Britain loves a hot hatch. Ever since the original Volkswagen Golf GTI landed on these shores back in the 1970s, a nation of petrolheads fell in love with the notion of a car that could offer bags of performance while also being able to ferry the kids to school.
Since then, every manufacturer under the sun seems to have had a crack at the much-loved formula — with some pulling it off better than others. The result is a market flooded with practical, but seriously punchy, machinery.
We’ve picked out some of the best hot hatches you can find on the used market for less than £10K. Before any arguments kick off, they’re listed in alphabetical order rather than in any kind of ranking…
Abarth 500 (2008 – 2015)
It may have the looks of a regular Fiat 500, but the Abarth 500 is a totally different beast altogether.
This playful little thing will happily carve up any tight road you throw at it and keep up with cars that may well look more the part in the process. Matching its performance is a real “look at me, I’m really a Ferrari” exhaust note, too.
Within our £10k budget, you can cast your Abarth net far and wide, with both hatchback and convertible versions available. But for best performance, keep an eye out for the desirable and rare Abarth 500 Essesse models from early in the car’s production run — which get more power and improved chassis components from the factory.