The world’s oldest car magazine and, if not the top-selling, the one often considered to be the most influential on other media – ran a major 100-special edition entitled ‘Britain’s Best Hot Hatch of All Time’. For those who are into their cars, you will recognise the five final contenders as some of the most highly-regarded examples of the genre to hit the road to date. But which one comes out on top?
Is it the Renaultsport Mégane Trophy R – a razor-sharp, track-focussed special edition derived from the previous generation French compact hatch?
No. It isn’t.
“Its rough ride and absence of rear seats means it can’t win here.” said Autocar. It came fifth out of the final quintet.
How about the legendary Ford Focus RS Mk 1 – featuring an enhanced version of the already brilliant Focus Mk 1 chassis, along with huge performance?
No. Not that either.
Okay… the latest Honda Civic Type R?
No, not when it comes to the title of ‘Best Of All Time’. Still, it’s always got its dramatic styling for people to talk about. A lot…
SURELY it must be the Peugeot 205 GTI 1.9 – an icon of the 1980s with lovely Pininfarina styling. A car that regularly jostles with the Golf GTI Mk I and Mk II for the title of best hot hatch of its decade?
Er… no. Sorry Peugeot. But you came a close second.
Not the Performance version, nor the outgoing Clubsport or Clubsport S. No, when it comes to the absolute greatest of all time, expert journalist Andrew Frankel ranks the standard, 230 PS GTI as quite simply the best.
“Should the Golf GTI beat the Peugeot, the car that has topped hot hatch polls time and again? You bet it should. I won’t have to look back in 20 years’ time to know that we’re living in a golden era for the hot hatchback because I know it right now. And after one day in a common or garden base-spec Volkswagen Golf GTI, you’d know it too.”
He went on to say: “So often when driving the Golf, you find yourself asking not why you should buy one, but why not.”