How Hot Hatches Have Changed Over The Years

Since the 1970’s, hot hatches grabbed the attention and intrigue of those who aspired to put their motoring skills to the test whilst experiencing the thrill of racing but all without the dollar bills which usually is associated with taking on a hobby or sport within the car and motor racing platform. This opened up an arena for many to jump onto the race track with a high-performance but mass produced hatchback vehicle.

Best Hot Hatches

So let’s take a look at how these hot hatches developed over the last decade?


Simca 1100 Ti
Image credit: Wikimedia

In 1973, the hot hatch which stands most popular as the first produced, was the Simca 1100 Ti with upgrades such as disc brakes, front and rear spoilers as well as the alloy wheels. From the emergence of the hot hatch, it quickly became a popular integration of hatchbacks into the motor market.


Volkswagen Golf MK1 GT
Image credit: Flickr

By the time the 80’s rolled up, it was evident that hot hatches had made its mark in the motor segment and there were some very serious contenders such as the Volkswagen Golf MK1 GT as well as the Renault 5 Alpine/Gordini, specifically in the European market. As the segment grew and along did the performance of entering hatchbacks, by the end of the 80’s, the hot hatches were entering a global arena leading motor manufacturers into a market where hot hatches and hatches were being continuously produced.


Peugeot 306 GTi-6
Image credit: Wikimedia

As the last 20 years paved the way for the Ford Escort RS Cosworth and of course the Peugeot 306 GTi-6 to enter into this hot hatch arena. But, this was not without some Japanese involvement as the development of manufacturing normal sized hatchbacks in compliance with the regs; the 1997 Daihatsu Cuore TR-XX Avanzato R was welcomed.


As the millennium hit, it was clear as day on how quickly technology was driving us into dimensions of evolution and development, and it comes as no surprise that motor segments and the hot hatches followed the trend too. The increase of turbocharged engines, traction control as well as ABS brakes was introduced, and although due to certain legalities, it certainly did not decrease the value in the hot hatches which arose in the early 2000’s.

2010 onwards

Taking us straight into the last decade of hot hatches in the world, where the all-wheel drive became a hot topic for these hot hatches and the well-known contenders which emerged from 2010 onwards was:

  • Volkswagen Gold R
  • Audi RS3
  • Audi A1 Quattro
  • Renault Clio RS 200
  • Mercedes-AMG A45 and more

If we look at hot hatches in 2015 as well as today and then compare it back to the 1990’s for example; the raw application of what the hot hatch meant and how it could perform, be enhanced and modified, is simply too refined in today’s time to produce the raw and natural hotness the hatchback came in with originally.

Due to standards increasing and developing within safety platforms, the hot hatches we used to know and love just isn’t quite the same.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.