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Published February 11, 2022
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Hatchbacks - they’re often sporty, small for easy maneuverability and dare we say, even cute? (Have you seen Honda Fit?)
There are loads of reasons to consider a hatchback as your next car, with the top reason that hatchback models are capable of carrying loads of your stuff and make it easy to load in and out with a lift gate.
Here’s our guide to help you decide whether a hatchback is your dream car, and a best of list to narrow down your choices.
Car and Driver sums it up as to why you may want a practical and fun-to-drive hatchback in your life: “Hatchbacks hit both those marks better than most other body styles, offering a rear lift gate and easily accessible, open cargo area like most SUVs. Plus, they have the perky driving attributes of a small car.”
Considered a joy to drive, the Mazda3 offers athletic handling, peppy acceleration, a nice-looking cabin and an intuitive infotainment system. Available all-wheel drive is another plus.
Raise that hatch and you’ll find 20.1 cubic feet of cargo area, about average for the compact class. The Mazda3 receives top marks for safety from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
One of the few drawbacks of the Mazda3 is a cramped back seat, more suitable for kids than adults.
Looking for an environmentally friendly hatchback? The Chevrolet Volt, a five-seater plug-in hybrid hatchback, was discontinued in 2019, but there are plenty of used Volts still on the market.
The Volt has an all-electric driving range of 53 miles, excellent for a PHEV, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Volt's total range estimate – combining electric and gasoline range – is about 420 miles. Drivers will find good acceleration from a stop, roomy front seats and a good assortment of standard features. Cargo area is 10.6 cubic feet, with more space with the rear seats folded down.
The Ford Focus was discontinued in the U.S. in 2018 after the automaker decided to get out of the sedan manufacturing business. That included the loss of the Focus hatchback, described as sporty and fun to drive, with a good predicted reliability rating.
Although no longer in production, it’s easy to find a used Ford Focus. Drivers are sure to love the smooth ride, strong available engines and spacious front seats. Not so much the cramped headroom and legroom in the back seat.
Affordability is good, with the average listing price of $14,500 for a 2018 Ford Focus.
Swift acceleration, a spacious, high-quality cabin, excellent fuel economy and high safety standards - what’s not to love about the Honda Civic hatchback?
Just because the Civic is small doesn’t mean it’s not mighty. The base engine is a 174-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Adding to the fun is an available ultra-performance Type R trim that seats four and is powered by a 306-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
The 2020 Civic hatchback has a roomy 22.6 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to more than 46 cubic feet with the split-foldiing rear seat down.
The BMW 3 is all about performance, with athletic and dynamic handling for taking on winding roads with ease. Feel the acceleration of a 248-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. All-wheel drive is an available option.
Although it doesn’t have the most plush cabin in the small luxury car class, driver and passengers will find comfort in the spacious seats, and there’s plenty of legroom and headroom in the back for adults as well.
Cargo area in the BMW 3 series hatchback, (the 3 series is also available as a sedan and as a wagon until 2019) is 24.6 cubic feet, or 56.8 cubic feet with the back seats folded down.
The Ford Fiesta hatchback model comes in SE, ST-Line, and ST trims, with a 197-horsepower, manual only transmission available.
Otherwise, this sporty hatchback runs a 120-horsepower 4-cylinder. Both options offer agile handling and a smooth ride over bumps in the road. U.S. News and World Report describes the cabin as “handsome.”
If you’re looking for a city commuter, the fun-to-drive Fiesta is a good choice if you’re willing to sacrifice space in the back seats. This subcompact was discontinued in 2019, but you can find a used Ford Fiesta easily.
Nice to look at with a spacious cargo hold, the Hyundai Elantra GT (the hatchback version of the popular Elantra sedan) also sports good fuel efficiency, a sophisticated, stylish cabin and an easy-to-use infotainment system.
Engine options are a 161-hp four-cylinder engine or a 201-hp turbocharged four-cylinder.
The Elantra GT has the biggest cargo area among competitors, with 24.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Fold the back seats down for 55.1 cubic feet of cargo space. Driver and passengers will find plenty of comfort and space in the front and back seats for longer trips.
The Volkswagen Golf does what hatchbacks do best - offer lots of cargo space. That it also features agile handling and an upscale and comfy cabin are nice extras.
For the 2020 model year, Volkswagen added synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats and a sunroof as standard features for the Golf. The 2020 Volkswagen Golf is available in only one trim, the TSI, with a turbocharged 147-horsepower engine and either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
In the rear hatch, you’ll find 22.8 cubic feet of cargo space, and 53.7 cubic feet with the rear seats down.
With a roomy and versatile cargo hold, high-quality interior, extended suite of safety features and good predicted reliability, the Fit is another great hatchback offering from Honda.
The space inside the subcompact Fit may surprise you. The Fit comes standard with Honda’s Magic Seat. The rear seat cushions can fold up to haul taller items, and the front passenger seat can be folded flat to accommodate larger objects.
On top of being able to fit all of your gear for weekend adventures, the Fit is a good commuter car, getting up to 33 mph in the city, and 40 mpg on the highway.
The Impreza is the only compact hatchback on this list with standard all-wheel drive. Although its engine is described as “lethargic,” the Impreza still gives a smooth ride with decent handling, and its interior is spacious.
The Impreza gets excellent gas mileage for the compact car class, with 28 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway with the available 152-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder paired with a continuously variable transmission (a 5-speed manual is standard).
According to U.S. News and World Report, the Impreza offers “SUV-like cargo room with 20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 55.3 cubic feet with them folded.”
Found the perfect used hatchback for you? Have it shipped to the EchoPark nearest you for convenient pickup.