8 of the best pocket rockets money can buy


Today’s cars are arguably the best they’ve ever been, a perfect fusion of mechanics and electronics. Safety is much more advanced than in previous decades, and some models offer incredible performance credentials that seemed unbelievable even a few years ago. however, the the persistent desire of some luxury brands like Rolls Royce to be the latest and greatest has come with a price tag.The prices of new cars have increased exponentially, and once relatively affordable driver-focused models are now definitely out of reach. Fortunately, many performance improvements have trickled down to smaller cars and drivers can comfortably downsize. The “pocket rocket” is a perfect fit for the job, offering plenty of power, genuine driver involvement and day-to-day usability. They even have the added benefit of blending in with traffic. So you can generally get away with more spicy driving than you could in an eye-catching sports car or supercar. Here are 8 of the best pocket rockets on sale right now.Related: This is what makes the 2023 Alpine R5 a spectacular Hot Hatch

8/8 Toyota Yaris GR

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The rally-inspired Toyota Yaris GR is a real pocket rocket. Don’t let the compact size of the car fool you, the GR is seriously fast. Developed by Toyota’s motorsport division Gazoo Racing, the car was purposely designed to appeal to gearboxes.

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The car has four-wheel drive and is powered by an impressively powerful three-cylinder engine. The 1.6-litre engine produces 257 horsepower, propelling the GR from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.3 seconds. The top speed is also impressive for the type of car, with a top speed of 230 km/h.Related: 10 reasons why car enthusiasts should buy the Toyota GR Yaris

7/8 Ford Fiesta ST

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The regular Ford Fiesta has long been regarded as one of the best handling cars in its class. The ST variant builds on this and is a great choice for the enthusiastic rider. The ST is powered by the 1.5-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost, which is designed to be both powerful and efficient.

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The car’s bigger brother, the Focus ST, has gained a cult following over the years, and the Fiesta ST proves to be an equally excellent pocket rocket. With an output of 199PS, the Fiesta’s engine can shoot to 100km/h in just over 6 seconds before reaching its top speed of 230km/h.

6/8 Hyundai Veloster N

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Starting at just under $35,000, the Veloster N is great value for money. The car is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine and produces a decent 275 hp.

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Both a six-speed manual and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission are available to meet the requirements of most potential buyers. 0-60mph is achievable in just 5.1 seconds, with the car eventually reaching a respectable 155mph.

5/8 Mini Cooper JCW Anniversary Edition

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Mini Cooper’s John Cooper Works (JCW) line was built to celebrate the Mini’s racing heritage. Only 740 copies of the JCW Anniversary Edition will be produced, making it quite exclusive. Under the hood is a 231 hp turbocharged engine.

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The powerful engine enables a top speed of 240 km/h, while acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes just over 6 seconds. Only one color option is available, and each one comes in the stunning “Rebel Green” paint.Related: Mini John Cooper Works is ready for the 24 hours of the Nürburgring

4/8 Volkswagen Up GTI

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The fastest version of the little Up from Volkswagen is a truly accomplished vehicle. The Up GTI punches well above its weight, despite being the entry-level model in the GTI range.

Volkswagen-Up_GTI_UK Version Rear
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The car is powered by just a 999cc engine, but the turbo engine still manages to push out 115 horsepower. 0-60 mph takes just over 8 seconds and the car can reach a top speed of 122 mph. Given its miniscule size, this performance will feel more than adequate.

3/8 Abarth F595

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The Abarth F595 was built to celebrate Abarth’s 50-year association with single-seaters. The car shares a version of the engine used in Formula 4 car racing. The F595’s 1.4-liter turbocharged engine produces 165 horsepower, propelling this little rocket to 100 km/h in just over 7 seconds.

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To add even more character, the F595 is fitted with a “Record Monza Sovrapposto” exhaust, which emits a surprisingly sporty exhaust note.

2/8 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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The Mazda MX-5 has long been one of the most popular compact sports cars, especially among the gearboxes. The car’s handling and performance are almost unparalleled in this segment, especially considering the affordable entry-level model.

Mazda-MX-5_Sport_Venture-2021 Rear
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Priced at just $28,050, the entry-level model offers excellent value for money. Mazda’s engineers have even managed to achieve an almost perfect 50/50 weight distribution, making the car extremely agile and ripe for exploitation.

1/8 Mercedes AMG GLA 45

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Mercedes’ smallest SUV offering is the compact GLA. In standard guise it could be accused of being a bit boring, but a great option nonetheless. Opt for the AMG-tuned GLA 45, however, and things get significantly spicier.

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The car is not a cheap option and has a starting price of $55,400. For this money, however, you get a shrunken premium SUV with a bucket full of performance. Under the hood, Mercedes has equipped the GLA 45 with a handmade AMG 2.0L inline-4 turbo engine. The unit pumps out 382 hp, which, according to Mercedes, has the highest hp / liter in its class. 0-100 km/h is achievable in just 4.4 seconds, giving many sports cars value for money. Sources: Mercedes, Volkswagen, Abarth, Mazda, Mini, Hyundai, Ford, Toyota.