It's an argument that'll rumble on and on, but here are AutoBlog's picks for the top five hot hatches ever!
Plonking a potent powerplant in a hatchback has to be one of the greatest motoring ideas ever. It was the car style that brought performance motoring to the masses and is loved by drivers of all ages. Here are our favourites...
Volkswagen Golf GTI
It might not have been the first, but the Golf GTI MKI was the hot hatch that really kicked off the craze in earnest. Arriving in 1975, it boasted a fuel-injected 1.6-litre that produced 110bhp. That was enough to fire the front-wheel drive car to 60mph in 8.7 seconds, but it was the tight chassis and superb handling that really excited.
Renault Clio Williams
It's the father to a bloodline of hot hatches, but it's the original Clio that gets the nod here. The Williams was named after the Formula One team and was originally limited to 500 in 1993, but the Williams 2 and 3 soon followed. The 2.0-litre 16v lump produced 150bhp – good for 140mph – and coupled with awesome handling created an absolute classic.
Peugeot 205 GTI
If the VW Golf GTI kicked the hat hatch game off, the Peugeot 205 GTI took the ball and scored a cracker! It featured a 105bhp 1.6-litre powerplant and later a 130bhp 1.9-litre option was added, but the jury's still out on which is the one to have. Many say the perkier 1.6, that hit 60mph in 8.6 seconds, is the better car to drive, but the 1.9 was ultimately faster.
Citroen Saxo VTS
For many, sprightly Saxos were the Golf GTIs of their day. Just as the VW was getting old and flabby, the Saxo VTR and VTS reignited the original concept. Small, planted and potent, the Citroen pairings were cheap to insure and exciting to drive. Both featured 1.6-litre engines, but the VTR was an 8v 100bhp and VTS a 16v 120bhp. The latter was the better of the two, hitting 60mph in 8.7 seconds.
Ford Fiesta XR2
It wasn't quite as potent as the Golf and 205 GTIs, but the Fiesta XR2 still managed to excite with its driving thrills. It used a 1.6-litre, 94bhp unit to propel it to 60mph in 9.4 seconds and on to a 106mph top speed. Spotlights, black bumpers and sideskirts marked the hot hatch out with the look topped off by classic pepper-pot alloys.
Don't agree us? With so many legendary cars to choose from, compiling our list of the top five was tough. So we'd like to throw it open to the floor – which hot hatches would you include in your list? Let us know by posting your comments below.