5 classic hot hatches that every man wants in his garage

From the Lancia Delta Integrale to the Volkswagen Polo G40, these are the most fun hot hatches you can buy

The hatchback has seen a revival in recent years thanks to improved usability and trailblazing engineering. But, for all the sleek new options out there, many still argue that the old-school options provide the most entertainment. Nostalgic and downright fun, these are the automobiles that every gent wants in his garage. To help you in your pursuit of creating the perfect car collection, we’ve listed the finest hatch backs every gent should own, from the Lancia Delta Integrale to the VW Polo G40…

Peugeot 205 GTi

5 classic hot hatches that every man wants in his garage

As one of the most renowned cars of the Eighties, the 205 GTI is viewed as the king of the hot hatches. With a set of sturdy, modern tyres, this 885kg pocket rocket will offer a smooth B-road performance, and – thanks to its engines (either a 1.6- or 1.9 litre option) – it’s one of the fastest bijou-sized four-wheelers in history. Compact, sleek and fun, there’s little wonder why petrol heads lust after this Peugeot, 30 years after it was brought to the market.

Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk2

5 classic hot hatches that every man wants in his garage

Launched in 1983, there’s little doubt that the Mk2 is the greatest GTi of all time. Despite losing the refined and delicate aesthetics of the Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed Mk1, the Mk2 GTI was a triumph in many other departments. Not only was it far quieter and more comfortable than its predecessor (not to mention being fitted with five doors), but it also has the feel of a larger car while simultaneously remaining refined and sporty. 

In terms of performance, the Mk2 is able to clock up a quarter of a million miles without any major issues. As a result, it elevated the hot hatch to new heights, and collectors will be pleased to know that it’s rust-resistant (if kept in good condition), meaning that you may be able to cop one in a decent state. For full retro effect, buy one in a “Tornado Red” colour way.

Lancia Delta Integrale

5 classic hot hatches that every man wants in his garage

Whether you’re after the original 8-valve form or the more recent 16-valve Evo 2 guise, the Integrale is in a league of its own. Fitted with boxy wheelarches that house bigger wheels and brakes and made in a style that’s drenched in nostalgia, this is a purchase that you’ll make with your heart as well as your head – but it’s most likely the former that shouts loudest. 

Due to well-assisted steering and a slick gear change, the Integrale is one of the most user-friendly automobiles out there. Moreover, although the engine checks out at under 3000rpm, the car can be slung to 6000rpm once the turbo kicks in.

Fiat Strada Abarth 130TC

5 classic hot hatches that every man wants in his garage

Launched in 1982, the Strada Abarth was the fastest hot hatch on the market, until the Mk2 eclipsed it shortly after. But it was still a popular model despite losing its speedy status. And it’s easy to understand why. Its twin-carb setup (which was unique in the hot hatch world) gave it plenty of muscle while the chassis and involving steering made it a more enjoyable drive than its VW rival.   

Volkswagen Polo G40

5 classic hot hatches that every man wants in his garage

This may be the second VW on the list, but it’s undeniable that the guys at Volkswagen know how to make a flawless hot hatch. For decades, the Polo was known for being sensible and fuss-free: that was up until 1990 when the range was modernised. And the G40 was a crucial part of this development, with BBS alloys and a wider body – design features that car fans lusted after. 

Even better was the fact that its sharp handling was near-legendary and the whine from the supercharger was one of the most addictive sounds to listen to. When it comes to performance it only weighs 830kg, meaning it’ll get to 0-60mph in just 8.1 seconds (0.1 seconds quicker than a 1.9-litre 205 GTI).

Further Reading