Japanese car manufacturers have produced a number of superb, driver-focused hot hatches over the past few decades. To pick the best of all would be almost impossible, so here's our top 5!

1. Toyota Starlet Glanza V

Toyota Starlet

Weighing in at a featherweight 950kg and powered by a punchy 1331cc turbocharged engine the Starlet Glanza V boasts an impressive power to weight ratio at nigh on 150bhp per tonne. As you may have already guessed, this little pocket-rocket makes for a hugely entertaining car to drive even in standard guise!

Source your Glanza V here

2. Honda Civic Type R (EP3)

Honda Civic Type R EP3

The JDM EP3 is still a relative unknown here in the UK so you’d be forgiven for thinking it was simply a UK model in white. There are however a number of improvements that make the JDM model extremely attractive in comparison. Powered by the a more powerful K20A engine the Japanese version also shares the same gearbox as the legendary DC5 Integra Type R. Fitted with a limited slip differential from the factory makes cornering an absolute pleasure as does the cabin where interior trim changes include an aluminium centre panel and exclusive RECARO seats. All in all the JDM version is a more focused and far rarer alternative to its UK cousin...

Source your JDM EP3 here

3. Nissan Sunny Pulsar GTi-R

Nissan Pulsar GTI-R

For many the Nissan Pulsar GTi-R was THE hatchback poster car from the nineties. Released as a homologation special in order to enter Group A it rubbed shoulders with the likes of the Lancia Delta Integrale and Escort Cossie. Producing an impressive 189bhp per tonne from the SR20DET turbocharged engine it packs a decent punch and transfers the power to the tarmac through all 4 wheels. Early examples now elegible for import into the US has driven prices up in Japan and we see this trend continuing especially for the best examples. Grab yourself a 90's icon before its too late!

Source your Pulsar GTi-R here

4. Honda Civic Type R (EK9)

Honda Civic Type R EK9

The first Civic Type R, started a long evolution of CTRs that are still being produced today. Lightweight, raw and 8000+rpm. It’s an absolute belter to drive with it’s front helical limited-slip differential and close ratio gearbox. Back in it’s day the B16B engine boasted one of the highest power output per litre of all time for a naturally-aspirated engine. It was Honda’s idea of a car capable of high performance on the circuit. Today its cemented itself in history and become a cult classic. Values are now relecting this with a massive demand not only in the UK and Japan but worldwide. We're certain the US market are chewing at the bit for these to reach 25 years old so expect a further price hike once this little hatch closes in!

Source your EK9 here

5. Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C

Subaru Impreza Spec C Hatch

Occasionally a car is released that fails to receive the praise it deserves. The Hatch STI was one of those cars. At the time it seemed like it came and went without much more than a nod. Thankfully its making a come back and consequently orders for this model are at an all time high. Not only are they a brilliant car to drive on the road and track but they're actually available at a favourable price in Japan compared to earlier models such as the Hawkeye STI. Models such as the lightweight Spec C and limited edition R205 (400 units) offer just a little more and will likely beocme even more sought after in years to come.

Source your Impreza hatch here

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