Used hot hatches: the best buys for less than £2000

As the hot hatchback, the new, £30,995 Honda Civic Type R is decent value for money. But for the same £2000 it costs to upgrade to the Type R GT spec, you can buy a whole used hot hatch.

A car for the same amount of money as the satellite navigation, dimming rear-view mirror and a handful of other trinkets cost. And far from today always convergent contenders, our rogues’ gallery of 10 quick and practical used car, each for two grand or less, includes a mixture of engines, configurations, and suction, with the irreducible-to quench the manual gearbox and hydraulic steering in abundance.

Honda Civic Type R EP3

For all its 316bhp, the latest Civic Type R is less than a second faster to 62mph than this EP3 – the first Swindon-built Type R, and the one that established the model for the UNITED kingdom as a convenient, reliable, practical and yet completely unhinged the hatch.

The EP3 is 0-62mph metric of 6.6 sec (for the survey) does not transmit the addictively bipolar power delivery of the 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine’s cam-switching mechanism, and the rhythm offers when pinned between 5000rpm and hilarious high 8500rpm redline. You don’t get that with the current or previous Type Rs, both of which trade instead on forced induction.

The EP3 is 144lb ft can be chickenfeed in the context of the 2017 of the turbo (you can get about the same from a 1.0-liter three-cylinder Civic these days) but, if nothing else, his outrageous top-end responsiveness and induction scream seem even more surprising, the narrow, dash-mounted, six-speed manual gearbox marshals the engine beautifully.

There is less spark elsewhere. Grip, body control and ride (gilded with the luxury of double wishbones on the rear) are all suitably impressive, as are the brakes, but too light, uncommunicative, and borderline-vague steering and a lack of regulation in the smoothed curve with the transmission edge. Steering and suspension revisions that were made in the course of large, end-2003 facelift, more involvement a bit – even if at the expense of the quality of the guide and also added an additional throttle sharpness. There is nothing to be saved by choosing an older car with our £2000 price limit, so that the new model is the one to go for. It is easily spotted via rock in clear plastic in the rear of the lenses, while the original sports only a small, round, clear patch.

While the new Civic Type R is only available in five-door, the EP3 is not with three. In fact, it is a much smaller car all round, but the space inside is good, as is the driving position, once set in Alcantara – centered, bucket seats. Don’t expect an excess of gizmos, though, but also the air-conditioning was an optional extra.

The annual £305 SEE bill stings a bit, as does a group of 34 rating of the insurance, but the maintenance (required every 12,000 miles) and the parts are reasonably priced, and the engine low-rpm efficiency means the consumption of fuel is approaching 30mpg should be possible with a mix of driving.

Today, the VTEC literally is not what it used to be, but the EP3 are economic and practical to go back to those days of glory.

Prices Clio 172

Renault Clio Mk1 has given the fabulous Williams model, but it is much more likely to find the love between the two ads one for less than two grand. So is the Mk2 Clio 172 for representing Renault, the masters of the contemporary hot hatch genre.

The big engine, small car of the formula gives the 172 a decent pace, but a lot to do with his attitude in the 1059kg weight in running order as its tractable powerplant. The 172 is extraordinarily agile, too, and the steering is talkative enough to justify an order to gag from today’s monotonous standard. You will also find examples of even more light 172 Cup and the 2003 is slightly more powerful 182 available within our modest budget.

Audi S3 Mk1

The oldest car here had the furthest to fall from its RRP, but now there are S3s for sale within the balance sheet.

The turbo, all-paw, the three-door Audi is competing with BMW for the quality, but since the Compact is often seen as one of Munich’s most ugly sisters, the S3 trounces for desirability. Not deliver the last word in the commitment, but it is quick, responsive to both throttle and steering, and have an excess of traction. It is also well-equipped, and you can even snare an uprated 225bhp car, introduced in 2001, for less than £2k. A great value for money.

Mini Cooper S R53

The concept of supercharging a hot hatch is an alien, one in 2017; the blown Toyota Yaris GRMN will be limited to a run freak, when it appears, in the month of December. But BMW has done wonders with the addition of a Roots compressor is the standard Cooper’s disappointing Tritec 1.6, offering a slab of torque, all the way from 2500rpm to 6000rpm that has made for in-gear pace unknown among classmates.

Notwithstanding the above, an upgrade of the chassis, the Cooper S handles with excellent responsiveness, control of the body, and the outlet only disappointed with the artificial – feeling steering. The ride is a little busy and the rear space is limited, but the beautiful cabin wins points back.

BMW 325ti Compact

There was a six-pot E36 Compact in the UNITED kingdom, in such a way that the E46 325ti was the first – and last – hot version of the three ports of the 3-Series sold here.

The silken six atypical state for the class, but the Double-VANOS variable valve timing ensures the high range punch to go with the refined and easily exploitable through the gearbox shorter than the E46 sedan. The 325ti is also 100 kg lighter than the equivalent four-door, and features are most targeted suspension and quicker steering, which helps to operate on its rear-drive set-up to provide exploitable agility – albeit subject to a noticeably firmer ride. Cabin space is good and of excellent quality for its category, in such a way that the haute hatch can play the ordinary game too.

Ford Fiesta ST Mk6

If insurance is a concern, there is comfort to be found here. The first Fiesta ST offers an award – containment 148bhp from a Focus of origin-Litre, twin-cam, gaining 5bhp with the help of a variable-intake system and sports exhaust, while the lower, firmer suspension, a body kit and 17in alloys give a sporty edge most of the cooking Festivals.

An accelerator responsive to the frame, in the order of the damping and the well-judged steering make up for the modest power output, and while the cabin is a bit simple, and the sitting position, as it was predictable, the high, this ST is fun, well equipped, spacious enough for four and good market for the service. Looking for a Mountune-fettled example, if you really need more oomph.

Seat Leon Cupra R Mk1

With his Volkswagen Golf GTI cousin, who suffers a dip in form, the Seat, grabbed the spotlight with the Cupra R, the most convenient examples of where you just sneak into our price range. Share engine spec with the original Audi S3, but manages to send all its 210bhp through the front wheels without the steering wheel having conniptions.

This is a low and more drive than the standard Cupra, with quicker steering, stronger brakes and a bespoke body kit. In-a change of pace and control of the body impress you, but the helm lacks feel and is too heavy at low speeds, while the cabin is normal, without optional Recaro seats. One from the Focus RS Mk1 school, then, but for a fraction of the price.

Peugeot 206 GTi 180

Loved in comparison with its 205 and 106 homonyms – and, therefore, it is much more inexpensive to buy – this is it, the most powerful variant of the 206 GTi.

Engine modifications, including variable valve timing, boosted power to 42bhp over the standard GTi, while the most rigid and sturdy suspension and a quick change of action particular to the package. 180 is missing the management of the brio of his illustrious ancestors, but it is fast, non-slip and easy to place and has decent body control. It is also well equipped and cheap to fix, and there are a lot of previously loved examples from which to choose, as an order, looking for 39,500-miler with a new timing belt that we found advertised for just £1950.

MG ZR 160

We are on the floor below the bargain basement now will have no difficulty finding a ZR 160 to more than £2000. Rover 25-based hatch is available with three or five doors, or, ironically, with the three-door, two-seater van, MG Express.

The ZR transformation was achieved via a body kit, lowered, made suspension and larger brakes, and the range topping 160 had the 1.8-litre K-series four-pot with variable valve timing FGM. Despite a sub-8.0 sec 0-60mph time, it doesn’t feel particularly fast, and while managing time is enough, there is little to be gained by pushing. Then there is the spongy brakes, and a terrible driving position. At least he rides well.

Volkswagen Golf 4Motion Mk4

Together with the sad Mk3, Mk4 Golf GTI barely deserves the ‘hot’ prefix, so it may not be included here for ethical reasons, and the Mk5 GTI is not regulated under our £2000 limit. Then we turn to the Mk4 4Motion: three or five doors, cross the 2.8-liter V6, and four wheel drive 204bhp and 199lb ft.

It has the potential to shine, then, but while the 4Motion is a quick, almost 150 miles per hour fast, in fact – and on-demand traction on both ends, which serves it well in bad conditions, it is surprisingly dull engine, sloppy body control and odd control weights leaves you with little appetite to have its neck wrung on winding secondary roads.

I prefer new? Try a payment plan

If the reliability concerns, a desire for the latest kit and the thought of a stranger’s Jelly Babies rot under the seats are too much to bear, your £2000 could be revived as a deposit against one of our favourite current hot hatches on a PCP finance deal.

The Golf R currently enjoys a € 1k contribution from VW, increase the deposit of £3000. For a manual three-door, with an annual allowance of 10,000 miles, you pay £526 a month for 35 months, with an optional final payment of £14,462 to keep the car. An extra three quid a month bags is a Ford Focus RS. There is no deposit and the donation of a payment to make, but you get 12,000 miles each year. The final payment would be £15,231.

Resizing a manual, three-door Mini Cooper S networks £1950 deposit contribution, compaction, monthly repayments of £256, possibly followed by a £8746 to keep the car. Or tricked – up Peugeot 208 GTi Peugeot Sport can be yours at € 274 per month after a £1200 discount and £ 2000 of a deposit “top-up”, with £9564 to pay at the end. Both operations involve 36 refunds and include 12,000 miles per year.

Related stories:

Volkswagen Golf R review

Honda Civic Type R review

Seat Leon Cupra R review