Hot hatches are the Swiss Army knives of the automotive world in that they can do almost everything. Their humble underpinnings mean that they are as practical as any hatchback in everyday use, their tuned chassis and powerful engines can scare a sports car or two on twisty roads and they are, comparatively affordable.
There was a time, not so long ago, that putting anything more than 200-horses on the road through the front wheels was considered a recipe for terminal power understeer. Things have certainly changed and, as Chris Harris points out in the video that follows, front-wheel drive hot hatches have really become very competent.
On paper, it’s an unfair comparison as Ford’s competitor in the segment is the upcoming Focus RS and not the ST which is less powerful than the 276HP Astra and the 265HP Megane and is intended as a less hardcore option, being available only as a five-door and an estate.
The counter argument is that, a) Ford has quite a record for building enjoyable hot hatches and b) power isn’t the sole factor in deciding a winner – or else we’d just all look at the spec sheets and get it over with.
You can find out which is the best of the three on British roads and a narrow, wet track by watching the video that follows right after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis