Hot Hatches, a mostly European (Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy-R) and Japanese staple of performance (Honda Civic Type R), and the most practical car that can also be taken to a track.

Why is it then that hot hatches sort of arrived late to the American automotive industry?

It all goes back to the eighties, while European car makers were downsizing due to emissions regulations and skyrocketing fuel prices, their USA counterparts were merely attaching catalytic converters and ridiculously limiting exhaust systems to current engines.

Back across the pond legends such as the Golf GTI and Peugeot 205 GTI had already cemented a new class of performance automobile: the Hot Hatch.

Being affordable, practical, compact, and nimble made this new type of spicy car very successful, and all car makers jumped in on the trend. To this day, Renaultsport Megane & Honda Civic still have a humongous market presence, at least in Europe.

But in America, things are somewhat different, while the 90’s meant downsizing for Euro cars, USDM vehicles got bigger, especially pickup trucks. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that Americans started having a market for hot hatches.

What do you think? What’s the best USDM hot hatch?

Renaultsport Megane 275 Trophy-R vs Honda Civic Type R DEADLY RIVALS Video