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What is a Hot Hatch?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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A hot hatch is a hatchback car designed for high performance, usually issued as an upscale model of a more basic hatchback. Short for “hot hatchback,” this style appears to have originated in Europe in the 1970s. A number of auto manufacturers feature at least one hatchback in their lineups, and one of the trim versions of that model may be considered a hot hatch.

The hatchback design has a number of advantages. Whether three or five doors are present, the car tends to be practical, with a lot of cargo space and room for varying numbers of passengers, depending on the design. These cars are usually aerodynamic by design and may be very fuel efficient, especially in basic trim models. In the case of a hot hatch, the engine's performance is increased, leading to some sacrifice in fuel economy, and the car may be fitted with other performance features, including a special suspension.

Such cars handle well, thanks to their compact size, and when they are designed specifically as performance cars, handling packages can be used to increase their maneuverability. Drivers may opt for a hot hatch if they want a balance between a practical car and a car they enjoy driving, with some power and dynamic performance. Hot hatches also tend to be very safe, as they are designed with the same safety features in the rest of a manufacturer's lineup, including features like airbags and electronic control systems for stability.

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Pricing on hot hatches varies. Vintage cars can be expensive, as people must pay a premium for well-maintained cars. Newer cars can vary in price, generally being higher in cost than average cars in a manufacturer's lineup, but less costly than sports cars. The more features people add, including optional luxury features like leather seating and upgraded stereos, the more expensive the car will be, although dealers are sometimes willing to negotiate certain costs.

As with other cars, there are usually a number of reviews available for consumers interested in buying a hot hatch. People can compare features and assessment of the car by experienced drivers to get an idea of the options available and make a decision about the cars they want to test drive. It is advisable to test drive multiple cars, even if drivers think a specific model is of particular interest, as it will give people a chance to see the range for themselves.

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