Vote for the best hot hatch of the last 25 years!

The sports car winner has been decided. Time to find out which is the best hot hatch since 1998…

By PH Staff / Monday, 20 February 2023 / Loading comments

That’s PH25 off to an amazing start, then, even if we do say so ourselves. There weren’t many complaints about the Lotus Elise S1 being crowned the greatest sports car of the past 25 years; it’s a seminal Lotus and a hugely important little car full stop. Not sure of its significance? Over to John to spell it out…

With sports cars done and dusted – at least until all the winners are together again – it’s time for a new category: hot hatches. We’d be staggered if this victory is as comprehensive as the Elise’s, given the multitude of brilliant cars that have launched in the last 25 years. PH arrived at a good time for the resurgence of the genre, in fact; while 1998 may only have been notable, really, for the 306 Rallye and Golf GTI Mk4 (only one of those made the cut), by the early 21st century the segment had rediscovered its mojo. You’ll find all the early 2000s heroes in here, from Civic Type R to Focus RS and 147 GTA to Golf R32.

It was really onwards and upwards from there, with a great Golf GTI returning a few years after that, the Renaultsport Megane coming good, the Vauxhall VXRs delivering great bang for buck fun and even the hot hatch oddball coming back: for our sins, we’ve even included the five-door Impreza…

Again, we’ve tried to cut the wheat from the generational chaff, but we’re fairly confident that all the very best hot hatches since 1998 have been included here. Anyone searching in vain for the really hardcore stuff can rest easy: we’ve merely shunted the hot lap specials to the forthcoming track car vote. Otherwise, whether your hot hatch preference is for light and simple like a Suzuki Swift Sport or four-wheel-drive and fearsomely fast like an Audi RS3, you’ll find the car on this list.

As with the sports car vote – and like all the PH25 polls, in fact – we’re not asking for just one choice. It would just be too difficult given the quality and the quantity of cars that have emerged over the past quarter of a century. Instead you can select your top three and we’ll tot up the high scorers for an overall winner. That’ll become the star of another epic PH25 video (fingers crossed for sunshine this time) ahead of the giant group test later in the year, which will be premiered at our big birthday party at Bicester Heritage.

Simple as that. Get voting!

See the shortlist and vote now

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