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Hagerty Employee

5 hot hatches you can find for under $10,000

For the enthusiast on a budget, a hot hatch checks a lot of important boxes. It’s fun, but it’s also practical. Distinctive if you're in the know, and often affordable. It likes to be driven hard but doesn't gulp gas. Fortunately, these qualities are reflected in classic hot hatches just as they are in new ones.


Here in America we’ve often missed out on some of the best hot hatches from Europe and Japan, but if you’re looking for a vintage ride that you could take to an autocross then pack full of luggage for a weekend getaway, there are plenty of viable choices. We narrowed it down to three (well, technically five) hot hatches that can still be found in Good (#3) condition for four-figure prices.


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Pit Crew

A Renault/AMC Encore!


Hot hatches?  How about hot wagons?  Our 1974 VW Dasher diesel wagon would blow the doors off ... almost any parked car.  With 40 smoking hot horsepower and a 4-spd manual tranny, it was a blast to take into the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains.  Going up hill, it wasn't too good, but coming back down it built up some fine momentum.  We drove it from the San Francisco Bay Area to Vancouver, Canada one summer, packed with two adults, two kids and a load of camping gear.  On the top, we tied our large canoe.  On the straight, flat parts of Interstate 5, we could almost keep up with traffic.  Loved that car.  Should have turbo'd it.  It could have used another 20 hp.


My favourite cheap hatch is the CITROEN GSA.  This was an award-winning design, that still looks futuristic today, and should not be forgotten.

Pit Crew

I think this article is playing fast and loose with the definition of a hatchback. It takes more than having a rear hatch to make a car a hatchback. Is an V8 Vantage coupe a hatchback?


I don't think the CRX or the Eclipse/Talon/Laser should be on this list. And there are obvious omissions (particularly the Omni GLH).




Had a 1985 Dodge Colt GTS Turbo - 5 speed in high school.  You actually could get it as an auto, but why?


They were 104hp of pure fun from a 1.6L. I think they were 1994lbs.   Torque steer enhanced the experience when the turbo kicked in. 


Obviously they were imported from Mitsubishi...even had a sticker saying as such on the hatch. 

Wish they were still around, now pretty much unobtainable, but would love to get my hands on one from 1985-1988.  I had a red one, but would prefer black now. 


The new for 1989 Colt with the DOHC Turbo/intercooled 1.6L is also a gem, but I like the drawn by a ruler look of the 1985-1988 years best. 

New Driver

Had an 85 GLHT converted to a Tll car and an 86 GLHS that my son and I drove from Texas to Connecticut. Big fun in small cars and as I always said the best looking ugly car ever built

I loved my '84 GTI! Bought it new and I put 90,000 miles on it before trading it in. I once outran a 911 in street racing.  Damn close to doing it against a 240Z, but his top-end was higher. I had to watch him pull away when we hit 105. I collected tickets like trading cards! lol


You left out the Geo metro. A car worth remembering in my view


I'd look for the GTI any time, if I had the room, and I'm always up for Mitsubishi 2 litre 

engines in anything; I have two of them, and they are absolutely trouble free.

Pit Crew

Dodge Daytona Turbo Z,    1987 Shelby Daytona even better.