Hot hatchbacks are all about that underdog fight in them, that tight country road where even a supercar can’t shake one off its tail. To celebrate the 2018 Elantra GT Sport from a Korean company that’s never made such a thing before, here are five left-field hot hatchbacks that truly did punch above their weight.


Suzuki Ignis Sport

Nobody really bought this little thing, which was their loss. The featherweight Ignis Sport came in under a tonne with over 100 horsepower from a buzzing 1.5-litre and looked nearly like it came right off a Junior WRC stage (the Ignis won two JWRC world titles in the 2000s).

Alfasud Ti

This was a huge surprise when revealed at the 1971 Turin show because it was a cheap economy car built by a brand used to luxury and performance. Alfa Romeo’s first-ever hatchback also gave us a Ti hot hatch, which was, of course, utterly brilliant when not utterly rusted.

Daihatsu Charade GTti

Not many people paid attention to Daihatsu in the Eighties, or ever, and the Charade GTti went by nearly forgotten. It weighed a little over 800 kilos and made over 100 horsepower, three cylinders of turbocharged fury under the bonnet.

Mazda 323 4x4

Think of it as the Japanese Lancia Delta Integrale… The 323 4x4 was Mazda’s idea of a rally homologation special, a true sleeper that looked like granny’s grocery getter, except it could do 0-100kph in less than eight seconds…

Toyota Corolla GT-i

Even with its occasional spurts of glory Toyota was never known as an exciting brand. However, if that Toyota happens to be a Corolla AE92 generation hatchback with a 1.6-litre 4AGE twin-cam engine under the bonnet revving to eight and a half grand…