You could view the concept of the "hot hatchback" as the greatest compromise in the automotive industry. At least four seats (in most cases), space in the back, good safety ratings carried over from the "normal" version and a force-fed engine up front. All the things you need plus one thing you want; power. They are the perfect car for people who are growing up, but still want to feel young. Sort of like college graduates.
A friend and I were debating last night about which hot hatchback we would have. I was in the MkVI GTI corner, while he was in the Mazdaspeed3 corner. That got me thinking. What are all the other hot hatchback choices for 2011 in America?
Turns out, there are five.
So, here are the top 5 (and only 5) hot hatchbacks for sale in the United States for 2011:
5. Volvo C30 T5
Already someone is throwing a fuss. "That isn't a hot hatchback! It's a friggin' VOLVO!" Sit down and shut up. Although maybe the coldest of the bunch, this is still a hot hatchback. First off, this is the only one of out the fiery five that has a fifth cylinder. Not only that, but it's closely related to the European Ford Focus RS engine. That's a great job reference. For the fact that it carries a turbo five-pot in a hatchback body, it has earned its place (barely) on the list.
4. Subaru WRX
"WHAT?! Only number four?! It's the fastest one on the list!! Who is this MORON?!" Yes, performance wise the Subaru WRX extinguishes all the other cars' flames. But, it is at number four because if you are going to buy a 2011 WRX you have to be completely brain dead to buy the hideous hatchback over the sportier saloon. Not only is it uglier, but it is slower. So, it is a hatchback and it is hot... but it should be just a saloon.
3. Mini Cooper S
This is quite possibly the best handling car out of the group. Chances are it's because the Mini is the smallest of the group as well. That does create some problems. Ever tried to sit in the back seat of a Mini? It doesn't work unless you're a toddler or an amputee. Because of its shortfall on true practicality, the Mini Cooper S finishes third.
2. Volkswagen GTI
The king. The godfather of hot hatchbacks. Wait... what is it doing at second place? The GTI is a handsome, solid car built from the finest German materials with the finest German hands. But, it loses to the winner in two big categories.
1. Mazdaspeed 3
The Mazda wins because of power and price. It trumps the GTI's 200-horsepower engine with its 263 horsepower engine. And, here is the real eye-popping fact. You get 63 more horses for almost a grand less. Yep, the Mazdaspeed3 starts at $21,851 and the GTI starts at $22,743. Because hot hatchbacks are all about "bang for the buck" the Mazdaspeed3 is your hot hatchback winner.