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21 October 2010 @ 09:31 am
No junk in this trunk. Actually, no trunk at all.  
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m constantly thinking about what my next car will be.
I have a “stage system.” Stage one will start after I’ve graduated college and have a secure job and will probably involve something like a Volkswagen Golf GTI, or a BMW 1 Series. Something fun, relatively cheap, but still practical and fun to drive - with a manual transmission, of course.
I won’t go into detail about the rest of the stages, but there are five and the cars get more fantastic as my (hoped) income level increases. As for right now, I have an affinity for little hatchbacks with lots of performance, a manual transmission, and a good, clean design (both inside and out).
But there’s a problem, this class of car hasn’t hit too well within the borders of our lovely North America. This has never made sense to me, simply because in Europe, Australia, and Japan, hatchbacks are among the top bestselling cars due to them being pretty low-priced, offering practicality and the potential to look really, really good.
So with that, I will divulge right into the topic: “Hot Hatches!” Now, if you don’t know what those are just yet, that’s OK. It just means that the North American automotive industry has kept you nicely under their shadow of V-8 engines, and turbo diesel trucks. The term “hot hatch” was introduced back in the ‘70s with the debut of the 1976 Volkswagen Golf GTI. It was a simple, boxy, three-door hatchback. Available in four-speed manual, it pumped out 110 brake horsepower, which is impressive today, but back in its era, that was astonishing. Essentially, a hot hatch is a car with a three or five door configuration, usually front engine, front wheel drive, with a manual transmission.
From this little VW, the hot hatch era was born. The Golf GTI still exists today sitting alongside its counterparts like the Mazdaspeed3 and the Ford Focus RS. Unfortunately, as I said before, we don’t get many of them here. Between Canada and the United States; there are about eight real hot hatches, where as Europe alone has about 44, and that’s not including Asia or Oceania countries.
Take a look at the 2011 Ford Focus RS, one of my personal favourites. This car pumps out a ridiculous 300 horsepower, out of a five cylinder! That means it hits 0-100 in a blazing 5.9 seconds, only a hair slower than the eight-cylinder CTS-V, and looks really good doing it. The price is quite high, however. Going for £33,490 GBP, which translates into about $54,520 Cdn. That is a lot of money for a two-door hatchback. But when you look at the fact that performance-wise, it competes with cars in the $70,000 to $80,000 price range, it starts to show its value.
If that’s too much money for you, then have a look at another gorgeous hatch. The 2011 Subaru WRX STI starts at $33,395;and you won’t have to move to England to buy one. As for me, I will gladly move to Italy one day simply so I can indulge in Alfa Romeos, Lancias and the like. But that’s just me.

2011 Ford Focus RS LeMans. These special edition beauties in nostalgic Ford racing paint schemes will set you back about, well, the price isn’t released yet. But aren’t the pretty to look at? And the coolest thing, these five right here are the only ones Ford is making.