Why I hate the cheap hot hatch?

Why the cheap hot hatch was the worst idea ever made.

Alvaro martínez is a young content creator from spain which writes content on his spare time and greatly enjoys every day he gets to share with the automotive community


Many of you car enthusiasts like me are likely subscribed to YouTube channels who talk wonders about sports cars along telling wonderful stories and anecdotes about them, maybe even talk about how fun they are to drive along the incredible number of modifications they will do to them as soon they take care of the rust.

Every young man when they get their license wants more or less something juvenile, something both practical and sporty that attracts attention on their local friend group with enough capacity for four people and as well be easy to fix… Our answer naturally lies on the hot hatch segment along the used car market.  


The car in the image is a 2007 Astra GTC, to be exact is the diesel model since I found it to be manageable when it came to fuel efficiency and performance when you really let either of those qualities shine. It does look and feel like one with it’s low profile tires, the sports body along that hard suspension with that ‘SPORT’ mode button that soon turns a calm diesel capybara into a wrath infused Diesel bull, however… it’s not all wine and roses when it comes to the everyday scenario.

Why I hate it so much?

To begin, a hard suspension although it gives benefits on handling and acceleration performance… it’s not comfortable for doing long trips which can really make your back suffer, you really get to feel everything on the road, the potholes, the cracks, your crippling depression… along the poor state of your bank account as a young adult.

Low profile tires might be able to improve handling and maybe the fuel economy of the car under certain circumstances, but paired together with a hard suspension the ride is incredibly rough the moment you take a turn into a road frequently used by trucks. It doesn’t help that the second you miss a big pothole you grow afraid thinking you’ve punctured the tire or damaged the rim, parking as well doesn’t get any less stressful knowing you can puncture and damage the rim if you as much bump the sidewall against the curb.

And for a driver who went back to driving after a long hiatus… SPORT mode is certainly unnerving when the car won’t stop jerking back and forth like a raging bull as you feather the throttle waiting patiently behind a truck so the oncoming lane is clear of cars in order to overtake it safely.

I can safely say I hate my Astra GTC, it doesn’t even sound good as either the diesel or the petrol model, I know it’s not a car made for comfort like my father’s Volvo. I have present that sports cars are all trouble if you can’t handle the drawbacks on the everyday driving scenario but… Why I haven’t traded it in for the cheapest and comfiest diesel econobox? The answer is pretty simple. 

Because I love it. 

You see… all those drawbacks have their reason for being in a sporty hatch, you can’t exactly have everything in one car even if the snobs driving luxury BEVs tell you that you can have both a sporty and comfortable car. Their luxury cars will never be as cheap on the second hand market or easy to repair.

I got to admit that… maybe the diesel engine won’t pack as much of a punch like the petrol model or have it’s same presence. But the diesel model certainly feels amazing the second it comes out of a corner unleashing all of it’s torque leaving more than one racer boy on the mountain roads put to deep shame on their 1990 Fiat Bravo.

And even if I still hate the hard suspension… I can’t hate it as hard as I love it, corners in which my grandfather’s car struggled to turn without leaning like a boat or screeching the tires at 100kph with a pathetic understeer… My GTC easily took them at 160kph with the stability of the Euro and the firmness of a house’s foundation. Maybe I’ll have to slow down much more than a normal econobox when a speed bump approaches, but after leaving the labyrinthine city roads behind and taking a detour through a mountain road it does make it rewarding to have patience to enjoy the car’s handling on it’s true territory.

And the sport mode? Maybe it won’t feel smooth to even feather the throttle, but I know that the moment the intake opens up, the suspension becomes firmer and the gear ratio changes my car will be ready to give me it’s everything to overtake the bothersome truck on my lane while giving me both the feeling of terror that my grandpa gave me when he drove like a rally driver after picking me and my sister from school.


I definitely can’t get myself to hate it, no matter how uncomfortable it is on long trips or how stressful it can be to drive on bumpy roads or through the city. I don’t care how adults think that a young person combined with a slightly sporty car is an inminent danger to their safety compared to 89 year olds behind the wheel with the reflexes of an anesthetized sloth.

The hot hatch will never be perfect no matter how much it is polished, how much tech is put or how much they try to improve it in many different ways. But for me it does feel perfect as a first car, something you can look back at the moment you lock it on a parking lot and think about how fun it was to drive on that winding road, how practical it was when helping getting your friends around and occasionally scare them with a properly done slalom between lampposts on a Mcdonalds parking lot.

At the end of the day the hot hatch regardless of any difference it feels perfect. It’s a car I can easily park on limited space, cheap to maintain and insure along bringing my friends along for parties or comic conventions and above all… it’s a car that can make someone feel young the moment they press the pedal to the metal

It’s just… the perfect car.

Published in All Rants

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David Olsen-Fabian
1 year ago

As you age, you’ll find yourself driving ever smoother and more comfortable cars. If I need a cheap car I’m looking for an older luxury model. My broken body doesn’t do visceral anymore. Bumps equate to pain! So enjoy that hot hatch. Drive the snot out of it, break it, fix it and go again!!!!

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