Small cars have never been popular in the US, though there are compact offerings available elsewhere that we just don’t get. The lack of compact models has only been exasperated by automakers abandoning these more affordable segments, such as Ford dropping the Fiesta in the US. But in Europe, the Fiesta lives. It has several competitors, and a new Carwow video puts the hotter Fiesta ST against the Hyundai i20 N and the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

The trio’s spec sheets don’t indicate a clear winner, though all three power the front wheels. The Hyundai has a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing 204 bhp (152 kilowatts) and 202 pound-feet (275 Newton-metres) that pairs with a six-speed manual. The Fiesta uses a turbo 1.5-litre three-cylinder that makes 200 bhp (149 kW) and 213 lb-ft (290 Nm) of torque. It, too, has a six-speed manual. A turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine powers the Volkswagen, which makes 200 bhp and 236 lb-ft (320 Nm) of torque.

Gallery: Hyundai i20 N (2021)

Race conditions were far from perfect, with the wet tarmac making it difficult for the three. However, there was a clear performance leader. The first race had the Ford winning by a smidge, but the Hyundai won the next three races. The VW trailed. Two rolling races helped the VW secure a pair of wins thanks to its automatic gearbox. However, the VW falls when the cars are placed in their sportiest setting for the last two rolling races. The Ford wins one while the Hyundai takes the other.

The final test between the three was a brake test from 70 miles per hour (113 kilometres per hour). The VW stopped in the shortest distance, with the Hyundai and Ford nearly tied. Again, the wet conditions didn’t make the test easy for any of the vehicles, but it was still exciting to see the hot hatches compete for superiority.