Many think of the Motability Scheme as only offering sensible cars with practical applications for disabled drivers. However, you may be surprised by some of the high performance sporty vehicles on the Scheme which offer not only practicality but also serious fun for petrol-heads too.

By Michael Park

The Scheme has plenty to offer those looking for something that’s a little bit snazzy and nippy around town; those cars which excite the soul, set the pulse racing and generally lift spirits. In our sporty issue, we take a look at some of the best ‘sporty cars’ available through Motability.

Honda Civic 1.4 iVTec Sport


Since its redesign in 2005, the Honda Civic has become a mainstay of the sporty stable thanks to its souped-up Type R model but for those looking for a Civic on Motability there are plenty of options available.

The 1.4 litre iVTec Sport offers the practicality of a five-door with a spacious boot along with plenty of the vim and vigour you would expect from a sport-focused hatchback. Although it develops quite a lot of road noise, especially on the motorway, the Civic will not disappoint in the acceleration stakes, feeling nippy and nimble at both low and high speeds.

Being a Honda, it also boasts excellent reliability along with stability control, plenty of airbags and active anti-whiplash front head restraints. It should be noted that there is not much headroom in the cabin for either driver or passengers but it makes up for it with plenty of legroom.

Transmission: Manual
Engine Type: Petrol
CO2 Emissions: 131 g/km
Fuel Economy: 51.40 mpg
Advance Motability Payment: £0

MINI Mini 2.0TD Cooper SD 5dr


It may be almost 50 years since the Mini Cooper first became a motoring icon. Thankfully though, the modern Mini is a much larger and more practical vehicle and the high performance Cooper SD has five doors where the original sixties Mini struggled to accommodate two.

On the road the Cooper SD is surprisingly quick and nimble but due to its sports setup gives a very firm ride indeed, meaning that it may not be ideal for those who prefer a softer journey. However, if you like a swashbuckling car then the turbocharged two litre engine offers a wow factor, developing 168 brake horsepower and going from 0-60mph in just 7.4 seconds.

Transmission: Manual
Engine Type: Petrol
CO2 Emissions: 112 g/km
Fuel Economy: 65.70 mpg
Advance Motability Payment: £1,799

SEAT Leon 2.0TDI SE Tech Pack 5dr


Unlike many sport focused models, the SEAT Leon offers the hallowed blend of performance and practicality, ideal for petrol-heads looking for a family run-around which doesn’t skimp on speed.

The Leon’s firm ride and well-weighted steering make it feel exceptionally nimble on the road while its 380 litres of boot space mean that it is as adept at handling long holiday road trips just as easily as the school run.

In the accessibility stakes the SEAT can boast a number of ‘adjustables’ in the driver’s seat and the car offers fantastic forward visibility but it is worth bearing in mind that the view is impeded in the rear by large pillars.

Transmission: Automatic
Engine Type: Diesel
CO2 Emissions: 115 g/km
Fuel Economy: 64.20 mpg
Advance Motability Payment: £1,399

Volkswagen Golf 1.4TSI R-Line


No round-up of sporty marques would be complete without the Volkswagen Golf. While the classic of the genre – the Golf GTI – isn’t available on Motability, speed lovers will be pleased to hear that the 1.4TSI R-Line does the same job and more.

Its iconic looks and exceptional drive quality come together to cement the Golf’s place as one of the best cars in its class. It boasts a comfortable ride and excellent body control with tight, responsive steering, something which many sporty models from other manufacturers struggle to offer.

In the cabin you’ll find high quality fittings, extra safety features and a simple dash layout with enough leg and headroom for four tall people, although the space can feel a bit tight with five in the car.

Transmission: Automatic
Engine Type: Petrol
CO2 Emissions: 113 g/km
Fuel Economy: 58.90 mpg
Advance Motability Payment: £999

Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0JTDm-2 5dr


There is no doubt that Alfa Romeos are beautifully designed cars and bring that touch of southern European refinement to the streets of the UK without breaking the bank, but they often come with a reputation for being unreliable.

Thankfully the Giulietta 2.0JTDm-2 offers a much sturdier diesel engine and while there are compromises in the build quality, the Alfa is one drivers choose for style over substance. That being said, its performance is excellent and this model with its two litre turbodiesel develops class-leading levels of torque at fairly low engine revs.

Transmission: Manual
Engine Type: Diesel
CO2 Emissions: 110 g/km
Fuel Economy: 67.30 mpg
Advance Motability Payment: £995

Abarth 500 1.4 Tjet 595 Turismo 3dr


Abarth are renowned for taking Fiat’s strikingly designed small cars and turning them into brazen ‘hot hatches’ and thankfully their remodelling of the Fiat 500 is now available on Motability.

The Abarth feels for all the world like a little rally car, the special Abarth badge (a scorpion on a red and yellow shield) replaces the standard Fiat branding and adds a sturdy bodykit and striking paintwork. In the cabin, drivers are also treated to sports seats (something to consider if you require a softer ride), a sports steering wheel and instrumentation like a turbo pressure gauge.

It has a short wheelbase and is one of the less practical cars on this list with very little room in the cabin for passengers but in terms of pure excitement, its sharp handling, taut ride and remarkable acceleration mark it out as a go-to car for good old fashioned fun.

Transmission: Automatic
Engine Type: Petrol
CO2 Emissions: 134 g/km
Fuel Economy: 48.70 mpg
Advance Motability Payment: £999

BMW X1 2.0TD sDrive18d xLine 5dr


If sporty ‘hot hatches’ don’t appeal then look no further than the two wheel drive BMW X1 xLine. A striking crossover with performance which has adaptive suspension damping, allowing drivers to set a more comfortable ride for the day-to-day and a firmer, sportier setting for when the opportunity presents to open up the two litre turbodiesel engine.

The X1 is a compact SUV with sport trim making it much more practical in terms of both storage and accessibility for disabled drivers. It offers plenty of space and refinement in the cabin but its relatively small size makes it a particularly fun and fast car to drive. 

Transmission: Automatic
Engine Type: Diesel
CO2 Emissions: 114 g/km
Fuel Economy: 65.70 mpg
Advance Motability Payment: £2,599