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Mazda MPS

In an age where hot hatches have staged a revival on the new car landscape, the MPS makes the list because of its point-and-squirt capability.

Point because it steers as though it has German blood, and squirt because it is the hottest four-potter in production at Hiroshima. The MPS is raw, mean and keen. It offers enormous bang for your buck, with this $43,000-odd package delivering stunning performance.

It has the tricky differential - torque management keeping a lid on the MPS's boost in first and second.

The MPS is tough and practical and has the attributes for those seeking track day enjoyment. But some judges found it too pricey and too hard-edged for a day-to-day ride, and there were questions about the look for hot-hatch buyers.