Top 3 used practical hot hatches for £12,000

Since the hot hatch was introduced over four decades ago, the world has seen many otherwise ordinary hatchbacks transformed into genuine performance cars. All retain the key elements of their hatchback origins, meaning they’re practical and reasonably priced despite the driving thrills on offer. For buyers that want a performance car and a decent level of practicality with minimal sacrifice, the hot hatch is the perfect choice. Cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Fiesta ST and Renault Megane RS are among the very best hot hatches on sale today. Despite having extra power over the standard hatchbacks on which they’re based, most offer decent fuel economy when driven normally. Most hot hatches share a number of parts with the standard models too, so servicing and repairs aren’t significantly more expensive. Hot hatches usually feature sporty styling and larger alloy wheels to help differentiate them from less expensive models. Here, we’ve focused on slightly older models that offer speed and fun handling, along with excellent practicality and reasonable running costs. Image 2 of 10 For: Spacious, swift, comfortable and practical Against: The least exciting of these to drive Skoda ’s third-generation Octavia vRS shares it's underpinnings with the Golf GTI, but its less prestigious badge means you can get a lot more car for your money. The most recent version is out of reach at this budget, but you can comfortably get a Mk3 WRX STi, which comes with a 296bhp turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine, together with prodigious grip thanks to four-wheel drive. The Alcantara sports seats and STi steering wheel lift the ambience a little, but while rear-seat space is okay, the boot is tight, at 301 litres. Image 8 of 10 For: Subtle styling, sensible yet engaging drive Against: May be too common for some If the Impreza is just too extreme and the Octavia too staid, the Volkswagen Golf GTI could be something of a Goldilocks car: fast and exciting when you want it to be, but relaxing and comfortable when you don’t. Golf GTIs are also generously equipped and in plentiful supply, while a £12,000 budget comfortably stretches to the outgoing Mk7 model; a 2014 car with 53,000 miles on the clock can be had for £11,600. Its powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is complemented perfectly by a slick six-speed manual gearbox and composed, nimble handling.