Top 10 Hot Hatches You Could Actually Buy In 2009
Buying a car is not the easiest thing in the world when you want your car to be close to perfection. Oh yes, people say that if the money aren’t a problem then things are getting easier, but if it is to ask me, things are getting more complicated when your bank account is almost “unbounded”. So, the hot hatch option is the most plausible one for all of us. If you are the sporty kind of guy or if you want a car for your family or both, the hot hatch is the perfect choice. We all love them.
During past days I was wondering which one is the hottest hatch in the world nowadays. And I wasn’t thinking at long forgotten models like Lancia Delta Integrale, Ford Escort Cosworth or Reanult Clio Williams. No, I was wondering which the best hatch is if you would want to buy it tomorrow. So, I took a pencil and a sheet of paper and made a list. I rallied ten cars, but my dilemma was which one is the best. I made a top ten not taking my eyes off performance and price. That’s how my top 10 hot hatches look like:
#10 Honda Civic Type R
This is a nice Japanese car, and for $30,000 it can be yours. A little too expensive for what the Civic Type R can offer. Powered by a naturally-aspired, high-revving 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine that can propel Honda’s hatch to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, the car seems pretty fast, but in fact it isn’t. Its 198 bhp and 142 lb-ft of torque will help you do some insane takeovers, and hit a maximum speed of 146 mph, but it is not enough to make the Civic my hottest hatch.
#9 Mini John Cooper Works
The 2009 version of the Mini John Cooper Works is… hmmm “mini.” It’s mini on the interior, mini on the exterior, mini under the hood, but “maxi” in spirits. It’s a great all-rounder, retro and futurist, docile and aggressive, all in the same time. Under the hood you’ll find the 1.6-liter turbocharged 211 bhp engine, which – on this model and not only – converts any mannered lady into an alpha male and any real man into “The Little Match Girl.” Going from 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds and with a maximum speed of 147 mph, the big boy’s toy, the Mini John Cooper Works goes straight to the number 9 position of the Top 10. Oh, I almost forgot, it will cost you $28,000, but you will get a small sport car that really shines.
#8 Opel Astra OPC
The car made by the German automaker with the headquarters located in Russelsheim, Germany is the oldest model that features in the Top 10. Being GM’s largest European brand, Opel accustomed us with great cars during almost 100 years of tradition and the Opel Astra OPC, first introduced in 2005, makes no exception. It costs somewhere around $40,000, but the performances come close to justify the price. With an inline-4 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that develops 240 bhp and 236 lb-ft of torque available at around 2,400 rpm, the Astra OPC occupies the 8th position of the Top 10. With an acceleration of 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 152 mph the Astra OPC is able to put in balance the day-by-day drive with the adrenaline. So, here we are we are facing an apparently nice car, apparently worthy of a higher place on the list, but check out what’s coming in front of it.
#7 BMW 130i M Sport
With a inline-6 3.0-liter naturally-aspired engine that unleashes 265 bhp and a torque of 232 lb-ft at 2,750 rpm, the BMW 130i M Sport holds a lamentably 7 place in the “Top 10 hot hatches you could actually buy in 2009.” Why is that? First because of the price ($45,000, come on, give me a break), second, because it is ugly (sorry 130i M fans) and because it has an awful RWD that makes this car inapplicable during winter. The 130i M’s performances are way better than a 7 place: 0-60 mph in 6 seconds, and top speed of 155 mph, but because of the reasons I just mentioned, the car makes it only behind number 6.
#6 Renault Megane R26.R
I personally loved the F1 Team limited edition that Renault introduced in 2006, but since that car is not available for buying anymore, I’ve chosen the 2009 Megane R26.R model – soon to be replaced by the new Renaultsport Megane that is announced as the hot hatch of 2010, but that’s another story – to be my number 6. Even though that roll cage makes the R26.R not-a-day-by-day-car, it holds the record for the fastest lap on the Nurburgring track for front wheel drive production car with a time of 8 minutes, 17 seconds, being the reason for its presence in the top. With a price of $38,000 you will get a turbocharged 2.0-litre 225 hp engine that pushes the car to 60 in 6 seconds and stops the speedometer at 147 mph. It is a nice car, but don’t buy it if you have a family with more than one member.
#5 Mazda 3 MPS
Here we are at the half of the top with the Mazda 3 MPS 2009 model (known in US as Mazdaspeed 3) on the 5th position. If the previous models were screaming “I’m more aggressive than I look” the Japanese changed things 360 degrees with their 2009 model. That scoop on the hood shows MPS’ aggressive character, also bringing some airflow to the turbocharged 2.3-litre engine. Tagged $35,000, the 260 bhp hatch will be the perfect car for having some fun. Push the paddle to the metal and in 6.1 seconds you will be driving with 60 mph. Continue doing that and you will hit 155 mph. This is what Mazda likes to call extreme zoom-zoom.
#4 Audi S3
The counting down continues with Germans’ 4WD hatchback, the Audi S3. The 2.0-liter TFSI engine has 265 bhp and pushes this amazing machinery to 60 in just 5.5 seconds thanks to the Quattro system we all love. With a weight of 3,207 lbs, the S3 tops 155 mph (electronically limited, because I am sure it can do better than that). Owing a car like the S3 means fun, when you want to drive it fast, and comfort when comfort is what you need. If I am supposed to speak about details I personally like S3’s steering wheel with its splay bottom end. With lighting-fast reactions and a sporty interior atmosphere, this car offers you dynamism and driving pleasure. It costs around $45,000, but, unfortunately, the Audi S3 is not available on the North American market, even so it holds a respectably place 4 on my top 10.
#3 VW Golf Mk VI GTI
Introduced this year, the Golf GTI do not impresses with extraordinary power, having only 210 bhp from a VW TSI inline-4 turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. The 0-60 time is also not impressive (6.9 seconds). But the technology the Wolfsburg-located automaker used for their 6th Golf generation propelled the car to the 3rd position of the top 10. Featuring strut with anti-roll bars front suspension and multilink with anti-roll bars in the rear one makes your ride a dream. The electronically DSX differential and the paddle-shifted DSG transmission make the Golf GTI a worthy owner of a 3rd place. The car is nothing if not simple and beautiful, just like how the original Mk I VW GTI engineers envisioned 36 years ago. Buy one, have one, enjoy one.
#2 Ford Focus RS
We are approaching fast to the top position of the list, but before I get there, I will stop for a while and let you know why the 2009 model of the Ford Focus RS is the runner-up. But first, let me give you some numbers : 305 bhp@6,500rpm, 295 lb-ft@4,500, 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 163 mph, all these from a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine. A magnificent FWD car thanks to the “RevoKnuckle” system. The RS it’s almost perfect. You can drop your kiddo at school and then unleash the beast, but be careful, his teacher might accuse you of “irresponsible behavior.” After 3000 rpm everything explodes and I am sure that a simple sentence can’t express that. It’s the car you must certainly have in your garage and if you get one let it be the “Bacardi Breezer” green. For all these pleasure you will only have to pay about $50,000 – making the Focus RS the most expensive car of the Top 10 – but hurry up it will only be 8,000 pieces of it.
#1 Subaru Impreza WRX STI
This is the hottest hatch that you can buy in 2009. It’s simply amazing. Amazing power, amazing acceleration, amazing everything. The Japanese from Subaru really did it this time. They made a WRC car be perfect for day-by-day drive. This is a great piece of enginery. The WRX STI is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, which supplies the car with 305 bhp and a torque of 290 lb-ft. This car has a stunning acceleration of 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds (if that can be called “stunning”). With the same neck-breaking acceleration you get to a top speed of 155 mph, of course electronically limited. The adjustable differential lets you set the 4WD just how you like it. There can’t be better hatches than this one, and since I saw one smoking an R8 I irrecoverable fall in love with the Impreza WRX STI. She is the perfect big boys’ toy, and if some other insane Japanese don’t do the same with another car, it will stay so for a looong time.
Do not hesitate and let me know if I overrated some cars or if I underevaluated others.