Ranked

PistonHeads names top hot hatches of the 21st Century

The Ford Fiesta ST is a hot hatch that many Americans wish would be sold stateside.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

If there's one thing car guys almost unanimously love, it's hooning a hot hatch. PistonHeads, the UK's largest online motoring community, has voted to decide which hot hatches are the 21st century's greatest hits.

"People often think of the 1980s as the golden era of the hot hatch. While it's true that there are a host of unrepeatable classics from this time that have gone on to inspire the hot hatches of today, the reality is that in the 21st century we've never had more choice, performance and usability in this sector," said Nic Cackett, Editor of PistonHeads.

To determine the winner, PistonHeads asked members of its motoring community to nominate their favorite hot hatches from the last 20 years, before running a poll on the top 10 nominees to determine the final order.

Scroll down to see the top ten.

No. 10 - Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Photo courtesy of Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo 147 GTA went on sale in 2002. It was powered by a 3.2-liter V6 that produced 247 horsepower and was paired with a six-speed manual gearbox The model was wider than the street version of the 147. It came with an aero package, modified nose, honeycomb grille, and side skirts. Brembo four-piston brake calipers, ventilated front disc brakes, and a revised suspension helped make the model super sporty.

Aluminum accents covered the interior and and the model had a unique black gauge surround on the dash. Sport seats up front were fitted with head restraints.

Most importantly, however, the car came with a 10-CD changer.

No. 9 - Renaultsport Clio 200 Cup

This version of the Clio came with a front splitter, a tweaked exhaust system, shorter gearing (resulting in improved acceleration) and a more responsive steering rack. The car's engine produced 197 bhp. Rennaultsport's new model was available with an Alien Green paint job. It won tremendous accolades when it was new.

No. 8 - Ford Fiesta ST MK7

Ford Fiesta ST MK7

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Fiesta ST is Ford's smallest hot hatch. It has a standard turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Buyers could opt for the Performance Park and get a Quaife limited slip differential, shift change light, and launch control. It can be driver in Normal, Sport, or Race Track mode.

No. 7 - Renaultsport Clio V6

Launched in 2001, the mid-engine, rear-wheel drive model was designed by Renault. Half were built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing and the other half were built by Renault Sport. Its engine produced 281 bhp and was paired with a Sadev gearbox.

No. 6 - Volkswagen Golf GTI MK5

VW Golf GTI MK5

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen gave the Gold GTI a turbocharged 2.00liter four-cylinder engine that produced 197 bhp. The engine was paired with a standard six-speed manual or a six-speed direct shift gearbox. It came in three- and five-door variants. Volkswagen brought the GTI back to the U.S. for this generation.

No. 5 - BMW M140i

BMW M140i

Photo courtesy of BMW

The BMW M140i delivers exactly what you'd expect from BMW. It's a hot hatch that delivers 340 horsepower from its turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine and goes where you point it. Unlike the four cars that rank ahead of it on this list, the M140i isn't stripped to the bare minimum and lightweighted. It's a relatively comfortable daily driver that gets after it when you put the pedal down, can seat five (though four is better), and has a well-appointed cabin.

No. 4 - Renaultsport Clio 172 Cup

This model is the lightweight version of the Clio 172, meant for sport. Like a typical race car, the 172 Cup lacked the creature comforts that buyers could get in a traditional Clio. Its seats were upholstered in durable fabric rather than leather, its Xeonn headlights were replaced by halogen, much of the sound deadening and convenience technology like automatic wipers was removed, as well as the air conditioning.

Renaultsport replaced the wheels with 16-inch Speedline Turinin alloys. The car got matte blue door strips, a plastic front splitter and rear spoiler. It did not have antilock brakes.

No. 3 - Honda Civic Type R EP3

2001 Honda Civic Type R

Photo courtesy of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

Honda introduced the Civic Type R in 2001. Then, it was a three-door hatchback made explicitly for the U.K. market. It came with a 197-horspower 2.-liter V-TEC engine, six-speed manual transmission, and upgraded brakes.

Two years after its debut, the EP3 was upgraded with more precise handling and revised suspension, among other aesthetic changes.

No. 2 - Renaultsport Megane R26.R

The Renaultsport Megane R26.R is the rarest model on this list; the company only produced 450 examples of the car, which was based one the Mégane Renault Sport 230 F1 Team R2. The company took that car and reduced its weight by 271 pounds by removing the rear seats and seat belts, passenger and curtain airbags, climate control system, rear windscreen washer and wiper, heated rear window, fog lamps, headlight washers, radio/CD player, and nearly all the soundproofing.

Additional light weighting took place including the changeout to a carbon fiber hood and install a polycarbonate tailgate and rear side windows. The car got Sabelt seats, a six-point harness, and rear spoiler. Buyers could opt for a roll cage and titanium exhaust when new.

There were new front springs, recalibrated shock absorber settings, grooved disc brakes, offset alloy wheels, and stiffer lower arm bushes.

It became a race car.

No. 1 - Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy

Renaultsport Clio 182 Trophy

Photo courtesy of PistonHeads

Renault produced just 550 versions of the Clio 182 Trophy, its final version of the Clio 182. The car is a bit of a mishmash of other models. It rides on 16-inch Speedline Turini alloy wheels from the 172 Cup and the spoiler from the Clio 255 V6. Its underpinnings included Sachs Remote-Reservoir dampers.

Inside are Recaro Trendline seats. The exterior is finished in an exclusive 727 Capsicum Red Paint with trophy decals on its side skirts. Each model came news with an individually numbered plaque on the base of the driver's seat.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Lordstown Endurance all-electric pickup truck is moving closer to production.

Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

The Lordstown Endurance isn’t under production yet, but the company is already receiving orders for the all-electric pickup truck - 40,000 of them. The model is targeted at commercial fleet vehicle buyers like city governments and large corporate entities that require the capability of a full-size truck.

Each pre-order is a non-binding agreement to purchase the truck, the same as the reservations received by Ford for the Mustang Mach-E and Tesla for the Cybertruck. The purchases equal $2 billion in revenue for the company, which is based in Lordstown, Ohio.

2021 Lordstown Endurance The design of the interior of the Endurance is crisp and modern.Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

Lordstrown has kicked up the cadence of its news releases as the company moves closer to production. In June, the company debuted the truck and announced its $52,000 price point.

July marked the release of the first renderings of the interior of the Endurance and the debut of the first commercial starring the truck. Then, in August, Lordstown announced that they had entered into an agreement with DiamondPeak Holdings to become a publicly traded company.

Lordstown Motors is operating out of the former General Motors Lordstown Assembly site. The new company has its plant next to the battery facility that General Motors is developing to assist with the products coming to market in the future, like the Cadillac Lyriq.

2021 Lordstown Endurance The large screen combines most vital functions of the car’s command center into one place.Photo courtesy of Lordstown Motors

Now, the company as revealed its first pictures of the interior of the truck. Notably, the Endurance has its large screen spanning the width of the driver and center console, housing most all vital functional controls of the vehicle.

Reservations for the truck continue to be taken via the company’s website.

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The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is getting a makeover.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

When Mitsubishi debuted the Eclipse Cross in 2017, the model was revealed to show no similarities to the Eclipse that had garnered generations of enthusiasts for the Japanese automaker. Now, the Eclipse Cross is due for a makeover.

Ahead of a redesign, Mitsubishi is teasing the Eclipse Cross with a new photo.

The photo appears to show the Eclipse Cross with an elongated nose, restyled chrome accents on the front fascia, slanted and slim LED daytime running lights, and a new wheel design. The backside and side panels look very similar to the 2020 Eclipse Cross.

Mitsubishi 2020 lineup Mitsubishi is committed to debuting five models in the next 12 months. Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

"The new design draws inspiration from the Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept emphasizing the strength and dynamics from our SUV heritage, while enhancing the cleanliness and elegance of a coupe-like SUV," said Seiji Watanabe, division general manager of Design, MMC. "The Eclipse Cross is the first step toward the next generation of Mitsubishi Design, and there is so much more to come."

The e-Evolution Concept is an all-electric high-performance SUV prototype that showcases technology and body styling that Mitsubishi plans to bring to market in the near future.

Mitsubishi is set to have the new Eclipse Cross arrive in showrooms in the first quarter of 2021.

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi released details of an aggressive roster of product rollouts it has planned for the next year. Every model in its U.S. lineup will be touched as part of the redesign and refresh efforts as Mitsubishi looks to gain more market share.

The company recently relocated its headquarters to Nashville, Tennessee and entered into the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network mentoring program in conjunction with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

The new My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

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