Steve Fowler 2019-10-09 14:55
Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks the rise of the electric hot hatchback means there's still plenty of life left in the sector
It's us Brits and our love affair with the hot hatch that has kept the genre going over the years. Quite simply, we buy, drive and cherish more of them than anyone else on the planet.
But even our die-hard enthusiasm isn’t enough to overcome the ever-tightening emissions legislation that’s set to sound another death knell for the hot hatch. Renault – one of the greatest exponents of the hot hatch art – is struggling to make the numbers work for the next generation of internal combustion-engined hot hatches.
As is the case with petrol-powered city cars the cost of reducing CO2 emissions in hot hatches will make them too expensive to buy. So will we be waving goodbye to another much-loved class of car?
Thankfully, no. Electrification is the answer – and a good one at that. I know from my inbox that electric cars aren’t for everyone, but the thought of an electrified hot hatch is something we should all look forward to.
As today’s hot hatches have got heavier, with more safety and luxury gear on board, they’ve lost that instant, snappy acceleration that made the hot hatch so popular in the first place. Sure, a 0-60 time of 8.8 seconds for my 1988 Citroen AX GT pales into insignificance next to the sub-five-second figures posted by the hottest hatches of today. But the initial acceleration of those old-school cars made them feel just as fast and often even more fun.
And it’s that initial acceleration that makes driving an electric car so much fun. It brings back memories of my youth and, as I’ve said before, 0-30mph should be the new performance benchmark – it’s more relevant today.
Only this week, I’ve been with our German colleagues on Auto Bild judging a range of cars – including electric ones – on the Eurospeedway circuit in southern Germany. An EV on track is a different experience, but still great fun. So roll on the next generation of electric hot hatch. I can’t wait.
Do you think electric will be the saviour of the hot hatch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…