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The 2014 Hot Hatch Race

June 23, 2014

2014 is a very good year to be a hot hatch fan. With automakers climbing over each other to push out feisty little rides with some serious performance, any driver looking for a sexy upgrade will be absolutely spoilt for choice this year. The Ford Fiesta ST, Audi S1 and new MINI Cooper S are the major contenders for today’s ultimate hot hatch, each boasting some impressive specs as well as a host of unique assets. So if you’re on the hatchback hunt and can’t split the difference between these nippy little feats of engineering, let’s go head to head to head to find your winner.

Ford Fiesta ST

Ford Fiesta ST Finance

Image source: Paul Longinidis

There’s something irresistible about feisty Fords, and that’s certainly no different with the ST. The very best thing about Ford is that they see no point in fixing what isn’t broken – which is why this cheeky little hatch builds upon the immensely popular Fiesta, adding sporty design tweaks from the interior to the exterior, making this one exceptionally hot hatch.

The ST’s power comes from a 180bhp 1.6 litre turbocharged engine, and the drive leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. For this incarnation of the Fiesta, the class-leading chassis is given faster steering, bespoke damping settings and increased roll stiffness – and, refreshingly, the ST is a hot hatch free of adjustable drive modes, making it a marvel in engineering simplicity.

Audi S1

Audi S1 Finance

Image source: AUDI AG

In spite of a chunkier price tag of almost 30k, Audi’s smallest S model aims to justify its cost by delivering the performance of a larger model in a four-wheel-drive supermini package. Quicker than both of its rivals, boasting 0-60 in 5.7 seconds, and with a very impressive cabin, the S1 is a hatch for grown-ups and it has the credentials to prove it.

The car’s exceptionally classy interior lays both of its competitors to waste, with a first-class dashboard and luxurious polished metal finish on the heating and radio controls – and its 370Nm of torque makes punching from corner to corner feel like you’re in a much larger model. The drive is by no means a highlight of the Audi S1, but this is a capable little car with a hell of a face.

MINI Cooper S

MINI Cooper S Finance

Image source: Martin de Witte

You’re paying £400 more for the new MINI Cooper S than the previous model, but there’s no doubt that this new hatch has earned its new price. This model is faster, punchier and cleaner than ever before – not to mention more than a few serious equipment upgrades.

The new S has an upsized 189bhp 2 litre BMW engine to replace the old 181bhp 1.6 litre – and acceleration is brisk, with an increasingly alert response from the lower end of the rev range. The S engine may not roar, but the drive is a big improvement on previous models, achieving lovely sharp turns for a bigger, more stable car overall. Inside the new Mini Cooper S you’ll find an interior still rich with retro overtones, but with touches of refreshingly modern flair – making for what is ultimately a sexy but not staggering next generation of Cooper S.

The verdict?

The Ford Fiesta ST is our winner, with a shining array of impressive specs complemented by upgrades to already exquisite design. Anyone looking for the funds to get inside the ST for themselves can find Ford finance with the Car Loan Warehouse. Or, if you’d prefer the Audi S1 or new Mini Cooper S, that’s no problem either.

Try our online car loan calculator now to find your rate – then let us help you find the car finance for your perfect hatch.

About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.