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Best Hot Hatchbacks to lease in 2021

The humble hatchback has long been the UK’s favoured family car, providing a balance of space and price to suit a wide variety of needs. But for almost as long as there have been hatchbacks, there have been performance versions; hot hatchbacks.

Such is the British appetite for the hot hatch that there are plenty to choose from, ranging from the affordable to cars comparable in power and price to full-on sports cars. That means that if you feel the need – the need for speed – then there’s likely a hot hatch for you. This is our guide to the cars you should be watching out for in 2021.

Toyota GR Yaris

Car lease price: from TBC*

This rally-derived version of the Toyota Yaris is perhaps the most talked about hot hatch of 2021. It’s what’s known as a homologation special, put into production to satisfy motorsport rules that require a certain number of road-going versions of a racing car. The GR Yaris is the result of Toyota’s desire to win the World Rally Championship, and while it might look similar to the regular Yaris, almost every single component is different. With an amazing four-wheel drive system and incredible handling, the GR Yaris has won rave reviews and looks set to be the driver’s car of the moment for some time to come.

Toyota GR Yaris need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: Hatchback
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 4.7 out of 5
  • Boot size: 174 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars (standard Yaris)

Honda Civic Type R

Car lease price: from £381.95 per month*

The Honda Civic Type R is one of the big names in the hot hatch world, and this latest model is widely acclaimed as the best yet. It’s not subtle, with its huge rear wing and in-your-face styling, but the driving experience matches the exterior, with incredible performance and handling that’s as at home on a race track as it is on the road. But, being a Civic underneath all the styling, it’s still perfectly serviceable as an everyday family car, with a big boot and space for the kids in the back. It’s a brilliant all-rounder.

Honda Civic Type R need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: Hatchback
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 4.6 out of 5
  • Boot size: 420 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 4 stars

Ford Fiesta ST

Car lease price: from £182.15 per month*

If you’re after a hot hatch but don’t need anything large, then the Fiesta ST should be at the top of your list. Ford’s small hatchback has been a favourite among British drivers for decades, and the performance ST version makes the already-fun little car even more enjoyable. Agile handling and a punchy engine means it’s a hoot behind the wheel, and an optional Performance Pack can add extra tech to make it even more fun through the bends. If that’s not enough, the Performance Edition sports lightweight alloy wheels and upgraded suspension for even more handling prowess. 

Ford Fiesta ST need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: Hatchback
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 4.5 out of 5
  • Boot size: 292 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars

Mercedes-AMG A45 S

Car lease price: from £475.21 per month*

Just because you want a hot hatch, that doesn't mean you can’t have a premium car. This is the Mercedes-Benz entry into the market, and not only does it boast one of motoring’s most prestigious badges, it also has phenomenal performance that would have been the preserve of supercars just a few years ago. The turbocharged 2.0-litre engine in the A45 S has been tuned by Mercedes’ turning arm AMG, and develops a massive 415bhp. That means breathtaking straight-line acceleration, and it has incredible cornering abilities. Oh, and the interior is top-notch as well.

Mercedes-AMG A45 S need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: Hatchback
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 4.2
  • Boot size: 370 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Car lease price: from £263.99 per month*

The Golf GTI is arguably the most famous hot hatch of them all, and 2021 sees the introduction of an all-new version. Based on the latest eighth-generation Golf, the GTI continues the classic approach of mixing everyday useability with serious performance, and it results in a car that’s a bit more mature than lairy rivals like the Honda Civic Type R. The styling mirrors that, with a few tweaks to the standard car to indicate its performance intent, but without an outlandish bodykit. To drive, it’s as fast, enjoyable and solid as ever, which means it’s a hot hatch with a very wide appeal.

Volkswagen Golf GTI need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: Hatchback
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.9
  • Boot size: 380 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars

Renault Megane RS

Car lease price: from £334.57 per month*

The Megane RS is another hot hatch with an impressive heritage, the latest in a long line of very serious performance Renaults. Unlike other cars that try to strike an even balance between performance and everyday usability, the RS is unashamedly on the sporty side, with engineering designed to eke every bit of performance out of it. Choose from the standard car or the extra-hardcore Trophy model, but whichever you go for, you’ll have an uncompromising hot hatch that leans heaviliy on Renault’s motorsport expertise and is all the more fun for it. This is a car that says you value performance over just about everything else.

Renault Megane RS need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: Hatchback
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.7
  • Boot size: 384 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars

Skoda Octavia vRS

Car lease price: from £274.25*

Sometimes you have a hankering for a fun-to-drive performance car, but you can’t afford to make too many compromises. You need space, and you need fuel economy. If that’s the case, then you may need the Octavia vRS, the performance version of Skoda’s excellent practical hatch. It’s got more passenger and boot space than any other hot hatch on this list, and also gives you the option of an economical diesel engine as well as a petrol, and even a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid. On top of all that, every model is quick and fun to drive too.

Skoda Octavia vRS need to knows:

  • Car Leasing Category: Hatchback
  • Select’s Car Review Score: 3.6
  • Boot size: 590 litres
  • Engine Options: Petrol, diesel, petrol plug-in hybrid
  • NCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars

*Prices include VAT. Credit is Subject to Status, Ts and Cs and Arrangement Fees apply. Excess mileage may apply. Price correct as of 14/01/2021.

**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the scores of the UK’s top five leading independent car website reviews

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Ben F

Tuesday, 10/05/2022