It seems that the latest trend in the automotive industry is the mega-hatch: powerful, high-performance hatchbacks that make even the best hot hatches of the past seem like your run-of-the-mill family car. While there are several manufacturers trying their luck in this new market, the all important question is who has the best?
Volkswagen Golf R
The Volkswagen Golf R was first introduced in 2014, as a £4,000 upgrade over the company’s GTI range. While this initially seemed like a tough proposition, the R quickly established itself as the gold-standard for mega-hatches everywhere with its mixture of high-performance, competitive pricing, and everyday practicality. The engine is the same 2.0-litre turbo that used in the GTI, except it’s boosted to a massive 296bhp meaning 0-62mph is possible in under 5 seconds. The R isn’t simply about pure power, though, many drivers will be surprised how comfortable it can be, especially with the right add-ons. Similarly, the R is surprising cost-effective, earning 40.9mpg with emissions of 159g/km if you go for the DSG auto variant.
If you think that the Golf R is the most powerful mega hatch out there, think again. The Mercedes-AMG A45 packs an incredible 376bhp under the hood, with a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that will deliver 0-62mph in just 4.2. seconds. There’s no option for a manual gearbox, though, so you’ll be limited to the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. As you might expect, all of this doesn’t come cheap. Even the entry-level model will set you back almost £40,000, and many buyers may feel that the A45 lacks the style that some of the manufacturer’s other cars have. Interestingly, despite the extra power, Mercedes claims the same 40.9mpg as the Golf R with equally impressive emission levels of 162g/km.
Honda Civic Type-R
Last, but certainly not least, is the Honda Civic Type-R. With a 2.0-litre, turbocharged petrol engine that produces 302bhp and does 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds, the Type-R may be the slowest car on our list but it’s still got more than enough power to satisfy most drivers. It’s also a more affordable option and, since it’s based on the practical five-door Civic range, it comes with plenty of room for passengers in the back and a boot large enough for the weekly shopping run. At 38.7mpg and emissions of 170g/km, it’s a reasonably good runner too. One thing that might turn some away is the look. With deep lying front bumpers, big alloy wheels, and a large rear spoiler, the high-performance look of the vehicle may not be to everyone’s taste.