Enthusiast Car Buying Roundup: Hot Hatchbacks

Focus RS

Welcome back to our monthly series “enthusiast car buying roundup” where we, your trusty RFD crew (squad?  I think the kids are saying squad) bring you the best from the new and used market.  Last month you got some Big V8 Hotness.  I’m sure you like it big and hot, but today we’re going small, and..well…hot.  Hot hatchbacks to be specific.  Justin just told you about how the hatchback is making a comeback, in a roundabout way at least.  So what are you waiting for, go buy one!  Wait, you need recommendations?  Let’s go for a little ride.


As with last month, these will constitute nationwide searches on cars.com.  There are lots of other great sites out there to search for your next ride, this just happens to be one of the largest and one I use regularly.  Go see Doug and our other friends over at Oversteer for some cool Autotrader stuff!  So sit back, dream big, and maybe you’ll see something you want.

On with the shopping!

Ford Focus RS

Lowest Price: $26,416 (brand f’ing new)

The Focus RS is the hottest hatchback on the market.  Period.  Thompson claims it will never be a cult classic.  He’s wrong, this is the man who also suggested you buy a Chevy Cobalt over any other car.  So consider the source.  The RS is amazing and I want one.  If you also want one, buy new.  Don’t waste your time on the used market, this car is rare’ish and people who bought them are looking to flip them with a few thousand miles for the mid $30K range.  Head to the new car market if you want one, not only does it guarantee that you’re the first person to hoon it, but you can pay less.  Specifically it’s time to road trip to Tenvoorde Ford in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  Not only do they claim to be the oldest Ford dealer in the world, they are advertising a Focus RS for $26,416!  I couldn’t verify it on their website, maybe of you already bought it.  That’s ridiculously cheap, and an outlier, but there are still a bunch of cars on there for under $35,000.  A nationwide search only turned up 46 used Ford Focus RS for sale with the cheapest barely eeking in at $34,998 and the highest right here in DC at a “are you fucking kidding me” $48,900.

Volkswagen Golf R

Lowest Price: $15,000 (2012 with 113,500 miles)

The Golf R is a fantastic car.  I drove one 1200 miles over 17 hours on an epic road trip from DC to New Orleans.  That little stunt got our VW press access pulled (even though nowhere did the agreement I signed specify a mileage limit!) but I still look fondly on the little AWD VW.  It’s definitely the grown up in this segment, in my opinion even looking a bit more tame than it’s lesser cousin the GTI.  If you are willing to take a risk on a high mileage option, a car that did 22,700 miles a year, “Fabian” will sell you one for $15 Grand.

Golf R
If you’re like me and wouldn’t touch a high mileage Volkswagen that you weren’t cutting the rear end off of, you can specify a lower mileage limit and still get the 2012 era GolfeR under $20,000.  However, if you’re also like me and wouldn’t even touch a VW unless it was brand new with a warranty, you can do that for about the same price as a Focus RS.  Just under $35,000 starting out.

new Golf R

Subaru WRX and STI

Lowest WRX Price : $16,950 (2013 with 36,382 miles)
Lowest STI Price: $20,990 (2011 with 78,930 miles)

You need to travel back in time for a hatchback WRX or STI.  The year was 2014, it was a different time.  A simpler time perhaps.  That was the last year that Subaru gave us a hatch version of these cars.  If you go a year further, you can grab a used one under $17K with not too many miles.

WRX Hatchback

Or if you have to have the tarted up STI, you can, and for not a heck of a lot more money.  Just under $21K will get you a gold wheeled STI with under 80K miles.  Like all hot hatchbacks, buyer beware, these cars may have been modified and driven hard.


Fiat 500 Abarth

Lowest Price: $6,999 (2012 with 70,701 miles)

Buongiorno! The Italian invasion is well underway and the Fiat 500 led the charge.  Obviously the model you want is the 500 Abarth.  It’s rip rorting exhaust alone is worth $7 thousand bucks.  The fact that it can zip through traffic with a notchy manual transmission and still get 34 MPG is a bonus.  This is a crazy fun little car, and a great buy in this range.  Oh and if you want a brand new one, they’re only around $19,000 which is a lot of fun for the monies.

Fiat 500 Abarth

Ford Focus and Fiesta ST

Lowest FoST Price: $11,999 (2013 with 131,319 miles)
Lowest FiST Price: $10,999 (2014 with 70,333 miles)

I’ll finish where I started, with Ford.  The Focus ST isn’t quite up to big brother RS’s level, but it’s a solid car.  I owned one.  While it wasn’t perfect, it was still pretty damn good and for under $12K, you can pick one up.  Want new, how about $18,017 to start for a base Focus ST?

Focus ST

Are you OK with something a bit smaller, with a bit less power, but probably even more fun?  The Fiesta ST is your car.  Check out our project FiST, it’s pretty awesome.  They have held their value fairly well, the cheapest option I saw was only about $1000 less than the Focus ST.  New ones are listed for about $17,000, but if Mustang rebates and incentives are any indication, I bet they will sell way lower than that.

Fiesta ST

Thanks for coming back, next time we’ll tackle some other enthusiast segment.  Leave a comment if you want something specific!


    1. Agreed, they were sacked for sure. Still interesting that they are showing (pretty likely legit) new ones under $35K and people are still looking to sell their used ones for more. Was the same when I was just shopping for Mustang GTs, CPO used ones are mid-$30K range but new ones are $8000 off right now!

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