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Top 10: £1500 hot hatches in 2021

Not everyone in the market for a classic hot hatch has sufficient funds for an immaculate MkI Golf GTi. It’s one of the most iconic models in today’s modern-classic market, and its current asking prices reflect this. But don’t despair, because even with a budget of just £1500 it’s possible to go the hot hatch route.

Alright, so the models featured here aren’t the most famous hot hatches, nor are they all among the most successful. But they’re fun to drive, cheap to buy and entertaining to own – which is surely what proper hot hatch motoring is all about? Check out our go-faster bargains – and let us know which one appeals the most.

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Volkswagen Golf MkIII GTi

We couldn’t run a hot hatch feature without giving the Golf GTi a mention, even if a budget of £1500 means that the most iconic models are well beyond our reach. Happily though, the MkIII is still available at bargain prices, although it’s best to avoid the regular 8v version thanks to its fairly lowly 115bhp output. By comparison, the GTi 16v pushed out a respectable and entertaining 150bhp, while the V6-engined VR6 boasted 174bhp – increased to 190bhp in later years. You might struggle to find any VR6 for £1500, but a GTi 16v is achievable – as well as a sensible proposition.

Read our VW Golf MkIII review here


Andrew Hosking    on 2 May 2017

Only one worth having on that list - IMHO is the Pug 306 & im generally not much of a Pug fan,but that & the 205 were obviously easily their best hot hatches.
As mentioned - a 8v Mk 3 Golf GTi is a complete was of time,both my brother & parents owned one,after owning mk2's - both regretted it - particularly my Dad,who said iit was one of the worst cars he ever own he said the 1.4 Polo he owned after wasn't any slower!! My bro went the other way & changed to a VR6. I wisely stayed clear and bought an early A3 1.8 Sport - although it didn't perform like my old Mk 2 Golf,I agree that the most worthwhile mk 3 is a 16v (preferably an anniversary model) or a VR6 Highline.

Andrew Hosking    on 2 May 2017

306 was the best in that list - although I'm no Pug fan.
Agree - Mk 3 Golf (8v) was a complete waste of time!

grumpy1    on 2 May 2017

You omit the 306 Rallye, a lighter and cheaper version of the GTi-6. Shorn of toys, totally reliable and surprisingly versatile for such a small vehicle, it was in almost every way brilliant and by a distance the quickest, most agile and enjoyable drive of the many cars I have owned and sampled, besides being enthusiastically praised in a review by the great Clarkson. Astonishingly for such an incredibly good car, Peugeot spent not a single penny advertising it, and withdrew it a year after it was introduced.

Andrew Hosking    on 4 May 2017

It was almost like they didn't want to sell them,as they made more money selling GTi-6. I agree - great car,but as mentioned - they could've given it air con or a sunroof in the more modern era. I looked at one,to replace my ageing mk 2 Golf GTi - as I couldn't bring myself to buy the shed on wheels that was a mk3 Golf GTi! I ended up buying a less entertaining but solid early A3.

Edited by Andrew Hosking on 04/05/2017 at 12:19

Andrew Hosking    on 4 May 2017

Too shorn of toys - should've kept a leather steering wheel & had air con or a sunroof
Price was too high compared to GTi-6 for the "toys lost" IMHO ......

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