Starting MSRP: $23,664
The Mazdaspeed3's perennial rival among fast cars for the best cheap-and-speedy hatchback sold in the U.S., the Volkswagen GTI drops a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine in a two- or four-door compact car body. That engine produces 200 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque in the GTI, propelling it to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, according to Volkswagen.
The GTI is based on the best-selling Golf hatchback, which offers somewhat cramped seating for five and ample cargo flexibility, thanks to folding seats. Also like the Mazdaspeed3, the GTI jacks up the base Golf's economy-car suspension with performance parts and adds stouter brakes.
Like most Volkswagen cars, the interior is tastefully appointed, with a slick touch-screen stereo that comes standard on GTI models. The end result is a fun-to-drive, economical car that can take you to an estimated 130 mph and 31 mpg on the highway.