"I have a fair budget for a used car, preferably a petrol hot hatch with reasonable MPG consumption and also suitable for everyday car use. I am thinking of something up to a 2.0-litre engine. I am looking currently at the SEAT Ibiza III FR, SEAT Leon Cupra, SEAT Ibiza VI FR, SEAT Leon, Audi S3, Audi A3, Audi quattro, Volkswagen Golf V GTI, and Volkswagen Polo V. Can you please advice me what is the best choice and also what are the most common issues with the above cars."
The current Ibiza Cupra 1.8 TSI or Polo GTI 1.8 TSI are good, but a Ford Fiesta ST goes and handles better. Avoid Audi A1, Ibiza and Polo with the 1.4 Twincharger engine and DSG transmission. Current A3 with EA888 engine okay; previous one had trouble with timing chain, piston rings and coking up of inlet valves. The current SEAT Leon FR 1.8 TSI with independent rear suspension is okay. I'd avoid the previous generation of hot Leon because they are ugly. Avoid Golf V and VI because they are the most troublesome cars recorded. Polo and Ibiza 1.2 with timing chains can have timing chain trouble. Check them all out at http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/