The Corsa VXR is on sale now, priced from £18,925. This may be over £1000 more than the starting price for a Fiesta ST, but to receive the same level of standard kit, buyers would have to opt for an ST2, which starts from £18,895. The great thing about both cars of course is that they're freely subject to discounts at dealerships, so you needn't pay much heed to the bare figures.
The Corsa is slightly more potent than its rival from Ford (unless you opt for the Fiesta ST200) but we'd still pick the Fiesta on driving thrills. The Corsa and ST perfectly illustrate the difference between a good hot hatchback and a great one - while you'll enjoy driving the Vauxhall, the Ford is the much more involving experience, with more feedback, a livelier chassis, a fruitier exhaust and induction noise and the more satisfying driving position.
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Peugeot’s 205bhp 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport trades blows with the Fiesta ST200 as the benchmark hot hatch in the segment, offering the strongest combination of outright grip and urgency. Its straight-line performance figures match the VXR’s, but as talented as the focused Pug is, it’s significantly more expensive at £22,900. You can get a regular 208 GTI for £20,050 - while it's not as fun as the Peugeot Sport model, it's still a worthy offering, with a more fluid ride than its brother (and indeed, than most other hot hatches) and feels like a higher quality product than the Vauxhall.
Also in the fight are the MINI Cooper S and VW Polo GTI. Whilst this pairing appears more premium, both are priced significantly higher than the VXR - £19,130 and £19,430 respectively – and neither can offer quite the same amount of excitement on the limit. The Renault Sport Clio 220 Trophy is a better effort but an imperfect Renault Sport car - the frustrating dual-clutch gearbox and characterless turbocharged engine are still to blame for that.