Which new hot hatch is the best of 2013?

During this year three highly publicised new entries have entered the UK's hot hatch market, delivered by some of the biggest manufacturers in the world.

The 2013 arrivals include the Ford Fiesta ST (seen top right in the image above), the Peugeot 208 GTi (top left) and the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo (lower centre). All these cars have been created quite a buzz, not only because they are made by few big manufacturers. Each manufacturer has a strong reputation within the hot hatch scene.

Ford, Peugeot and Renault have all previously created iconic hot hatches in the past, and many motorists have been keen to find out whether these latest models can pull off a similar level of enjoyment and success.

The other question is which of the three new hot hatches are best to go for. For many it will likely be a tricky decision. If you're on the lookout for a new hot hatch though, then we'll guide by looking at key areas of comparisons for these three hot hatches.

To help guide you in understanding the hot hatch which suits you best, we'll focus on categories including pricing, power and torque, acceleration, efficiency and even practicality.

Pricing

The Fiesta ST is the least costly out of the new 2013 hot hatch models, as it starts from £16,995 in its basic 'ST1' trim. The prices of this car increases to £17,995 when choosing the 'ST2' trim model that includes extra onboard equipment.

The more expensive Peugeot 208 GTi starts from £18,895. The Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo is just about the most expensive of the three new rival hot hatches, carrying a starting price of £18,995 for the 'EDC' model. Pricing for this particular Renault increases to 19,995 for the more equipment-packed Turbo 'Lux' specification.

Performance

With each of three hot hatch contenders you get a front-wheel drive powertrain, but there is also a noticeable difference in power output correlating with the pricing.

Differences in speed between the three cars are marginal but nevertheless still evident from the stats.

The Ford Fiesta ST is as mentioned before the cheapest model but also the least powerful, producing 180bhp and 290Nm of torque from its 1.6-litre Ecoboost petrol engine. This engine is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox.

This set up allows the Fiesta ST to travel from zero to 62mph in 6.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 139mph.

The Peugeot 208 GTi and the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo produce 197bhp from their respective powertrains.

The 208 GTi gets its power from a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit mated with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 208 GTi also produces 275Nm of torque, which is less than the Fiesta ST. However the 208 GTi can go from a standstill to 62mph in just 6.8 seconds, before climbing to a top speed of 143mph.

The new Renaultsport Clio uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, unlike the previous model which had a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre unit. The new engine is the same size as its close rivals but it is connected to a six-speed automatic gearbox, with paddle shifts on the steering wheel available for manual changes.

The new Renaultsport Clio actually produces less engine torque then the Fiesta ST or the 208 GTi, 240Nm to be exact. However this car is just about the quickest, as it can go from a standstill to 62mph in 6.7 seconds, while the top speed of 143mph matches the Peugeot.

Efficiency and running costs

The efficiency and running costs may not necessarily be the focus when a manufacturer promotes its new hot hatch. However, cool performance model or not, this usually remains a key factor for motorists when buying a new car, and for good reason.

Focusing on CO2 emissions, the Fiesta ST and 208 GTi produce 138g/km and 139g/km respectively. This places both cars in Band E under current Road Tax band rates. That means that owners of either of these cars will be required to pay £125 in Road Tax for the first year of ownership and every subsequent year following.

The Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo with its automatic gearbox is a different story however. The five-door model produces 144g/km in CO2, moving it to Band F for Road Tax. Therefore for the first year of ownership and every following year, Clio 200 Turbo owners will pay £140 annually.

In terms of fuel costs the Fiesta ST and the 208 GTi both officially average 47.9mpg, while the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo is further behind returning 44.8mpg.

Overall the Fiesta ST and the 208 GTi are ahead of the Clio in terms of running costs. The margin between these two hot hatches is slim; however the GTi does have a bigger fuel tank of up to 50 litres compared to 42 and 45 for the Fiesta and Clio).

This gives the 208 GTi a maximum official range of 527 miles, trumping the figures of 442 miles and 443 miles offered by the Ford and Renault respectively.

Practicality

One of the main things which have made hot hatches so appealing to many in the first place is the fact they are fast, and yet they can be realistically used for everyday activities such as shopping runs.

The Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo has easier accessibility for rear passengers, since it is a five-door model whereas the 208 GTi and Fiesta ST only have three doors. Access to the rear in the Peugeot and Ford is considerably more restrictive.

The Clio not only provides simpler access for passengers but also has the largest boot. The Renault can store up to 300 litres with the rear seats up or 1,146 litres when these seats are folded flat.

The 208 GTi offers 285 litres boot space with the rear seats down, while the Fiesta ST offers less boot space at 276 litres.

Summary

All of these three new hot hatches which have been launched are each impressive vehicles in their own right. Without a doubt they are all very fast and nimble, not to mention highly enjoyable to drive.

Which out of these three is the best purchase for you really depends on which certain aspects of a car are most important to you. Each hot hatch has greater comparative strengths in different areas.


The Renaultsport Clio has the edge in terms of practicality and performance, but the Peugeot 208 GTi should be cheaper to run with fewer trips to the fuel station required. With its lower starting price however the Ford Fiesta ST has an advantage that makes it highly appealing in its own right.