What’s the best affordable driver’s car? Autocar’s 2021 hot hatch video shootout

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Five of the best everyday performance cars under £40,000 go head-to-head – along with one altogether less practical wildcard

If you want fun car for not loads of money, what’s your best option? That’s what Autocar’s contest, Britain’s Best Affordable Driver’s Car, intends to answer every year. Welcome to the 2021 edition. 

We’ve got six driver’s cars to test. Five are practical everyday hatchbacks that also aim to please while they’re at it, and they’re all new for 2021. 

Newest of them all is the Hyundai i20 N. It takes on the Ford Puma ST, the latest Volkswagen Golf R, a Cupra Leon 300, and a BMW 128ti. Then there’s our wildcard, the Caterham Super Seven 1600.

The cars’ prices run from under £25,000 to nearly £40,000, and we’ve driven to the greatest roads in Britain to help us decide. We’re in the Highlands: but there can be only one (see what we did there).

Full specifications below:

Hyundai i20 N

Price £24,995 Power 201bhp at 5500-6000rpm Torque 207lb ft at 1750 -4500rpm Kerb Weight 1220kg 0-62mph 6.2sec Top speed 142mph Fuel Economy 40.4mpg CO2 158g/km

Volkswagen Golf R

Price £39,270 Power 316bhp at 5200-6600rpm Torque 310 lb ft at 2100-5350rpm Kerb Weight 1476kg 0-62mph 4.7sec Top speed 155mph Fuel Economy 35.3-36.2mpg CO2 176-182g/km

Ford Puma ST Performance Pack

Price £29,460 Power 197bhp at 6000rpm Torque 236lb ft at 2500-3500rpm Kerb Weight 1283kg 0-62mph 6.7sec Top speed 137mph Fuel Economy 41.5mpg CO2 155g/km

Cupra Leon 300 VZ2

Price £35,125 Power 296bhp at 5500rpm Torque 295lb ft at 2000-5200rpm Kerb Weight 1420kg 0-62mph 5.7sec Top speed 155mph Fuel Economy 35.8-37.2mpg CO2 171-179g/km

BMW 128ti

Price £33,885 Power 261bhp at 4750-6500rpm Torque 295lb ft at 1750-4500rpm Kerb weight 1445kg 0-62mph 6.1sec Top speed 155mph Fuel economy 38.2-40.9mpg CO2 157-170g/km

Caterham Super Seven 1600 SV

Price £39,665 Power 135bhp at 6800rpm Torque 122lb ft at 4100rpm Kerb weight 565kg 0-62mph 5.0sec Top speed 122mph