When we think of the hot hatch, lots of us might think of the Golf GTI, the Focus ST and Civic Type R. Little known to many, there is a huge selection of hot hatchbacks out there to choose from, some of which have fallen under the radar. Here are 7 forgotten hot hatches that deserve our attention.

Alfa Romeo 145 Cloverleaf

It’s often claimed that you need to own an Alfa to be a true petrolhead. As silly as this statement is, the Alfa 145 will be a pleasant surprise to anyone that’s into their cars. With the 2.0 Litre Twin Spark engine from its larger brother, the 155 saloon, this little Alfa also produces 155 horsepower which propels it from 0 – 60 in 8 seconds. Production ended in the early 2000s and they didn’t end up selling many, presumably due to its unusual styling and strong competition from mainstream rivals. Prices start from as little as £1500, making it a bit of a bargain!

Rover 25 GTI

Yes, it may look like your granddads dream hatchback, but you would be unwise to dismiss it immediately. With only 1200 built and as little as 10% of them left on the roads, this warm hatchback comes higher up on the exclusivity list than cars hundreds of time the price. With a 1.8 litre, 145bhp K-Series engine under the bonnet, uprated shocks, springs, brakes and exhaust system, this looks like a lot of fun. 0 – 60 happens in a respectable 8 seconds. The Rover 25 GTI was only sold for 10 months; some claiming it was built solely as an experiment for the upcoming MG ZR, which superseded it.

Daihatsu Charade GTti

Turbo thrills, 3 cylinders and 800kg. Need I say more? The Charade GTti is rumoured to have been the first production car to hit the magical 100bhp per litre mark, reaching 0 – 60 in around 7.8 seconds. Although subtle externally, there are visible differences from the standard car such as the sporting side skirts, front and rear bumper and a selection of GTti badges dotted around the car. The charade is fast becoming collectable for those in the know; it’s brief stint in rallying likely adding to that prestige.

Suzuki Ignis Sport

Nothing says cool quite like yellow netting in the headrests! Externally, yes it may look like postman pats van, but the Ignis is an accomplished performer not to be missed. Topping out at just 115mph, low speed fun is where this car excels. The 1.5 Litre variable valve timing engine puts out 107 bhp and 103 foot pounds of torque, which means you have to make the most of the revvy engine to get the power. At just 940KG, the Ignis is an antidote to modern gadget laden vehicles. Included in the package are Recaro seats, vented disc brakes, stiffened suspension and Enkei alloy wheels. Prices start from just £700. Homologation rally cars don’t come cheaper than this!

Proton Satria GTI

When Proton purchased Lotus in 1996, the firm decided to use their newfound sporting expertise on a proton vehicle, the Satria. From 1994 to 1997, the Satria remained a slightly dull compact car until 1998, when the Satria GTI was launched. The GTI was engineered in Hethel, England; The same place birthed the Jaguar e type! Although lacking somewhat from the jag, the Satria’s chassis and 141bhp Mitsubishi engine received tuning by lotus engineers. The GTI got sports seats, 16-inch alloy wheels and a distinctive riveted aero kit. 

Toyota Corolla GTI-16v

In second place comes the Toyota Corolla GTI. Whilst many hot hatchbacks of the 80s and early 90s were selling like hotcakes, the Corolla GTI failed to gain the traction of its French and German rivals. Developing 123bhp at 6600rpm, the 1.6-litre, 4A-GE engine would happily rev to 8000rpm.

These days, the Toyota is received well for those who know, although often not remembered with the same kind of attention as some of its competitors.

Volkswagen Beetle RSI

To complete the list, I had to find something a bit more unusual still. It’s got a 3.2 litre 6 Cylinder engine, 4 wheel drive and wind up windows. No, this is not some stripped out racecar; it’s a Volkswagen Beetle. A Beetle RSI to be precise. They only made 250, meaning this is one of the rarest production cars ever to come out of the Volkswagen factory! It gets to 60-Miles Per Hour in 6.4 seconds, although this seems slightly irrelevant when you just look at it. The factory body kit transforms the slightly feminine looking beetle into a car far more menacing. Unlike some of the other cars on this list, it commands a large price tag, starting at a minimum of £20,000; if you can find one that is!

So there are 7 forgotten hot hatches that deserve more attention. Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments.