Hyundai’s first hot hatch put the cat among the pigeons when it arrived six years ago, just as the i30 range as a whole had done when it made its debut almost a decade before. Nobody associated Hyundai with enthusiast cars, but the i30 N quickly changed those perceptions. 

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With a 271bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and a chassis that felt as if it could take more power, this unlikely hot hatch was fast, well made, great value and handled superbly. The market isn’t awash with used examples, but there are enough 40,000-mile cars on sale to go round.

Positives Negatives
Sensibly priced Drab interior
Brilliant dynamically Tight rear legroom

Honda Civic Type R

  • We found: 2.0 Type R GT, 2017, 24k miles
  • Years produced: 2015-2017
  • Engines available: 2.0T

The regular Honda Civic is about as unexciting a car as you’ll find, so what the firm achieved in creating the Type R is little short of miraculous. Known as the FK2, this generation of Type R was the first with a turbo, which was enough for 310bhp and 0-62mph in less than six seconds. 

Crucially, the Type R retains the usability and reliability that make the regular Civic appealing. On sale here for just 18 months, these Type Rs aren’t plentiful and those that are available are almost exclusively the GT edition, which adds climate control, parking sensors and sat-nav.

Positives Negatives
Incredible dynamically Not very discreet
Very accessible performance Poor infotainment 

Mercedes-AMG A 45

  • We found: 2.0 auto, 2017, 6k miles
  • Years produced: 2013-2018
  • Engines available: 2.0T petrol

With a massive 360bhp on tap, the A 45 AMG featured the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine when it arrived in 2013. But that was just the start of the story, because the German hot hatch deployed that power to great effect, thanks to its standard 4Matic all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox. 

With hatchback usability and typically excellent Mercedes build quality, this is one of the quickest hot hatches around (capable of 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds). And best of all, the whole family can come along for the ride, too.

Positives Negatives
Incredible grip Harsh ride
High quality interior  Costly to buy and run

Best cheap hot hatches 

Read more of our guides to cheap used cars…

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