Hot hatch comparison guide

How can you compare different hot hatch models in Australia? Find out in our hot hatch comparison guide.

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The term "hot hatch" is a shortened and more common version of "hot hatchback". This style of car first came into existence in the late 1970s, although people didn't start using the term "hot hatch" until the mid-80s. Hot hatches are a type of sports compact car and – along with some sports coupes – can also be classfied as a sports sedan.

What is a hot hatch?

A hot hatch is a hotted-up, high-performance version of the family hatchback. Based on the ever-popular family hatchback style and layout, a hot hatch boasts all the features of a typical hatchback, including an upwards-opening hatch-style rear door that provides access to ample storage space in a shared compartment with the rear passenger seats.

While a hot hatch shares the same basic layout as a family hatchback, including a forward-mounted petrol engine and front-wheel-drive powertrain, it usually surpasses the family hatchback when it comes to engine power, suspension, wheel and tyre size and aerodynamics.

Not all hatchback-style sports cars strictly fit the definition of a hot hatch, especially if they aren't based on an upgraded version of an existing family hatchback model.

Compare hot hatches

Updated February 26th, 2020
Name Product Boot displacement ANCAP rating Price (from) Finder Score Read review
Hyundai i30 N
381L
5 stars
$26,490
86.25%
Ford Focus RS
316L
5 stars
$50,990
81.67%
Audi RS3
335L
5 stars
$80,240
80.33%
Renault Megane RS
434L
5 stars
$44,990
79.67%

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The features of a hot hatchback

Although hot hatchbacks vary depending on the make and model, most hot hatch cars share the following features:

  • Three or five doors. Hot hatches come with either three or five doors and include rear passenger seats.
  • Hatch-style rear door. It is the upwards-opening rear door that truly defines a hatchback – whether it's a hot hatch or a family model. Unlike sedans, the boot area of a hatchback is a shared compartment with the main passenger area.
  • Front-wheel drive. The majority of hot hatches are front-wheel drive, although rear- and all-wheel-drive hot hatches do exist.
  • Petrol powered. Some hot hatches are diesel powered, but the majority of hot hatches run on petrol.

The benefits and drawbacks of a hot hatch

Benefits

  • Affordable at entry level. While top-of-the-line hot hatches carry a correspondingly top-shelf price tag, entry-level hot hatches can be surprisingly affordable.
  • Storage space. As a form of hatchback, the hot hatch has all the benefits that come with the upwards-opening rear door and collapsible back seats.
  • Practicality. Storage space is one thing, but hot hatches also match the practicality aspects of their family hatchback counterparts. Parking a hot hatch is just as effortless as parking a family hatchback, as is navigating through city streets or reversing into a tight spot.
  • Speed. As a hotted-up version of the family car, you're paying for performance as much as you're paying for practicality and aesthetics. Top-level hot hatches can rival the speed and performance of any sports car.
  • Fuel efficiency. As a lightweight smaller vehicle, hot hatchbacks boast some of the best fuel efficiency on the market today.

Drawbacks

  • Understating. If you're spending the extra money to get a hotted-up version of a regular family hatchback, you'd probably like your new car to look the part. Although this doesn't apply to all hot hatches, some hot hatch models are almost indistinguishable from their family hatchback counterparts. Whether this truly is a drawback of a hot hatch will depend on the model you choose and whether you're looking to make a statement with your hot hatch purchase.
  • Passenger seating. While hot hatches have a row of rear passenger seats, the overall short length of the car translates into limited legroom in the back seat. This may not be an issue if you'll only occasionally have multiple passengers in the back seat or if you've got a young family, but if you're transporting multiple adults or long-legged teenagers, it won't be long before they're feeling cramped and uncomfortable.
  • Long-distance difficulties. High-end hot hatches boast firm suspension to give them the sporty power you'd expect in that price range, but the same feature can make long-distance travelling a chore, particularly over uneven surfaces.

How to compare hot hatch models

When comparing hot hatchbacks, consider the following:

  • Price. As with most vehicle types, the cost of purchasing a new hot hatch will vary greatly depending on the make and model you choose. Entry-level hot hatches can be surprisingly affordable, while top-of-the-line models can be as expensive as any other sports car. Set your budget before you start test driving, and remember that some makes – like the Mini, for example – have a higher price set point than other makes, regardless of features.
  • Features and accessories. Hot hatch models boast a number of impressive features, making it easy to be blindsided by the bells and whistles when comparing hot hatch models. From 18-inch alloy wheels to cruise control, multi-zone air conditioning, LED running lights and inbuilt infotainment systems, there's plenty to choose from when it comes to hot hatch accessories. Make a list of your accessory non-negotiables and nice-to-haves to help you narrow down your choices.
  • Passengers versus storage. How many passengers will you regularly be transporting in your hot hatch? Hatchbacks make room for a row of rear seats, but – unlike their sedan counterparts – rear legroom can be limited. Also remember that you will need to collapse or remove your rear seats in order to maximise your storage space, so you can't transport five adults and their suitcases all at the same time.

Are hot hatch cars worth it?

Is a hot hatch really worth it? Everything will come down to what you're looking for in a car and how you plan to use it. If you love the convenience and practicality of a hatchback but aren't looking for performance features, a family hatchback would probably be the more sensible and affordable choice. If you're unlikely to invite additional passengers on your trips and are looking for something sportier-looking, a more traditional sports car could be the way to go.

However, if you want to combine the affordability, fuel efficiency and storage flexibility of a family hatchback with the power, performance and comfort of a sports car, a hot hatch could offer all the features you're looking for. Surprisingly affordable at the lower end and not so flashy that they'll attract unwarranted attention, a hot hatch is as easy to manoeuver in cramped areas as a typical hatchback and as fun to drive as a more traditional sports car.

Compare hatchback finance

Updated February 26th, 2020
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From 5.19% (fixed)
6.08%
$5,000
3 to 7 years
$655 (Includes PPSR registration and private sale fee, if applicable)
$0
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.19% p.a. to 19.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $50,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

Loans.com.au - New Car Loan
From 4.89% (fixed)
5.44%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$400
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment.
RACV New Car Loans
From 5.69% (fixed)
6.39%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.69% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan
5.49% (fixed)
5.73%
$25,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.49% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From 4.69% (fixed)
5.64%
$10,000
3 to 7 years
$700 (for private seller vehicles this fee is $608)
$9
You'll receive a fixed or variable rate depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $100,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
IMB New Car Loan
5.45% (fixed)
5.8%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
$250
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.45% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From 4.79% (fixed)
5.34%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$400
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.79% p.a. with a comparison rate of 5.34% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

RateSetter Car Loan
From 4.69% (fixed)
6.03%
$10,000
3 to 7 years
$499 (from $499)
$9
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.69% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a RateSetter Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
NRMA New Car Loan
From 5.69% (fixed)
6.39%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.69% p. a.
Purchase a new car with this loan and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Jump Payments Car Loans
From 4.69% (fixed)
5.51%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$295 (Varies by lender, starting from $295)
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.69% p.a. and comparison rate from 5.51% p.a.
Borrow between $5,000 and $250,000. Get access to customised finance options.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79% (fixed)
7.16%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$265 ($175 Establishment Fee + $90 Security Administration Fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
Australian Military Bank Car Loan
From 5.71% (fixed)
6.57%
$4,000
1 to 7 years
$500 (from $100 to $500)
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.71% p.a. and 8.66% p.a. based on your personal credit history
A flexible loan to help you finance a car, motorbike or boat up to five years old.
MyState Bank Secured Fixed Rate Personal Loan
From 5.99% (fixed)
6.63%
$10,000
1 to 10 years
$200
$5
You’ll receive a fixed rate of 5.99% p.a. ( 6.63% p.a. comparison rate ).
Apply for up to $75,000 available with asset security. Only good credit applicants can apply for this loan.
Westpac Car Loan
8.49% (fixed)
9.67%
$10,000
1 to 7 years
$250
$12
You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.49% p.a.
Finance a new or used car and benefit from convenient features for car buyers including a car search tool and the option to borrow extra for on-road costs.
St.George Secured Personal Loan - Fixed Rate
From 8.49% (fixed)
9.6%
$3,000
1 to 5 years
$195
$12
You'll receive a fixed rate from 8.49% p.a. based on the value of your car
Get a competitive rate and apply for a larger loan up to $80,000 when you attach a new or used car as security to the loan.
IMB Secured Personal Loan
6.45% (fixed)
6.8%
$2,000
1 to 5 years
$250
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.45% p.a.
Benefit from this competitive rate by securing the loan with a vehicle up to 6 years old. Use this flexible loan for any purpose.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.7%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$499
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.99% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.

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Car Loan Offers

Important Information*
Logo for IMB New Car Loan
IMB New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.45% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one up to two years old.

Logo for Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"
Beyond Bank Low Rate Car Loan "Special Offer"

You'll receive a fixed rate of 5.49% p.a.
Take advantage of a competitive rate, pre-approval and no early repayment fees when you finance a car under two years old.

Logo for RACV New Car Loans
RACV New Car Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.69% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.

Logo for Stratton Finance New Car Loan
Stratton Finance New Car Loan

You'll receive a fixed or variable rate depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $100,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.

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