Hot hatches have made a bit of an impact in 2010.Traditional powerhouses in the segment like Volkswagen and Renault have been joined by the likes of Skoda and Citroën, while Ford has muscled its way in with the most powerful road car the Blue Oval has ever released.Alfa Romeo has staged a storming recovery and actually managed to deliver a good looking car that drives and handles well whilst also being reasonably priced – a shock for all involved.We’ve whittled this top five down from a host of applicants- the majority of which can feel aggrieved for missing out. The fact is there were a lot of hot hatch releases in 2010 (Renault alone released three models) so we couldn’t fit them all in.What we have done however is discriminated along a number of different themes including affordability, styling and pure performance to create not necessarily the best hot hatches available but a pool worth picking from.Skoda Fabia vRS
Traditionally the Fabia vRS has been a somewhat reluctant hot hatch. In fact it has been conspicuous in refusing to bow to the more overt hot hatch exteriors of its rivals.Not anymore.Skoda has ditched the conservative exterior and added a black roof which is mated with aggressive looking alloys. Similarly a normal diesel powertrain has been ditched and replaced with a potent turbo and supercharged 178bhp 1.4-litre engine.Couple all that with steering wheel paddle shifts and an aggressive advertising campaign and its clear that Skoda has abandoned its shy approach to the hot hatch market and gone all out, producing a car capable of clearing 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds.Ford Focus RS
Ford’s Focus RS is the US manufacturer’s fastest ever production car.It’s capable of clearing 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds courtesy of its 300bhp 2.5-litre engine.With aggressive, muscular styling features across its exterior, the Focus RS is one of the more overt hot hatches on the market; it’s also one of the best handling as well.The RS features Ford’s aptly named RevoKnuckle suspension system that aids front wheel traction. As such it handles far better than its comparatively stiff ST predecessor.The RS is the culmination of 38 years of development and experience and you can tell – a motoring icon in its infancy.If the standard RS isn’t enough, the limited edition RS 500 packed with 350bhp and a top speed of 165mph. Unfortunately, all 500 sold out almost immediately. Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf
The standard Giulietta has been well received since its release earlier this year.Typically, Alfa’s are renowned for their stunning good looks and design and also for their drive and handling which lets the Italian manufacturer down. However in the Giulietta, Alfa has managed to mate good looks with good drive and handling.This is even more noticeable on the Cloverleaf hot hatch, an expected development considering the Cloverleaf badging has appeared on some of Alfa’s greatest track cars.The Cloverleaf is powered by a potent 235bhp engine and it is lightning quick as a result. Alfa has also managed to throw in brilliant levels of handling which make driving the Cloverleaf a delight.Surprisingly, it’s also reasonably priced.In fact when all its attributes are appreciated together it is clear that the Giulietta Cloverleaf is a genuine contender to the Volkswagen Golf GTI- the traditional class-leader in the hot hatch segment.Citroën DS3 Racing
As has been well documented, the DS3 has delivered a breath of fresh air to the French marque who had been meandering along, content with producing run-of-the-mill superminis and MPVs.The DS line has changed that by offering a modern, exciting vehicle and design language and has complemented the range with a DS3 Racing hot hatch.It looks brilliant and benefits from two, two-tone finishes of orange with black and white with grey – making it stand out from the crowd.Under the bonnet the DS3 Racing houses a 200bhp engine that is capable of clearing 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 146mph.The standard fittings of the DS3 are also admirable including parking sensors, cruise control and Citroën’s eTouch Assistance and Emergency system – all of which is available for around £23,000.Renaultsport Twingo
The Renaultsport Twingo is the cheapest hot hatch in this top five and that’s a lot of the reason why it has made it into the reckoning at all.Priced at around £12,000 the souped-up Twingo offers a lot of power for the cost and size of the vehicle.Renault has quite the sporting heritage having produced a range of exciting and capable hot hatches through the years and the Twingo is testament to that fact.It houses a 1.6-litre turbo engine that clears 0-62mpg in 8.7 seconds and weighs hardly anything for a car equipped with an engine of this size.That’s code for a nippy little car.