Ed’s Let­ter

We are en­ter­ing a new golden era for the hot hatch

Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

I HAD A star­tling re­al­i­sa­tion re­cently. Nor­mally, I’m a rear-drive man. Don’t care where the en­gine is, but give me as many cylin­ders and cu­bic cen­time­tres as you can (within rea­son). A gear­box that needs to be told what to do, ide­ally with a lever and third pedal. And a lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tial be­tween the rear wheels that doesn’t like full-lock u-turns.

But just as I was won­der­ing if this is how I’d al­ways be, I drove a car with an east-west en­gine, not many cylin­ders (four) and not many litres (two), with a tur­bocharger and the front axle do­ing the work. We drive th­ese cars reg­u­larly at MO­TOR, of course. But this was the first time I caught my­self think­ing, I could own a hot hatch.

There’s a prob­lem, though – and it’s a good prob­lem. If you are brand ag­nos­tic, and have about $55K to spend, there is a dizzy­ing va­ri­ety of hothatch op­tions. And the ‘prob­lem’ is get­ting ‘worse’. By all ac­counts, when the Hyundai i30 N ar­rives early next year, you’d be silly not to put it on your short list. On that same list should be the new Honda Civic Type R which, read­ing our com­par­i­son from p84, sounds like a weapon. Or you could wait for the all-new Re­nault Me­gane RS, although we’ve not driven that yet. If hard­core is more your thing, there’s the Ford Fo­cus RS. And at the other end of the spec­trum, there’s the bal­lis­tic all-rounder, the newly up­dated VW Golf R. If you have thought to your­self, nah, not in­ter­ested in any of th­ese, I would counter that you’re po­ten­tially rul­ing your­self out of some truly ex­cel­lent per­for­mance cars. A Golf R, or a Fo­cus RS, will dip into the fives to 100km/h – ra­bidly quick. And while none of th­ese cars will ever drive like a 300-kilo­watt Fal­con or Com­modore, they de­liver equiv­a­lent, if dif­fer­ent, thrills. Sheer abil­ity be­ing one, but pedal a hot hatch with a rear-end in com­pe­ti­tion with the front for who gets to go first, and tell me your heart rate isn’t as high as it is in a tyre-fry­ing rear-driver. Ex­cit­ing, but dif­fer­ent. All of th­ese cars, too, have in­te­ri­ors that would im­press any­one who’s owned an Aus­tralian car. And with just as much space, in the front at least. While we come to terms with great change in a fa­mil­iar genre – and the con­tin­ued need for a car – there’s in­cred­i­ble ex­cite­ment in the world of hot hatches. You should get in on it. Just ask those who are.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.