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Hot Hatch Heaven

If I wanted to buy a hot hatch in 2024, what would the best ones be?  A hot hatch is considered hot because it is a small hatchback with plenty of get up and go, handles fast cornering really well (and thus is a hoot to drive), and also offers decent practicality to double up as an errand runner or commuter when you’ve stopped being a rapscallion at the traffic lights. 

Back in the eighties, the VW Golf GTi, Renault 5 GT, Mazda 323 Turbo, Toyota Corolla GTi, Fiat Uno Turbo, and the Peugeot 205 GTi were the hatchbacks to go for if you wanted a relatively cheap to buy and quick little car that brought you smiles for miles.  In fact, these were the cars that caused people to call this type of car a hot hatchback in the first place; they are still considered legendary classics.

The nineties saw other car manufacturers getting into a slice of the popular hot hatch pie, so the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, Ford Fiesta RS Turbo, Nissan Pulsar GTi, Peugeot 306 GTi, Renault Clio Williams, Honda Civic Type R, Lancia Delta Integral, and Subaru WRX joined the gang.

The decade following the turn of the century cemented the Honda Type R, the VW Golf GTi, the Subaru WRX, the Renault Megane R26, and the Ford Focus RS as the hot hatch quickies. 

Recently, 2010–2020 have seen the VW GTi, the Renault Megane RS Trophy, Ford’s Focus and Fiesta RS models, and the Honda Civic Type R dominating the hot hatch arena.  But today, what’s there to carry the hot hatch name on?  There are plenty of hatchbacks, in fact, that allow the hot hatch dream to live on. 

In 2024, some of the best little hot hatchbacks you can buy are cars like the AWD Toyota Yaris GR, offering great value for money, bringing a neat little 3-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine to the party with a slick shifting 6-speed manual gearbox, a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 5.4 seconds, and a top speed of 230 km/h.

For similar money, Hyundai offers a hot hatch, namely their front-wheel driven i30N in 2.0-litre petrol turbo form, capable of whipping the 0–100 km/h sprint in 5.4 seconds and running on to a top speed of 250 km/h.  They don’t just stop with the i30N because you can also try the smaller and equally fun Hyundai i20N.

There is still a sparkling new VW Golf GTi with front wheel drive and169 kW available for you to buy, but you can also purchase the even quicker Golf R.  This AWD package tweaks the Golf GTi’s engine even further to pack a 250-kW punch that can send you from zero to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds. 

If you are after the quickest petrol-powered hot hatch of 2024, then the intense Audi RS 3 takes the cake.  The RS3 runs with a rather special 5-cylinder, 2.5-litre turbo performance engine and Quattro AWD to put all that power to the ground.  A 3.8-second 0–100 km/h sprint time says enough.

Honda’s Civic Type R is still doing the business in 2024 and is a very nice bit of kit that handles really well, using a sweet 6-speed manual gearbox, a front-wheel-driven chassis, and a free-revving 2.0-litre petrol turbo motor to do the job.  A 0–100 km/h sprint can be done in 5.4 seconds, but the car will also happily run right up to 275 km/h. 

The 2024 Ford Fiesta ST is probably closest to the hot hatchbacks of old.  The Fiesta ST is quick, well equipped, and has low running costs that help make it an affordable and great little daily driver.

Still some other fine petrol-powered hatchbacks for the hot hatch hunter include:

  • Mercedes Benz AMG A45 (0-100 km/h, 4.4 seconds)
  • BMW M135i (0-100 km/h, 4.6 seconds)
  • Mini Hatch JCW (0-100 km/h, 6.0 seconds)
  • Abarth 695 (0-100 km/h, 6.9 seconds)
  • Cupra Leon (0-100 km/h, 5.7 seconds)
  • Renault RS Trophy (0-100 km/h, 6.0 seconds)

EV hot hatchbacks:

  • MG 4 XPower (0-100 km/h, 3.8 seconds)
  • Cupra Born (0-100 km/h, 6.7 seconds)
  • Abarth 500e (0-100 km/h, 7.0 seconds)

Of course, the decade’s not over yet, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the iconic hot hatches of the twenties will be.

New Suzuki Vehicles for 2024–2026

In the near future, Suzuki is looking to bring more hybrid technology into their mix of tricks.  The current and soon to be available cars that Suzuki are delivering are exciting to look at, fun to drive, and are keeping pace with modern styling trends.  Following Suzuki’s launch of the popular long-wheelbase (5-door) version of the boxy Jimny XL 4×4, Suzuki will be introducing at least another two new models in 2024.  Hybrid technology is going to be part of Suzuki’s plan over the next year or two. 

Despite the fact that CO2 gets pumped into horticultural green houses to enhance plant growth and production, hybrid vehicles will enable Australian new car buyers to enjoy genuinely fuel-efficient vehicles with low CO2 emissions for the first time.  The fewer emissions, particularly of the toxic fume type that can cause respiratory problems, that get farted out into congested city environments the better, thus ensuring people can breathe easier as they leave the office to grab a coffee across the other side of the street or head around the block for a walk during lunch.

Suzuki’s lineup will continue to consist mainly of small cars and small SUVs (alongside Suzuki’s popular motorbikes, of course).  There will continue to be the efficient petrol-only vehicles with their low emission rates; however, this year, mild-hybrid technology comes into effect.  For those after a new car in 2024, Suzuki still offers buyers their brand-new Swift Hatchback.  The 2024 Swift’s exterior looks familiar but is definitely smoother and sleeker than before and, inside the vehicle, there is bigger, more comprehensive touchscreen technology, along with an array of safety upgrades. 

Of course, you could also buy yourself the fun little Suzuki Jimny 4×4 in three- or five-door form.  These 4x4s are really popular, particularly for people needing a low-cost, go-anywhere type vehicle.  These are truly capable 4WD SUVs that can happily tackle the toughest off-road terrain you can throw their way.  The cute little Ignis, the dynamic Vitara range, and the stylish new S-Cross SUV are great efficient Suzuki vehicles that you can buy in 2024. 

Coming soon: the all-electric Suzuki eVX.

However, 2025/2026 will see Suzuki’s first electric vehicle (EV) model arrive in Australia: the Suzuki eVX.  The small Suzuki EV SUV will be manufactured for numerous global markets, including Europe and Asia, with Australia’s introduction likely to be in 2025 or 2026.  The Suzuki eVX concept was first revealed at Delhi’s Auto Show, India, in early 2023; it also received a public viewing at the Japan Mobility Show, Tokyo, in late October 2023.  It is less than 4.5 metres long, about the same size as the recently facelifted Suzuki S-Cross SUV, and Suzuki suggests that the new eVX is targeting a 500 km driving range ahead of its launch.  Equipped with dual electric motors, the Suzuki eVX is set-up well for delivering effective AWD traction should you require off-road action.  Of course, Suzuki will also ensure it has fine on-road abilities as well.  The eVX definitely looks futuristic and has that chunky, rugged look blended into the vehicle’s lines and shape. 

Do City Cars Still Have a Future?

Australians have long had a love affair with SUVs, with most of us only too keen to head into the outdoors, particularly in these times where we can’t travel abroad. However, the SUV format hasn’t only just caught wind in Australia. In fact, it’s a global phenomenon that has been taking place in numerous locations, most notably in China and the US.

The SUV format has become so dominant down under, it is consistently making up around half of all new car sales each and every month. Passenger vehicles have all but fallen out of favour, with light commercial vehicles outranking them on a consistent basis. While the sedan is showing little sign of gaining traction, there is one segment that is faring even worse – the city car format.

As more and more manufacturers ditch the format, is it a dying breed?

honda jazz

Design and practicality take over 

Of course, there are traditional SUVs that have drawn popularity for obvious reasons, but an emerging area in the car market has been new formats like crossovers and liftbacks, which have shaken up the design of cars as we knew them.

Offering levels of practicality and space that bring into question the versatility of the humble city car, these formats have taken off. Then you still have the traditional hatchback as well, which whilst on the slide, still has its niche position in the market.

With the trend clearly in place seeing more compact SUVs, crossovers and liftbacks developed in place of the city car, it’s hard to see this being overturned.

Furthermore, as urban sprawl takes us to destinations living further away from the city, Australians are more concerned with bigger cars that take care of all their needs. This contrasts with the likes of European cities where a compact car is important for smaller commutes in those tight and narrow laneways.

Locally, the humble city car hasn’t found traction among inner-city dwellers either, with an increasing number of young Aussies ditching car ownership altogether, instead opting for ridesharing services or peer-to-peer car rental services that certainly won’t be sufficient to ensure the survival of the city car format.

As each brand’s SUV line-up expands by the year, the writing is on the wall – city cars look likely to eventually fall by the wayside, even if that does become a drawn out affair…hopefully, it’s not before a select few manage to put up a fight and remind us what a shame it will be when they disappear for good.

New Cars to Buy – Exciting!

Along with the new SUVs showcased last time, Australia will also see some other exciting vehicles arriving in the coming months.  Keep your eyes out for the following:


Civic Hybrid

Honda’s new Civic hybrid has its own subtle design features that set it apart from other Civic models.  Hybrid-specific displays for the infotainment screen and instrument cluster gives the car its own environmentally friendly twist, plus the revised rear bumper is designed to conceal the exhaust outlets.  Honda’s Civic Hybrid also gets blue accents for its Honda badges, and there is a special e:HEV tailgate badging to set it off nicely.

As a driver, the new Honda Civic Hybrid is an impressively competent vehicle with great economy and plenty of get up and go.  The Civic HEV’s hybrid system is based around the 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated Atkinson-cycle petrol motor that is found in the current Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid.  Matching the engine output to a smooth CVT automatic makes for an excellent easy car to drive.  315 Nm of torque provides grunt when you need it and the 135 kW of peak power suits this car well and delivers a bigger punch than the standard Civic’s 131 kW/240 Nm levels.

The front-wheel drive Honda Civic Hybrid is likely to be more efficient than the Accord Hybrid and even more so than Toyota’s Corolla Hybrid (4.2 litres/100 km).


BYD Atto 4

BYD EA 1 (Dolphin)


BYD Auto is the largest EV manufacturer in the world and is the automotive division of the Chinese multinational manufacturer BYD Company.  Along with some SUV models, BYD is also bringing their Atto 4 sedan and their neat little EA 1 to Australia.

The BYD Atto 4 is a mid-size sedan that looks beautiful, sporty, and aerodynamic.  Equipped with loads of the latest technology and also obtaining power from large batteries with a unique design, the Atto 4 impresses.  Standard Atto 4 versions get a 61.4 kWh battery pack and a claimed 550 km range.  The pricier models get a larger 82.5 kWh unique Blade battery with a claimed range of up to 700 km.  Having the larger battery and an AWD system, this flagship BYD Atto 4 can reach 100km/h from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds!

More BYD excitement has the imminent arrival of the BYD EA 1 Hatchback.  In China they call the BYD EA 1 the rather endearing name ‘BYD Dolphin’.  This is a small Chinese EV hatchback that is being picked to be priced at or less than $30,000 in Australia.  The small all-electric hatchback will be available with various battery and drivetrain configurations, all using a single electric motor to power the front wheels.

Two battery capacities: 30.7 kWh or 44.9 kWh will be available for the EA 1, both of which can be paired with a 70 kW/180 Nm motor.  The larger 44.9 kWh battery can also be linked to a 130 kW/290 Nm motor, providing swifter acceleration and cruising speeds.  Larger batteries will also become available over time for the little EA1 – particularly necessary, as Australia is a pretty vast land mass.

Managing director, Luke Todd, stated that “Our view is [that] in Australia any EV must have a minimum – even for city running – of 400 km to be accepted in the Australian market.  All of our vehicles will have at least a 400 km range … our target is 500 km-plus.”


Cupra Leon

Cupra Formentor

Cupra Ateca

Cupra is a Volkswagen-owned Spanish brand who have opened their doors to import their vehicles to Australia, offering us a 3-strong model range.

The exciting range of Cupra cars – Ateca (SUV), Leon (Hatchback), and Formentor (Crossover) – will spearhead the Australian line-up.

The Cupra Ateca SUV comes exclusively in the VZx form, so 221 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque is sent through the 4Drive AWD system to deliver 0-100 km/h in 4.9-seconds.  I can see plenty of performance-SUV lovers who want to drive something as unique looking as the Cupra Ateca SUV wanting one!

The Cupra Leon Hatchback will be offered in VZ, VZe and VZx specification levels.  So along with plenty of technology and differing variants, there will be a 2.0-litre turbo 140 kW/320 Nm, 180 kW/370 Nm, 180kW/400 Nm (Hybrid), and 221 kW/ 400Nm outputs respectively.  So, there’s something for everyone here!

The Cupra Formentor is the Crossover Cupra and boasts the 4Drive AWD system on the V and VZx variants.  Note the gorgeous crossover body styling that brings with it plenty of space, practicality and comfort.

All new Cupras sold in Australia will include a 5-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.


Volvo C40

Volvo has a new C40 coming!  There are two versions offered that are based around one having a single electric motor and the other a dual electric motor layout. The Volvo C40 shares the electric powertrains with the XC40.  Boot space is measured at 413 litres for both the single and dual motor versions.

Volvo’s the single motor C40 uses a 69 kWh battery pack and a single electric motor over the front axle.  It produces 170 kW of power and 330 Nm of torque, combining nicely to provide drivers with a potential 0-100km/h dash being finished in 7.4 seconds.  A full charge has a range of over 400 km.

Jump over to the Volvo C40 with its dual motor system, and you’ll find a larger 78 kWh battery pack.  An electric motor for the front axle and an electric motor for the rear axle has this Volvo C40 equipped with AWD and capable of seeing off the 0-100km/h sprint in a claimed 4.7 seconds.  That’s pretty swift!  Again, a full charge should be able to take you over 400 km.

The single motor Volvo C40 kicks off at around $74,990, and the dual motor model around $82,490.


Audi A8

Audi S8

Audi’s A8 and S8 facelifts are coming.  The A8 Sedan and Audi’s sportier S8 version have been a stunning proposition for some time, and they keep getting better.  Quite an attractive large and luxurious sedan, the 2022 A8 delivers new levels of technology in the areas of comfort, entertainment, and safety.

The stunning A8 exterior remains similar to the outgoing model but you will find some nice subtle changes on the outside.  18–21-inch rims are available with six new designs to choose from.  Audi’s ‘singleframe’ grille has been widened and pushed out at the bottom corners for a sportier, more athletic appearance.

The luxury sedan has grown a bit longer, making Audi’s flagship even more comfortable.  It competes with the best big sedans from Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Lexus, so the relaxation seat package comes as no surprise, adding a back massage function, a foot warmer, an optional centre control console, and a fold-out table.  23 Bang and Olufsen speakers create an amazing audio sound.

Around the world, the new Audi A8 and A8 L versions will offer a wide selection of chiefly twin-turbo V6 engines that have 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance.  All models will boast Quattro AWD and an 8-speed automatic.  Audi S8 versions get the sweet-singing twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol ICE that can move this luxury–sports sedan from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds.  Boasting all-wheel steering, the S8 is a nimble thing of beauty.


Citroen C5 X

Citroen calls the C5 X a “unique combination of the elegance of a sedan, the dynamism of a wagon and the elevated stance of an SUV”.

In my eyes, the new Citroen C5X looks both elegant and comfortable – just like a special Citroen should.  The Citroen C5 X is a large 5-seater that measures 4805 mm in length.  Luggage capacity is 485/1580 litres for the PHEV version and 545/1640 litres for the ICE car.  Inside its cabin, you’ll find the C5 X is very comfortable, and the sensible interior layout is pleasant on the eye.  A load of high-tech interior features include a digital driver’s display, a big 12.0-inch central touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a novel toggle gear shifter.

Adaptive dampers increase the Citroen C5 X’s ability out on the road, ensuring that those of us who love comfort can ride all day in a C5 X, all very comfortably indeed.

Equipped with the 165 kW/300 Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder ICE, the Australian version will have decent power (0-100 km/h in 8.8 seconds) while being hooked up to an 8-speed automatic transmission and FWD.  A top speed of 232 km/h is doable.  Citroen’s Australian importer is also considering launching the new Citroen C5 X with a PHEV powertrain.  This system mates the 1.6-litre turbo ICE with an 81.2 kW electric motor and a 12.4 kWh lithium-ion battery for a total system output of 165 kW and a claimed electric range of 50 km (WLTP).  The PHEV version is slightly quicker, boasting a 7.9 second time for the 0-100 km/h dash.


Peugeot 308

Peugeot is bringing us the next-generation 308 and the 3rd generation 308 is a classy looker from any angle you care to look at it from the curb side.  Peugeot’s Australian line-up will consist of 4 variants: the 308 GT Hatch, 308 GT Premium Hatch and Wagon, and the Peugeot 308 GT Sport PHEV hatch – a plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

The PHEV versions of the 308 Hatch and Wagon will use larger batteries and more powerful motors than you’ll find in the smaller Peugeot e-208 supermini models.  A Peugeot 308 GT Sport PHEV model sees a 132 kW 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder ICE unit paired to an 81 kW electric motor.  The total output of the powertrain sends out a sprightly 165 kW of power and 360 Nm of torque to an AWD system for maximum traction and plenty of excitement.

New 308s with ICEs will be powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine that produces 96 kW of power and 230 Nm of torque.  This little engine is paired with an Aisin-sourced 8-speed automatic transmission that sends the power to the front wheels.  Peugeot offers an e-308 in Europe, which is a pure electric variant.


Ford Ranger Ute

Ford E Transit

The new Ford Ranger Ute is packed with smart functionality and a cool ‘Tonka Toy’ appearance.  Commands via voice, phone, or the central touchscreen has you controlling many of the infotainment features.  Wireless phone charging, a smart climate control system, and a new digital cluster for the driver keeps the tough new Ford Ranger models at the head of the pack.  Its chunkier styling with a wider stance, big towing capacity, and superior off-road ability are part of the new Ford Ranger experience.

Like the brand new Ford Everest SUV, the Ranger Ute houses the latest 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 ICE, which is also offered alongside the existing 2.0-litre twin-turbo 4-cylinder diesel engine for 2022/23.  The V6 boasts 184 kW of power at 3250 rpm and 600 Nm of torque from 1750-2250 rpm.

Ford’s latest E-Transit vans will be available with an all-electric powertrain for more efficient, zero-emissions driving.


Genesis G80 Sedan

The charming Genesis G80 Sedan has gone pure EV and it is a stunner on the styling front.  The car’s opulence and quiet ride will impress.  An 87.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is housed under the floor, and a claimed Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) range of over 500 km is a decent amount of travel.  The G80 EV Sedan has a pair of electric motors that work in unison to develop a maximum of 272 kW.  This level of power combines with instantaneous torque of up to 700 Nm.  These are powerful figures, allowing the luxurious Genesis Sedan to sprint from 0-100 km/h in less than 5 seconds.