There it goes again, the voice in your head telling you to act your age and use your money wisely. ‘BE PRACTICAL!’ it says… but… what you really want is to own a car with personality, a car with a voice, a car which makes people think you’re the bee’s knees (or whatever you kids say these days)
Well today’s public service announcement from your very own thrill-seeking, young at heart, local car-show presenter that has to act like a responsible adult of sorts, gives you the answer to your dilemma. What if I tell you that you can own a practical yet high-performing vehicle, a car for all your travel and comfort needs yet still offering a thrilling and engaging ride quality. Are you interested yet?!
WELL YOU CAN! Welcome to the world of hot hatchbacks.
We’ve all heard the term ‘hatchback’, right? I sure hope so or I’d be worried about you. However, for the benefit of the doubt, I’ll give you an overview. The term ‘hatchback’ refers to a car body-type, consisting of a rear (back) door (hatch), that wasn’t hard was it? Jokes aside, the rear door swings upwards to provide access to a cargo area. Many hatchbacks feature fold-down back seats, to increase the storage space of the back cargo area. Now don’t be confused if I refer to a hatch as a 3-door or a 5-door, cause the hatch at the back is considered as a door itself, so a 3-door hatch has 2 side doors and a back hatch. Still with me?
That sounds boring right? By now you’d be looking at me asking where the fun part begins. The practicality of hatchbacks is not their most attractive feature, although its a very welcome addition. No, the most appealing aspect of hatches: man are they fine. I’m gonna walk you through some of the most juicy hatch models you might wanna look into, if you’re sold on the idea of ticking all the boxes for a fun and practical daily-driver.
To start off, I’m going to be a little biased. Obviously my opinion is the right one, so… you’re welcome. But don’t just consider my opinion, go to google and search for ‘Best hatchback of all time’…I’ll wait….Yep.
The Volkswagen Golf, right? If it’s not at number one (which I highly doubt), it will definitely be on every list you’ll find. Volkswagen released the first edition of this world-renowned line back in 1974, with the VW Golf Mk1, as a modern FWD replacement for VW’s previous flagship, The Beetle. A variant version also was released, The Golf GTI, sporting a 1.6L engine capable of 180km/hr. We’ll talk about GTIs soon.
Volkswagen’s success with the Golf line is still going, recently releasing the long-awaited Golf Mk8 in 2018. But we’re not here to praise new releases are we? And this being a personal list, the go to model when it comes to hot hatchbacks in my opinion, the MK4 version.
The Mk4 GTI. Coming in with a 1.8L Turbo engine, 180 BHP, highly tunable… what else would you like? Oh right, also featuring a menacing aesthetic profile. Get yourself a set of coils, plant that baby to the ground and get yourself a set of after-market wheels. DAMN! I’m drooling. The VR6 version also is nothing to joke about, 200 bhp out of the factory, with a sound I can only describe as: vicious. What else can I say man, just take a look!
Moving on! We’re in Malta, you know the land of the free people. People who like the Honda Civic, but more accurately the Civic Type R. How can I not mention this beaut of a line! The first Type R name brand made its debut in 1997 on the EK9. Honda took their already successful base model and improved it as well as they could to meet Honda’s idea of a high performance vehicle. They also turned their badge RED! So how did the red badge take the world by storm? Reinventing a whole new culture into the JDM scene we all know and love? That’s a story for another article.
For the sake of a bit of variety in today’s topic, I’ll go for a more modern Type-R version, the FK8. Making its debut in 2017, sporting a big ass factory-issued wing and an aerodynamic build, this car is stunning. This thing pumps out a staggering 315bhp, with tried-and-tested top of the line brakes and significant performance. The new Type R is a monster, setting a new record at the Nürburgring for FWD cars, completing a lap in 7:43.80, 7 seconds faster than its predecessor. Impressive. AND YOU CAN STORE THINGS IN THE BACK! But that’s a given for hatches.
Let’s talk Ford! No, not the escort. Ford took one of their decent practical lines, the Focus and released the ST and the RS versions, both seeing significant boosts to power, performance and my god, are they gorgeous modified. Drop ’em a few inches, throw on a set of dope wheels… you sir, have got yourself a sexy hatchback!
The ST version features a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine, pumping out a whopping 252 horses. The more exciting RS model brings a 2.3L inline-four engine producing 350 bhp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The RS is also ALL-WHEEL Drive.
Enjoy the feature …
You might be telling me…. man these are cool and all, but they’re still a bit bulky, or you’re asking, what if I wanted something smaller with a punch in acceleration and speed. No doubt, I have the answer for you, we’ve all seen these teenage girls rolling around in a Fiat 500 their dad bought them, right? Well, I’d like to introduce you to:
The Fiat 500 Abarth! Small, compact and F’ing FAST! The Abarth 500 is a performance model tuned by FCA’s Abarth subsidiary. All models include a turbocharged and intercooled engine, pumping out 140bhp – 160bhp when standard. Its size, shape and light body give it a sort of go-kart feel when driving. The growl of this baby’s engine and the turbo going ‘sutututu’ are the stuff of dreams.
Conclusion: being practical doesn’t mean you’re half way into your grave. It doesn’t mean you have to be boring just because you want to be comfortable. If you go for a hot hatchback, it means you’re one smart cookie and I’m proud of you! Keep them heads turning and I’ll see you on the road in my hatchback!