Now is a better time than ever before to be in the market for a used hot hatchback. After years of heavily favoring sedans, the market is now swinging the other way, with virtually every automaker offering a hatchback — and many brands offering high-performance versions of their hatchbacks. Today I’m rounding up five cool used hot hatchbacks that would be on my shopping list if I were in the market for a sporty, practical car.
The Fiat 500 Abarth is one of my favorite hot hatchbacks, not because of the performance — it has just 160 horsepower — but because it’s so much fun to toss around and enjoy, given its light weight and small size. The 500 Abarth is also cool-looking, especially in white with these white-painted wheels — and used examples are often amazing bargains. This 2013 model is proof, as it’s listed for just $9,997 at Foreign Exchange of Clearwater, near Tampa. Find a Fiat 500 for sale
The Ford Focus ST is another one of my favorite hot hatches, largely because it’s such a great value: It has more than 250 hp, which made it an excellent deal when it was new, and an even better deal now it’s used. This 2014 Focus ST is finished in the car’s best color, Performance Blue, and is offered with just 34,500 miles from Sims Honda in Burlington, Washington, north of Seattle for $17,960. Find a Ford Focus for sale
The Veloster Turbo is an oft-overlooked hot hatch, in part because it wasn’t so hot: Given it had just 200 hp and went from zero to 60 in a relatively slow 7.2 seconds, most enthusiasts initially ignored it when it first debuted. But used Veloster Turbo models have become impressively cheap — and this “R-Spec” model is a good value, considering its price tag is now under $13,000. No, it’s not the hottest hatch around, but it’s a good deal if you’re on a budget — and this one is offered by Flagship Motorcars in the Boston area. Find a Hyundai Velsoter for sale
The MazdaSpeed3 was one of the only hot hatches around in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and the second-generation model, which debuted for 2010, is the one to have. It offers a little more space than the original Speed3 and a more modern interior — and it boasts an impressive 263 hp from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which is mated to a mandatory 6-speed manual transmission. This MazdaSpeed3 is a bargain, too, as it’s offered by Tustin Mazda in Southern California for just $13,750, in nice condition and with 77,000 miles. Find a MazdaSpeed3 for sale
The Volkswagen Golf R is the ultimate “grown-up” hot hatchback, as it features a luxurious interior and higher-quality materials than a Focus ST, a MazdaSpeed3 or even Volkswagen’s own GTI. It’s a handsome car, too, with subtle styling that doesn’t necessarily indicate it boasts more than 250 hp. Finally, all-wheel drive helps for drivers in northern climates. This 2013 model is in my favorite Golf R color, Rising Blue, and it’s offered with 74,000 miles by Leckner Chevrolet in rural Woodstock, Virginia, for $20,900. Find a Volkswagen Golf R for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.