Hot hatches are one of the automotive world’s favorite car classes nowadays. Small and affordable but powerful and quick, these pocket rockets are immensely fun, cool machines. Modern hot hatches are approaching the 400 HP mark, which means they are almost as powerful and fast as modern muscle cars. On the surface, that’s simply insane.
Over the years, many hot hatches have become legendary. But sadly, there are still some that are fantastic, yet forgotten. So we put together a showcase of the most interesting, underrated hot hatches ever made. Enjoy our breakdown below:
20. Mini Cooper
Emerging in 1959, the original Austin Mini was an important, revolutionary car. It had compact dimensions, a transversely mounted engine, and front-wheel drive. The Mini Cooper was unique then, but today, all compact cars share this technical layout. It was a sales hit, and soon engineers started thinking about upgraded, performance versions. So in 1961, they introduced the Mini Cooper featuring a larger engine, disc brakes, and a close-ratio transmission. It had 55 HP, which was 20 HP more than the standard Mini. Despite the fact its power ratings sound diminutive now, the car weighed just over 1,100 pounds, making it lively and quick.
With front-wheel-drive handling and precise steering, the Mini Cooper was nimble and easy to drive fast, making it a perfect candidate for racing. During the 1960s, Mini Coopers were extremely successful in rally championships as well as touring car races all over the world. Even though the Mini is not technically a hatchback since it doesn’t have a third door, this car was a blueprint for all other hot hatches that came after it. It has a compact body and is lightweight with a powerful engine, sporty details, and a ton of charm.