £180 - £456
Fuel economy: 47 - 47 mpg
Covers 0-62mph in: 6.7 seconds
Top speed: 140+mph
Spec secret: Seek out the Mountune upgrade. For £600 this kit gives the previous Fiesta ST another 15bhp and 30Nm, but also retains full manufacturer warranty and can be fitted at any time.
Volkswagen Polo GTI
VW took the Polo upmarket for 2018, and a new GTI is just around the corner. In place of the previous generation’s 1.8-litre there’s a 2.0-litre, 200hp turbo. Inside, the Polo can now be specified with VW’s Active Info display, and the boundaries of ‘small hatch’ are pushed further with 351 litres of boot space. Power is transferred to the road via a six-speed manual or optional seven-speed automatic. Keeping the GTI theme intact are red highlights inside and out, and Clark Tartan cloth seats.
New price: £14,240 - £23,160
Lease this car from new: From £192 per month
Used price: £9,305 - £19,760
Typical used monthly cost: £230 - £487
Fuel economy: 47 - 50 mpg
Covers 0-62mph in: 6.7 seconds (old model)
Top speed: 146mph (old model)
Spec secret: Find a car with the optional Sports Performance Kit – this allows the Polo to switch between firm, sporty suspension and a more comfortable set-up for longer distances.
Suzuki Swift Sport
Power outputs and sophistication continue to push the competition to a more mature feel, and the Suzuki Swift supermini remains a breath of fresh air for purists. The Swift Sport features a 1.4-litre turbocharged BoosterJet engine, producing 140hp, and a low weight of 890kg combined with a lowered ride height and more aggressively styled front bumper and skirts. Lightweight simplicity is a relative term here, and the Swift Sport is far from spartan. Sports seats, touch screen infotainment and switchable traction control ensure it is as easy to live with as the competition, but with the potential to be a truly joyful, affordable hot hatch.
New price: £12,504 - £18,504
Lease this car from new: From £143 per month
Used price: £6,520 - £14,840
Typical used monthly cost: £161 - £366
Fuel economy: 44 - 44 mpg
Covers 0-62mph in: 8.4 seconds (old model)
Top speed: 121mph (old model)
Spec secret: Later examples of the previous generation are a bargain currently, and remaining stock is sure to be discounted in anticipation of the 2018 model.
It’s difficult not to like the Abarth 595. Based on the cute Fiat 500, this supermini uses a zingy 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine across three states of tune to provide the performance, while thanks to a well-sorted chassis it’s a lot of fun to drive too. Thanks to a sporty exhaust it sounds great too, and the five-speed manual gearbox couples with the flexible engine to mean you don’t have to spend the entire time changing gears. You even get a clever Torque Transfer Control system which improves traction out of slower corners and a Sport button which makes the steering heavier.
New price: £16,145 - £22,795
Lease this car from new: From £223 per month
Used price: £5,970 - £16,910
Typical used monthly cost: £147 - £417
Fuel economy: 47 - 48 mpg
Covers 0-62mph in: 7.6 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
Spec secret: Competizione produces 180hp and 250Nm, propelling the 1,035Kg 595 to 140mph and reaching 62mph in just 6.7 seconds. An exclusive Record Monza quad-exhaust adds to the excitement, at the expense of refinement.
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*Prices correct at the time of publishing and are all subject to change