By on November 8, 2014

mazda2

This was the sight that greeted me when I left work this afternoon: one of the least popular cars on the American market and the Camry-on-stilts that drives the most successful brand to debut in America since the Vietnam War. The Mazda2 is often used by automotive journalists as an example of The Car That Real People Don’t Buy despite the fact that it possesses the cardinal virtues of small size, light weight, and a responsive chassis.

The Lexus RX, on the other hand, is the most cynical effort in additional manufacturer profit since the Cadillac Cimmarron and is the upscale vehicle most often purchased by the people who don’t know a God-damned thing about cars.

It’s also obviously a hatchback. If the Venza is a mega-sized version of the “bread van” Civic generations of the mid and late Eighties, then the RX is the scaled-up five-door 1979 Civic of our era.

1973-1978_Honda_Civic_5-door_hatchback_01

Once upon a time, cars like this were very popular, you know. So much so that the be-trunked versions of the Camry and Stanza seemed like odd curiosities when they started rotating around small-town auto show stages. The demise of the family hatchback seems preordained in retrospect but there was nothing inevitable about it. While it’s easy to blame CAFE for the awkward, unpleasant, and occasionally deadly transition from full-sized sedans to pickup-based SUVs, it’s much harder to figure out why the hatchback disappeared from family cars only to reappear on family cars that just happen to possess an additional two inches of entirely useless ground clearance.

Perhaps it was the fact that BMW and Mercedes-Benz never embraced hatchbacks, which marked the fifth door permanently as an accessory of the proletariat. The problem with that theory is that the Gran Touring BMWs are showroom poison, which suggests that Americans will only accept a hatchback if it comes with additional ground clearance.

Maybe what’s required is one really good regular hatchback to turn this thing around. My vote for such a device would be the Honda Crosstour. Make the new one better-looking. Don’t raise the suspension. Make the pricing attractive. See if people buy it. If it succeeded, Toyota would respond with the return of a hatchback Camry. At that point, Nissan would have no choice but to bring the Stanza back.

You know what would happen then, right? Anything the Japanese do, Ford will do two years later and GM will do seven years later. Close this browser right now, hop into the interstellar cold-storage chamber, come back in ten years. The world could be full of hatchbacks. You never know.

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284 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Americans Don’t Buy Hatchbacks Edition...”


  • avatar
    petezeiss

    ‘Cause low, little crampy cars mean you’re on welfare. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      Absolutely hilarious. I’m sure every GTI driver out there is gunning it from the welfare office to the Grocery Outlet.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      My current WRX is a hatchback. And I won’t touch the new WRX specifically because it’s not available as one. According to the forum I’m definitely not the only one with this line of thinking. How many WRX owners do you know that are on welfare? I don’t know any.

      The split for previous gen car was 50/50 between sedan and hatch. Imho, the hatch in WRX makes the car so much better than the sedan. It’s much more useful, it’s shorter so easier to park and it certainly looks better.

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        The only problem with getting more station wagons and hatchbacks is that every advocate in the world is in this commentariat. There are not enough of us to justify the costs. The world is poorer for it, but there you are. Maybe if we could get Speedhunters to go in with us…

      • 0 avatar
        theirishscion

        Yes, ditto for me. Bought (ordered actually) one of the last 2014 5-door STIs for exactly the same reason. Looks better, more practical, no Constabulary Alert Device on the trunk by default. Also stiffer and like you say, easier to turn and park.

        Which is not to say that those who favor the sedan version are wrong in any way (and frankly I’m glad Subaru is making them in any form still) but as a matter of preference, I prefer the hatch enough that I probably won’t buy one of the new generation so long as it’s not an option for me.

        I remain quietly confident that once the current model has paid for its R&D, we’ll get another 5-door again anyway. Here’s hoping.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      It is my opinion that people of limited means drive Tahoe’s and such. The new hatchbacks are driven by people who have put their prejudices behind them and are buying smart. i.e. people who can well afford to buy bigger but choose to buy smaller…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Yeah, I see those $50K Tahoes parked in front of Good Will and those $25K hatches in front of Prada all day

      • 0 avatar
        nine11c2

        Yes, people of limited means but $50,000 Tahoe’s instead of $20,000 hatchbacks? Makes perfect sense..

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          But Jalopnik constantly tells me how I can buy all these expensive cars used for less than fill-in-the-blank. Why shouldn’t anyone assume people with lower incomes similarly buy used?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Some people have to buy used. Some people choose to buy used. But some people REFUSE to buy used for what is to them economic reasons.

            With the high cost of repairs today on anything newer than 20 years old, it’s cheaper to buy new and absorb the depreciation to know they’re going to avoid paying for repairs for a minimum of three (or five) years and and enjoy the relative comfort of a vehicle that hasn’t been beaten into the ground by a previous owner.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Presentation and perception are everything. Jack-up that Mazda2 give it some sort of AWD and call it a CX-3 and then see what happens

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Mazda is doing just that next year but based on the 3 not the 2.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Nope! The CX-5 is based on the “3” the CX-3 is based on the “2”

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          From what I understood the CX5 and 6 shared a platform. That was the reason why they were the first two “skyactiv” models coming out within a year of each other.

          Derek wrote an article about a week ago which mentioned the CX3 and it being Mazda3 based. Maybe he was wrong too!

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Mike,
            My understanding is that the 3, 6 and CX-5 share a “platform”.

            The CX-3 will share a “platform’ with the 2, but borrow elements from its larger brethren.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            What platform would you place the CX-9 on then (hint, it’s the Mazda6). If Derek wrote that the CX-3 shared a platform with the Mazda 3 then yes, he was wrong. My guess is that you misread it

  • avatar
    kosmo

    “…cars that just happen to possess an additional two inches of entirely useless ground clearance.”

    If that is really your position, you live in an entirely different world than I do, my friend.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It’s simple. A hatchback makes you choose between people OR cargo. An SUV or sedan lets you carry people AND cargo.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      … and a crossover? Have you met the X6 or ZDX that allows for neither?

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I’m not sure if using the X6 or dead ZDX as your examples strengthens your argument. The market spoke on the ZDX and BMW has too much pride to listen in regard to the X6.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I was making a point that if you wanted a CUV that was incapable of carrying people OR cargo that those too were available. Replace the outgoing ZDX with a current Evoque or X4 if you prefer if it helps clarify my position

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Incorrect – a Mazda 3 sedan and hatch have the same people carrying capabilities (or Ford Focus for this example) and have cargo space. You don`t have to choose. The hatch gives you ultimately more cargo space if you need it and only want to carry one passenger. Most cars are not driven full of people the majority of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        On the other hand, a Golf/GTI does make you choose. At least the older ones look really tight behind the rear seats, not sure about the new ones.

        A Mazda3 and Ford Focus are pretty cramped in the backseat. A CX-5 is not, and has more cargo space than a Mazda3 as well. While true that most cars aren’t driven full of people and cargo all the time, this story is about the fall of the hatchback as a family vehicle. Not the vehicle of DINKs or the single and childless.

        I prefer hatches to CUVs myself, just playing devil’s advocate.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Most versions of the Golf have had the same basic trunk space as the equivalent Jetta, it was just a vertical box instead of a horizontal one.

          With the seats down the Golf has vastly more space.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      A sedan only carries cargo that fits through the trunk slot, very small in most cars. That hatch is also an ease of access thing to.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      And what if you have no need for carrying both people AND cargo? Why buy what you don’t need unless you specifically want it?

  • avatar

    I don’t get the Hatch Hate. I had two SAABs with a hatch. My VW cars were all hatches. My MDX is just an XXXL car with a hatch, and that hatch was convenient when I take a 4×8 sheet from the home store.

    In URRRUP, hatches are all over. The BMW 1 series here is a two door coupe, but over there, is universally a five door hatch, and in two weeks I didn’t see a single two door one series. Here, the GT series cars are just ugly….and I fully admit Stockholm Syndrome where BMW is concerned.

    Oh well. Better a three ton SUV to get that quart of milk. We are Americans, after all.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Maybe because a hatchback is a car that’s shaped like a giant metal shoe, associated with that particular species of trendy urban European that frequents places like Sprockets?

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        associated with that particular species of trendy urban European that frequents places like Sprockets

        In what backward universe? Jesus. The most people associate with hatchbacks in reality is that they’re either ugly or cheap.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          At one time hatchbacks were quite sporty–a long, sweeping hatch that defined the ‘fastback’ cars. It allowed for carrying oversized loads in a body style that originally couldn’t carry anything behind the front seats.
          Regretfully, the fastback design is all but gone now except in supercars and purpose-built sport coupes which have almost all gone back to having tiny trunks (if any). Forget about how comfortably passengers may ride in the back seat of a coupe; go back to the sporty, aerodynamic look. Odds are that somebody buying a coupe simply doesn’t plan to EVER carry people in back and unless you have one VERY large dog, said dog isn’t going to worry about headroom or legroom.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Meh… I dunno… I remember learning to tie shoes with a wooden shoe model on wheels with eyelet holes. It looked a lot like a Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      I would order a BMW 1 series 5-door hatchback tomorrow if I could.

      But only with extra ground clearance.

      So I could drive over Jack’s gee-tar.

  • avatar
    Fred

    The 2 best cars I ever owned were a 1986 SVO and 2007 A3. Fast and practical and yes both had hatchs. Now I have a Acura Sportwagon, because no one want’s to build me a car with a usable trunk, ie I want to put larger stuff in it. And no I don’t need ground clearance here in SE Texas. Well maybe if I was stupid enough to drive thru flooded underpasses.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The hatchback and folding rear seat was a neat bonus feature of the Mustangs. And it was the fastback too. As Mustangs got heavier with every refresh, it had to be killed.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        I thought Mustangs only came with 2 doors.

        Correct me if i’m wrong DiM.

        Hatchback Mustangs, well I didn’t realise. I learn something from you each and everyday.

        A liftback is a 2 door and a hatch is a 4 door.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @BAFO – I figured you had to be a knowledgeable expert at SOMETHING, and here it finally appears…

          You are The Sultan of All Things That HATCH!!!

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Sorry Big Al, but liftback and hatchback are apparently interchangeable. My old X11 2-dr was called a 3-door hatchback, so was my Chevette 2-dr, and SVO. I recall that Toyota(?) coined the term Liftback and applied it to their vehicles.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Citation
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Mustang

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Thanks 3Duece2,
            I googled it. The term is interchangeable.

            I do think the effeminate types call it a hatch and men would call it a liftback;)

            Or men generally drive a liftback and hairdressers drive a hatch.

            Only joking. Here’s a link I found.

            http://www.answers.com/Q/What's_the_difference_between_a_liftback_and_a_hatchback

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Just when we think you’ve said something intelligent BAFO, you go and insert both your feet in your mouth like this drivel. Once again I have to remind myself that you drive a Chinese pick-up truck making everything else you say and do mute

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            BAFO and Troll, completely interchangeable.

            Or “You’ve been BAFOED upon!”

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          That may be today’s terminology, Big Al, but here in the States a 4-door was called a station wagon and a two door usually had a long, sweeping roofline which SOME (specifically starting with the Mustang 2) had the hatch. Here in the States the hatchback design of no trunk and folding back seats started in the late ’60s with the Chevy Nova/Olds/Pontiac equivalents and spread into other 2-door models by the ’70s. But with the fuel crunch and sudden drastic need to lighten cars and reduce costs due to the near-concurrent inflation, cars became boxier and similar-sized (but shrunken versions of larger models) gained the ‘hatch’ as well, defined by the Olds Cutlass and its Pontiac/Chevy siblings (though most had a “real” trunk some had a hatch).

          As such, I cannot define a 2-door or 4-door modern car as a “hatchback”–liftback yes, but not hatchback. In fact, most descriptions I see even from the manufacturers tend to call them 3-door and 5-door models, NOT hatchbacks.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            A liftback is a broad marketing term for a hatchback, which incorporates a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged tailgate—especially where the profile aspect of the rear cargo door is more horizontal than vertical, with a sharply raked or fastback profile. In comparison with the hatchback the back opening area is more sloped and longer and is lifted up to open, offering more luggage space. Very similar is the “fastback”. Liftback is not used as a term in the UK — fastback or hatchback are used instead.

            – Wikipedia

            But, of course BAFO wasn’t consulted, because the above definition didn’t include BAFO’s brilliant definition…

            Hatchback = Gay
            Liftback = Straight

            BAFO = Idiot

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            IIRC, I’ve owned 9 vehicles with hatchbacks if small wagons count.

            So, why do women still make me drool?
            It’s annoying, I’m 60 already.

            BAFO’s formula isn’t working.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “So, why do women still make me drool?”

            It’s those Dagmars, dude, don’t fight it

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            My fave p0rn site:

            oldcaradvertising.com

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Note especially the line, “… especially where the profile aspect of the rear cargo door is more horizontal than vertical, with a sharply raked or fastback profile.” On any other vehicle where the cargo door is more vertical than horizontal, it’s a tailgate, not a hatch; even or especially if it’s a liftgate.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Well, not exactly…

            If the door is hinged at the bottom it is termed a tailgate, particularly in America. A bottom opening door is common on a station wagon, pickup truck, or sport utility vehicle (SUV). Traditional U.S. station wagons included a roll down window. Because of the potential for carbon-monoxide fumes, the tailgate window on station wagons should be closed whenever the engine is running. Tailgates may contain accessories like a “pocket” for storage purposes. Traditional station wagon and pickup tailgates can also serve as a mount for a workbench. A 3-way tailgate is hinged at the s*de and bottom so it can be opened s*deways like a car door, or downwards like a truck tailgate. The window can be opened to load small items. The door and hinge mechanisms of the 3-way tailgate are designed with special handle(s) for opening in the selected direction. In the late 1970s, it was the most common station wagon tailgate arrangement.

            If the door is hinged at the top it is termed a hatch, and is used on a hatchback.

            – Wikipedia

          • 0 avatar

            petezeiss: So, why do women still make me drool?
            It’s annoying, I’m 60 already.

            That’s a high class problem.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lye to0 moi,
            My inference was directed at DiM. The reason why is this guy tends to place himself as a redneck pickup and Mustang whip.

            But yet he calls a Mustang a hatchback??

            If you want to see some gay or other bias connotation in the comment, then maybe it is your issue to manage.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Only joking”

            See how I made it all better. If you want to see it as some kind of snarky remark about your knuckled-dragging lack of sensitivity and intelligence, then maybe it is your issue to manage.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          They’re referring to the 1979-1993 ‘Stang, not newer ones.

          As for ‘liftback’ maybe other makes have used the term, but the only one I remember was the Toyota from mid 1970 for one of their Celica models. Maybe you’re being thrown off by the blue 4-door Civic in the photo. The only time I’ve seen a photo of a first gen Civic with four doors was for an article from Road and Track, when they did a story about the first CVCC motor, and they travelled to Japan for photos. The States never received a 1973-1979 Civic four-door hatchback, only the full-fledged station wagon. Comparing the photo car to a Lexus RX is an apple versus banana proposition.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The ’74 to ’78 Mustang was also a hatchback, when you got the fastback. I miss the add utility it offered. And faster back.

  • avatar
    ant

    I always felt that it was a mistake for honda to offer the accord wagon in tsx trim.

    They could of removed some stuff from it to make it cheaper and badged it as an Accord. I believe it would have sold in much higher numbers that way.

  • avatar
    rentonben

    In the Seattle area we’re infested with Tesla S hatches. Some even have rear-facing seats.

  • avatar
    nine11c2

    I think you could be right that BMW and MB didn’t give us hatchbacks for so long that we think of hatchbacks as cheap. They may simply have done it so long that it stuck. I think BMW hatches would sell if someone could actually figure out what they are. Some of them don’t look very hatch like. It’s they just don’t have a niche. I mean… they move all their coupes to a 4 series and then introduce a four door 4. Huh? Do we cross shop the 4 coupe with the 3 sedan? The X4? BMW hatches are also premium priced. Since they are BMW’s to start with, which are expensive and BMW makes heat and opening Windows an option these days, you wind up paying $100,000 for your BMW hatch.

    The Audi A7 is doing well. It’s special sauce I think is it doesn’t look like a hatch and it isn’t crowded out of a segment by other Audis. It’s Audis big sporty 4 door. It only comes with a hatch.

    The crosstour won’t work. It has less room than an SUV with the same mileage. It doesnt handle as well as a sedan, doesn’t add much room and has worse mileage and performance. A nicely raised wagon, like the Audi’s or Subaru’s, even the sporty Caddis make much more sense.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      BMW doesn’t do hatch’s?… 318ti

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Don’t forget the MB C230 Kompressor.

        Though the two of those are part of the reason hatches are associated with cheap: When luxury brands did them, they only did bargain basement versions of their cheapest models as hatches.

        You could actually get the C230 as a manual with a cloth interior. In 2004.

        At the end of the day, neither fit with the brand image, and they were axed.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      The 1 series comes as a hatch, just not in the US… Oh! Wait, the X1 is a hatch… Damm!

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      How does an A7 not look like a hatch? If that doesn’t look like a hatch, then what does? Tesla Model S and Porsche Panamera also look like hatches, but not as much as the A7.

  • avatar
    MK

    Sorry to get off track here but I’m fascinated since I’ve never seen this juxtaposition before in the same paragraph.

    “They could of removed..” and “I believe it would have sold.”

    Why not choose “..it would of sold”?

    Not ragging on you, I’m just genuinely interested in the upsurge of people online using “of” instead of ” ‘ve”

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Don’t be pedant, it makes you look persnickety

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “the upsurge of people online using “of” instead of ” ‘ve””

      Milk drinkers all. Victims of the Got Milk? campaign.
      Now we know what it does to the brain.

      Forensically speaking, it’s why Wally from LITB got killed in Vietnam, slowed his reflexes something terrible. And we all thought his chugging from the milk bottle in the fridge was so wholesome.

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      Not ragging on you here, but I don’t get your third line. “Of” is plainly wrong, so why even suggest the writer should have used it? Seems inconsistent with the rest of your post.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I’ve had a Porshe 928 and three Lexus RXs. All hatches!!!
    The right tool for the job.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    As a car person who sells cars-which is a rare thing, I guess I will say this: I sell Subaru. People look at an Impreza hatch and wrinkle their noses and say ewww (insert funny ugly Subaru joke here). Then look at the Crosstrek-which is just a lifted Impreza with different wheels and body cladding-and say oh my, what about that one? And they even think its bigger (nope).

    And a point of contention-the Impreza sport was simply a trim package on the old Impreza. It offered no additional ground clearance. Well, it did offer 1/2″ more back in the 90’s if you want to be technical about it I guess. The Crosstrek did not take the Impreza Outbacks place. I read that all the time and scratch my head.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “As a car person who sells cars-which is a rare thing”

      It’s non-existent, I applaud you sir, because you are right on the money about the Impreza/Crosstrek and a brilliant move by Subaru. Even I look at an Impreza and think, “Meh” but the Crosstrek looks cool

      “(insert funny ugly Subaru joke here)”

      Whoop-de-do for Subaru!

      • 0 avatar

        Really? I personally can’t stand to look at the Impreza hatch *or* the XV Crosstrek. They both remind me of the Dodge Caliber my father had when I was in high school, and I hated that car. I can’t say that I was disappointed when the Caliber met its demise and Dad got a Sonata SE. But yes, it was very smart of Subaru to create the XV Crosstrek, and it seems to be the vehicle that is expanding the brand’s customer base beyond traditional Subaru buyers.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim_Turbo

          Yeah I’m not a huge fan of the looks either. Even I like the Crosstrek a bit more. But for a lot of people its the stigma of driving a “wagon” (hatch) Vs. what they feel is an SUV. The Impreza hatch will do everything most people need it to-but they prefer to be up in the air, and don’t see the Crosstrek as a wagon-even though it is the same exact vehicle.

          Also-I’m in northern New England. We get a ton of snow. I never had any issues getting around with either Impreza I used to own. People over hype the need for ground clearance. Only time I ever got stuck in my Impreza my driveway was drifted in and the snow was up to the windows. Pretty sure a Crosstrek would have got stuck as well. But hey, I’ll sell whatever people want.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            If you had a Crosstrek that drifted snow would have only been up to the door handles and you wouldn’t have been stuck not even that one time :D

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Wow. People are beginning to realize that most SUVs today are nothing but jacked-up station wagons on steroids. I’ve been seeing that for over 15 years now. Meanwhile, CUVs are nothing but jacked-up econoboxes on steroids with a shorter tail.

            Yeesh! After 55 years of observing automotive design changes (I was too young to pay attention before that), all I see today are cars and trucks cloned from each other across all brands with almost no individuality between them. Very, very few cars are distinctive enough now to know what they are from a hundred yards away. A profile view of a Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Lexus, Honda, Infiniti, Toyota, etc. at 100 yards would have the vast majority of consumers unable to give the proper brand to any given model. It used to be that I could recognize a Chevy Impala from a Chevelle from a Nova at twice that distance just on profile. With their modern equivalents, I’m lucky if I can tell the difference at 50 feet!

        • 0 avatar

          @Kyree S Williams: My sympathies. The Caliber was one of the ugliest cars of this modern ugly car era.

          @Vulpine
          don’t get me started! I couild go on and on all day! Even if you overlook the Corvette, the difference between the models in the 1964 lineup of Chevys was greater than that between 98 percent of today’s cars.

          As a kid, I lived in a development with winding streets and a lot of woods. One time my friend, George and I, played a game where one would lead the other blindfolded around the neighborhood, and eventually the blindfolded person had to guess where he was. When George was leading me, at some point I asked him to let me feel a car and I’d tell him what it was. No! said George, you’ll figure out the car and you’ll know where you are. I said, just let me feel the tail light. I felt a tail light, told him what kind of car it was, and told him where we were.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Are you kidding? in 1964 GM had what was called the “B” platform, do you have any idea how many cars GM built off that one platform? Every effing car GM built in 1964 was just about the same car . You “good ol’ days” guys just slay me

            1936-1942 Buick Century
            1954-1958 Buick Century
            1936-1958 Buick Special
            1959–1962 Buick Invicta
            1959–1985 Buick LeSabre
            1963–1970 Buick Wildcat
            1971–1973 Buick Centurion
            1991–1996 Buick Roadmaster
            1936-1938 Cadillac Series 60
            1939 Cadillac Series 61
            1941-1947 Cadillac Series 61
            1950-1951 Cadillac Series 61
            1941-1942 Cadillac Series 63
            1959–1972 Chevrolet Biscayne
            1959–1975 Chevrolet Bel Air
            1976–1981 Chevrolet Bel Air (sold only in Canada, as a rebadged Impala)
            1959–1985 Chevrolet Impala
            1994–1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
            1966–1996 Chevrolet Caprice
            1936-1940 LaSalle Series 50
            1936-1939 Oldsmobile Series L
            1939 Oldsmobile Series G
            1940 Oldsmobile Series 70
            1941 Oldsmobile Dynamic 76
            1941 Oldsmobile Dynamic 78
            1942-1947 Oldsmobile Dynamic Cruiser 76
            1942-1947 Oldsmobile Dynamic Cruiser 78
            1948 Oldsmobile Dynamic 76
            1948 Oldsmobile Dynamic 78
            1949 Oldsmobile Futuramic 76
            1949 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88
            1950 Oldsmobile 76
            1950-1956 Oldsmobile 88
            1951-1964 Oldsmobile Super 88
            1957 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket 88
            1958–1966 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88
            1964-1966 Oldsmobile Jetstar 88
            1965-1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88
            1967–1968 Oldsmobile Delmont 88
            1940 Pontiac Deluxe
            1941 Pontiac Streamliner Torpedo
            1942-1951 Pontiac Streamliner
            1959–1981 Pontiac Bonneville
            1959–1981 Pontiac Catalina
            1959–1981 Pontiac Parisienne (Canada only)
            1983–1986 Pontiac Parisienne
            1959–1966 Pontiac Star Chief
            1959–1970 Pontiac Strato Chief (Canada only)
            1960–1961 Pontiac Ventura
            1962–1981 Pontiac Laurentian (Canada only)
            1966–1969 Pontiac Grande Parisienne (Canada only)
            1967–1970 Pontiac Executive
            1971–1975 Pontiac Grand Ville

            Two-door only offerings include:

            1977–1978 Buick Riviera
            1964–1967 Chevrolet Impala SS
            1961–1966 Oldsmobile Starfire
            1964–1965 Oldsmobile Jetstar I
            1962–1968 Pontiac Grand Prix
            1966 Pontiac 2+2

            Station wagons include:

            1941-1942 Buick Special Estate
            1954-1958 Buick Century Estate
            1954-1958 Buick Special Estate
            1959–1963 Buick Invicta Estate
            1959–1964 Buick LeSabre Estate
            1970 Buick Estate
            1971-1976 Buick Estate (trim between LeSabre and Electra)[5]
            1977–1979 Buick Estate (with LeSabre trim)
            1977–1979 Buick Estate Limited (with Electra trim)
            1980–1989 Buick Electra Estate
            1980–1989 Buick LeSabre Estate
            1990 Buick Estate
            1991–1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate
            1966–1968 Chevrolet Caprice Estate
            1969–1970 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate
            1971-1972 Chevrolet Kingswood Estate (Caprice trim)[6]
            1973-1976 Chevrolet Caprice Estate[7]
            1977–1996 Chevrolet Caprice Estate
            1962–1968 Chevrolet Impala
            1969–1970 Chevrolet Kingswood
            1971-1972 Chevrolet Kingswood (Impala trim)[8]
            1973-1976 Chevrolet Impala[9]
            1977–1985 Chevrolet Impala
            1962–1968 Chevrolet Bel Air
            1969–1970 Chevrolet Townsman
            1971-1972 Chevrolet Townsman (Bel Air trim)[10]
            1973-1975 Chevrolet Bel Air[11]
            1977–1979 Chevrolet Bel Air (sold only in Canada, as a rebadged Impala)
            1962–1968 Chevrolet Biscayne
            1969–1970 Chevrolet Brookwood
            1971-1972 Chevrolet Brookwood (Biscayne trim)[12]
            1949-1950 Oldsmobile 88 station wagon
            1949-1950 Oldsmobile 76 station wagon
            1957 Oldsmobile 88 Golden Rocket Fiesta
            1957–1963 Oldsmobile Super 88 Fiesta
            1958–1964 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 Fiesta
            1971-1976 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser (trim between 88 and 98)[13]
            1977–1992 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser
            1942-1951 Pontiac Streamliner station wagon
            1959–1970 Pontiac Bonneville Safari
            1971-1976 Pontiac Grand Safari (Grand Ville trim)[14]
            1977–1981 Pontiac Bonneville Safari
            1959–1970 Pontiac Parisienne Safari (Canada only)
            1977–1981 Pontiac Parisienne Safari (Canada only)
            1967–1969 Pontiac Grande Parisienne Safari (Canada only)
            1983–1986 Pontiac Parisienne Safari
            1959–1970 Pontiac Catalina Safari
            1971-1976 Pontiac Safari (Catalina trim)[15]
            1977–1981 Pontiac Catalina Safari
            1959–1970 Pontiac Laurentian Safari (Canada only)
            1977–1981 Pontiac Laurentian Safari (Canada only)
            1987–1989 Pontiac Safari

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            But if you look at each and every one of them, they were all VERY distinctive in shape and ‘look up until the mid-late ’60s. I especially like the ’59 models of the Chevy, Buick and Oldsmobile while Pontiac came into its own in the early to mid-’60s. If I had my choice of any car in the world, it would be the ’59 Impala Hardtop Coupe or the ’59 El Camino. Granted, lousy handling cars, but absolutely gorgeous bodies.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            The greenhouses were the give away, they all had the same greenhouses

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The good ol’ days were awesome, if you can block out all of the other days that were less than perfect.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Actually that list contains the best cars GM ever built. They should have stayed with the “B”

    • 0 avatar
      Fenian

      I owned a 2005 Outback Sport SE M/T in SE trim only Aqua Blue Metallic, which was a rare combination as Imprezas went. It did have a higher ground clearance than other Imprezas, but only .4″.

      http://www.cars101.com/subaru/impreza/impreza2005.html

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        No matter what the marketing guys say, the XV Crosstrek replaced the Outback Sport. Both cars were lifted Imprezas. With the XV, they can charge more because it’s “not” an Impreza.

        • 0 avatar
          Tim_Turbo

          That’s just it though. The Impreza Outback Sport did not offer any real additional ground clearance. It is a figment of peoples imagination. Probably because of the word “Outback” in the name, and yes, the “real” outback was a lifted Legacy Wagon. However in the Impreza lineup it never offered any real ground clearance advantage. I think 1/2″ was the most difference I found going back through all the specs.

          The Impreza Sport package essentially replaced the Impreza Outback Sport.

          The Crosstrek has 8.7″ of ground clearance. The last available Impreza Outback Sport (2011) had 6.3″ of ground clearance, compared to the 6.1″ offered by the regular Impreza.

          If you truly think .2″ really matters, consider this: The prev. gen WRX STI had 5.9″ of ground clearance, the regular WRX had 6.1″.

          I totally agree that the Crosstrek is just a lifted Impreza-because it is. Well they also beefed up the brakes and transmission as well. But it did not take the place of the Outback Sport in the model lineup. And I’m not a marketing guy.

      • 0 avatar

        @Calvin

        my comment was strictly about style, not platform, not quality, not about what I’d rather drive… I said the ’64 Chevys LOOKED more different from each other than 98 percent of today’s cars do.

  • avatar
    insalted42

    I want the Nissan Pulsar!! Idgaf if they call it a Stanza, Sunny, or Walrus…

  • avatar
    George B

    Jack, I don’t understand why many women like the Lexus RX, but they do. My theory is it offers a little extra height to see over/through traffic, but it drives like a Lexus ES instead of like a truck. The automotive equivalent of relatively comfortable pair of high heels. What’s missing in the car market is a vehicle that combines the comfort and efficiency of a Lexus RX with the square masculine not a family car styling of OJ’s Bronco. http://nypost.com/2014/06/17/where-is-ojs-bronco/

    Many small cars end up with weird proportions and the boxy type hatchback emphasizes that issue. However, seems to me that sedans with a coupe roof line would be better with a hatch instead of a small trunk opening. Too bad that the 1st generation Mazda6 hatchback didn’t sell in large numbers. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-akYqVka3PG4/T5H3SF8O1rI/AAAAAAAACBQ/25ywOA62jtg/s1600/mazda6_hatchback4.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Women just love roundy pretty things. Must be a Jungian archetype for bay-beez.

      *Gasp* Just remembered, I love the Encore!

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Former colleague had the 1st gen RX. When it came time to get a new car, she got the 3rd gen RX.

      Yes, agreed, it’s what’s in these days. Not to mention that budget hatchbacks have budget interiors. My better half can’t stand my Mazda5’s austere interior.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      +1
      I have that hatch in MT and the trunk is huge an you can fit in a washing machine.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      There are men that drive the Lexus RX. They’re called doctors. I’ve been to an MD’s party where the Lexus RXs parked around the house outnumbered all the other cars in sight. The Lexus RX now holds the market position held by the top Buicks in the ’50s. And unlike all the premium cars driven by people that know a God-damned thing about cars, a Lexus RX gets a doctor to work every day and doesn’t spend several days a year in a service bay while a busy doctor spends his or her valuable time swapping out courtesy cars.

      • 0 avatar

        That doesn’t sound right. Whenever I see doctors congregating, it’s mostly Porsche (Caymans). Sometimes a Benz with AMG decals and ridiculously wide rear tires that look completely out of place on that car. There was one poseur who had a chizel-shaped Mazeratti of some kind. Yellow, of course. Maybe they switched to RXes in different locales and we’re just behind times in the flyover country.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I think they drive their wives RXs when their Caymans and AMGs are in the shop

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          Sounds like you’re seeing post divorce doctors. Around the local hospital there are more Tesla’s than normal in the mix. Land rovers, Bentlys, Porkers etc. too, but mostly Camries, on and off stilts. (The term stilts may stand in for better bushings, shocks, heavier sway bars, bigger brakes, fore and aft adjustment and recline on the rear seats, better sound deadening and entertainment, upgraded interior and exterior lighting, an extra primer coat, several coats of clear, upgraded and longer lasting interior components, more welds, headlight washers, an extra airbag, and the named heavier suspension components)

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Since it is possible that my anecdotal evidence isn’t representative, I looked for a source.

          http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20120322/which-doctors-are-happiest-healthiest?page=2

          Doctors’ Favorite Cars When the white coat is on the peg and doctors are heading home, what kind of car will they drive? Here are the top 10 doctor-mobiles (and the percentage of doctors who drive them):

          Toyota (17%)
          Honda (15%)
          Lexus (8%)
          BMW (7%)
          Mercedes (5%)
          Ford (5%)
          Nissan (4%)
          Chevrolet (4%)
          Subaru (3.5%)
          Audi (3%)

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        The Doctors were all driving the wife’s car.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      You nailed it – women like the high seating position and serene drive and the fact that it handles easily for something that size.

      At one point, over half of my wife’s inner circle had 2nd gen RXs (including my wife) until they moved up to minivans due to the arrival of their third kid. We still have our RX and it has really grown on me – good looks (much better than the third iteration IMO), delightful interior (I’m a sucker for two tone interiors), good mileage (19-ish with the 3.5L), handles expansion joints with aplomb, gets us up to Tahoe and back during the winter, has needed nothing but routine maintenance after we got a couple of minor annoyances fixed under our CPO warranty (they said that it was the first time that an RX ever needed a repair …. kidding), and it swallows the kidlets and their support gear easily. The jacked up height bemoaned by enthusiasts and journalists is a boon to parents of young children – it makes getting kids and car seats in and out much easier since you don’t have to bend over and the car area is the perfect height to use as a changing table, potty area, play area, changing area, etc.

      “most cynical effort in additional manufacturer profit”

      Really, Jack? The Escalade, Denali, and Navigator are much more deserving. As is just about about every Porsche option available. How much more expensive is an RX than an ES (which would be a proper apples to apples comparison after accounting for AWD, if the former is just a cold hearted profit optimization exercise and not something that the market was demanding at the time)?

    • 0 avatar
      jasmits1

      That’s exactly it actually. My mom drives an RX, I think it’s the closest thing to a luxurious piece of dry white toast that I’ve ever driven, but she loves it exactly for the reason you described. It drives like a car but she gets to sit relatively high up. To each their own I guess.

  • avatar
    cc-rider

    I daily drive a 1998 Saab 9000. The car is worth next to nothing, but is really a great car for me and my needs. The hatch creates a ton of usable space. I just got the ecu tuned for $100 and am at 260 hp. The car easily gets 30+ mpg on the highway.

  • avatar
    James2

    What’s ironic is my sister and b-i-l own a Mazda 2 and a Lexus RX.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    It’s 90% social class conditioning. The people who bought those Civics in hatch form wanted to maximize benefit size for their dollar. Therefore buying one with a trunk was counterintuitive. Up until 1984 Minivans didn’t exist so the family hauler was either a truck or huge Suburban-type SUV for camping or a station wagon. The rise of Minivans killed the station wagon, the rise of mini-SUVs that are actually useful killed hatchbacks completely. The RAV4/CR-V pretty much made buying a civic hatchback pointless because for maybe 10-15% more you could get an elevated seating position and maybe 4WD.

    So between rational understandings and strong social anxiety to class conditioning it has made it largely irrelevant. Your beloved Civic circa 1979 is really just a Kia Soul today. It sells but it doesn’t outsell its competitors in the same segment.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      You guys… class this, class that…get over Der Große Karl already.

      I have no class at all and I’ve followed the same trajectory from hatches to CUVs. ‘Cause they’re easier to fill with people and things.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Ah, Pete, Karl wasn’t the first to note class or the one who used it the most. If you follow even the slightest of economic theories class is almost always at the center. But you can’t be serious when the first fistful of comments mentioned ‘welfare’ instead of poverty. It’s instilled in our society in a very open way.

        As for the VW Microbus, not really. It’s a microbus and while there are some proto-minivans they were niche products. The Chrysler Minivans basically put forward the long tall 2 box design and catered to the public’s whims.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “Ah, Pete, Karl wasn’t the first to note class or the one who used it the most.”

          Pshh.. did the other econs you refer to manage to spend their entire adult lives living on handouts from others?

          Don’t play revisionist with me, sir. Karl Marx was and will always be the alpha-parasite and his writings the rightful lodestar of communist theology.

          You’re just bitterly jealous of Karl ’cause you have to work for a living.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “the first fistful of comments mentioned ‘welfare’ instead of poverty”

          Because they were trying to make a clear and understandable point. One does not drive to the Poverty Office, but one can drive to the Welfare Office

          • 0 avatar

            I’m not even sure “poverty”, as the word has meant historically, even exists in any significant amount in America.

            If you’re a bureaucrat, and your job is ending poverty, do you really want poverty to end?

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> If you’re a bureaucrat, and your job is ending poverty, do you really want poverty to end?

            Then you can go on the speaking circuit telling everyone how you ended poverty and make even more money.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            @Ronnie – So we’re going to go for the ‘well they aren’t living in dirt floored, tenement housing! They got refrigerators and basic things, don’t they!’ argument? Historically poverty has meant a significant dollar amount that denied somebody middle-class or even working class status. The line defining poverty from working class is complicated and blurred but I’m going to have to call your BS on the ‘historically poverty’ approach because historically poverty has been measured as a factor of income not on material wealth.

            Thus America still has the largest poverty class in the 1st world by a rather wide margin. If you feel like comparing it to say Brazil or China then we need to account for socioeconomic differences otherwise you’re merely counting apples to oranges and while it clearly favors your preferred method of measurement nobody in the economics field or social sciences would agree to such a measurement as valid.

            That being said, Bureaucrats aren’t something you simply throw at poverty. Technically a bureaucrat is somebody who manages policy within the framework of the organization they administer, you’re referring to the legislature that sets the social policy and initiates laws and changes. The biggest issue with ending poverty is that there is no real political will to do so. The right has zero interest for their ‘pro-business’ agenda seeks to exploit that class for as much cheaper labor as possible and the left working within the constraints of the system gets most of their votes from educated middle-class and working class citizens, the poverty class does not vote and exists in two diametrically opposing places, inner-cities & rural towns. The inner-cities tend to get better programs but due to numerous factors not limited to the programs themselves being underfunded and a limited growth market for low-education jobs makes it much harder to affect those numbers. The rural towns are generally even more ignored because they tend to fall in red states or red regions of blue states and social welfare programs are generally non-existent due to servicing cuts and a complete lack of bureaucracy to run them.

            As for the ‘keeping your job by keeping the problem’ argument, you mind as well complain about cancer cures and wear that tin foil hat a bit tighter. The constant flux of society would mean that as some people rose from poverty others would fall into it. Having a better policy that helped people get out of poverty and created a much smaller poverty class are beneficial attributes to any given society. The less grinding poverty you have the better your economy can recover and the better your economy will run, consumption is the life blood of a first-world capitalist system. No matter how you slice it, having 20% of society making less than 15K is just bad for business all around.

            But I digress, I feel like I said my peace, have it if you wish. :)

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            So, Xeranar, do the poverty stricken prefer crossovers, sedans or hatchbacks?

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            If we’re to discuss the poverty stricken, most likely crossovers, they’re aspirational and want to maximize their social cache.

            If you don’t like politics in your hobby discussion don’t bring it in. :)

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Just trying to keep you on topic, buddy. If you don’t like to talk about cars in your social pundit leave your soapbox at home

            So, the poverty stricken prefer crossovers? How about Applebee’s or Olive Garden? Walmart or Target?

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @Xeranar

            >>But I digress, I feel like I said my peace, have it if you wish. :)

            +1

            “”Please, sir, I want some more.” — Oliver Twist

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “until 1984 Minivans didn’t exist”

      VW T-type has been around since 1950

      http://srv2.betterparts.org/images/vw-bus-03.jpg

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I’ve had more than one woman tell me that riding higher = safer. It doesn’t have to make sense (especially if the height raises the center of gravity and increases rollover chances), but it’s the illusion of how the car makes the ladies feel.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Have rollovers been a big thing since the Explorer/Firestone era?

      I knew several yupster dames who went directly from Integras, 318s and the like into BOF SUVs. Yeah, that was a caution as at least one was ditzy enough to keep driving the truck as aggressively as the go-kart.

      But hasn’t that meme gotten tired and irrelevant over the past 20+ years as lighter, more agile unibody S/CUVs have arrived and *gasp* even wimmenfolk have gotten more knowledgeable and safety-conscious in their driving?

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Oh I know all vehicles are much safer now than ever, I was pointing out the irony of feeling safer because of height and nothing else.

        At least with the big truck-based SUV’s there was some serious mass between the front grille and the steering wheel. Whether that was truly “safer” is another story.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Well, I don’t know… haven’t ever researched it because *I* have felt perfectly safe in CR-Vs since the first generation. But I am not a typical driver (slow!) and I had lotsa-lotsa previous time in pickups and vans.

          I just haven’t stumbled into reports of recent rollover risk and so assumed it was a thing of the BOF and nouveau-trucker past.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “Have rollovers been a big thing since the Explorer/Firestone era?”

        Not since the development of the Computer-Controlled Gyroscopic anti-Rollover and Traction Control ABS System. Do something stupid and your crossover stops dead in it’s tracks, shuts down and calls for help

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      higher is safer for the vast majority of collisions though – I’d rather go over the top of the car I’m impacting rather than straight on impact. Plus the higher cars generally have more mass, and the main thing we’re fighting in an collision is newton: more mass wins in most situations.

      My daily driver is an S2000, and the prospect of going underneath basically any SUV I could get into an accident with is very real, and has made me a much more careful driver.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    There is a big cultural difference between North America and the the rest of the world ,that makes it very hard for them to have similar tastes on the cars they drive.Image conscious people will never understand.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    “What’s wrong with this picture?”

    Absolutely nothing. Anyone can drive what they want, regardless of what the “B&B” might think of it.

    I drive a Mazda Tribute. Come at me, bro.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I have no desire to own a hatch, wagon, or CUV and I really can’t stand the “4 door coupe” style.

    I will buy the most formal-roofed vehicle I can until the day I die.

    • 0 avatar

      Fifth Avenue, baby!

      Take it a step further and buy an old Turnpike Cruiser. Negative-slanted C-pillar to stick it to the man.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Someone who works at the local Taco Bell has a white/white top/red interior Fifth Avenue. Awful classy for fast food.

        I’ve seen some FWD Chryslers with that same color combo as well, dunno why Chrysler buyers liked white over red so much.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        That C-pillar may be negative-slant, but the window is still very much slanted forward. No, what this calls for is a true negative-slant vehicle. I see your Turnpike Cruiser (imagine calling a vehicle that nowadays!) and raise you a Rambler Six.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The 55 Turnpike Cruiser was the most overwrought and amazing looking thing I saw at a concours show this summer. I took at least 10 pics of it. Blue and white over blue and white.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I used to rant against all SUVs and CUVs as inefficient use of space.

    But I’ve accepted small CUVs and tall hatchbacks that are almost CUVs. Last year my wife bought a Fiat 500L precisely because she wants an easier step-in height and she still hates large cars. It averages 29 mpg with plenty of turbo grunt. The tailgate opens at home with the garage door CLOSED.

    The problem with normal sedans/saloons and hatchbacks is that CUVs brought about a class of cars that is easier to get in and out of. With the advent of front-drive CUVs that are just marginally heavier and thirstier but significantly more comfortable and easier to use, it’s a no-brainer for those who can afford the nominal price premium.

    The Honda HR-V will be a great addition to this segment as the CR-V has been fattened into the next size class. The value king in North America is still the $18k Scion xB, if you can stomach the poverty-spec interior.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “Maybe what’s required is one really good regular hatchback to turn this thing around. My vote for such a device would be the Honda Crosstour. Make the new one better-looking. Don’t raise the suspension. Make the pricing attractive. See if people buy it. If it succeeded, Toyota would respond with the return of a hatchback Camry. At that point, Nissan would have no choice but to bring the Stanza back.

    You know what would happen then, right? Anything the Japanese do, Ford will do two years later and GM will do seven years later. Close this browser right now, hop into the interstellar cold-storage chamber, come back in ten years. The world could be full of hatchbacks. You never know.”

    Let’s see if I have this right…the brands that led the charge AWAY from hatchbacks (unless you want a Fit, Yaris or Versa, all available in both stripper AND slightly-above-stripper trim levels) are going to lead the charge BACK to them – ?

    And then Ford – who actually MAKES well-regarded hatchbacks that range all the way from grocery-getter stripper, to near-luxury, to genuine high performance trim, in both compact AND subcompact classes…will “follow” their “lead”?

    Excuse me – I need my revisionist history cooked all the way through before I’ll swallow it.

    The Big 3 J.A. Pan & Co. brands can’t even bring themselves to make a compact hatchback, much less a midsize one. I’m not looking to the risk-averse trio to blaze any trails here.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >>Excuse me – I need my revisionist history cooked all the way through before I’ll swallow it.

      Because Jack chose the Honda Crosstour, a vehicle along with the Acura ZDX ridiculed here and on other sites, I figured he was being funny and I gave him a pass.

      But yes, when I think hatchback, I see Ford, Mazda, and the VW Golf. No trailblazing from Honda, Toyota, or NIssan.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      If Honda led the charge away from hatchback, then they’re the leader that could bring back hatchbacks. I’m not sure they were the most influential though. The introduction of the Accord sedan showed that buyers really wanted compact sedans instead of hatchbacks, but it wasn’t the only player in the fall of the hatchback. GM’s bungled X-cars played a role, as did the successful A-body sedans that followed on its flawed heels. The triumph of the Jetta MK2 over the Golf may have been a factor in the spread of subcompact sedans as well. Honda made Accord hatchbacks throughout the ’80s, after US automakers had killed off their Citations and Lancers. Ford never built a family car with a hatchback that was bigger than an Escort.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Ford may not have built hatchbacks in the US, but there has been a midsize hatchback available in Europe ever since the Sierra (Mercury Merkur) was launched in ’82 , throughout all generations of the Mondeo, and the new Fusion/Mondeo will also be available as a hatchback over here (not sure it is over there?. We even had the ‘fullsize’ rwd hatchback Scorpio for a while after ’85.
        PS, the Crosstour is everything the ZDX should have been, but was not. I want one, but with our taxes on weight and engine size it would probably cost the same as a base model X6….

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Do you remember the Accord hatch? At one point it was a top seller in Canada.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I agree. GM’s X-body cars were downright hideous, which makes me wonder why so many people today like their direct descendants.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        “If Honda led the charge away from hatchback, then they’re the leader that could bring back hatchbacks”

        I’ll just reiterate my closing sentence: I’m not looking to the risk-averse trio to blaze any trails here.

        These companies’ managements would be the first to agree that they are not leaders anymore…they wear that like a badge of honor – nothing that isn’t tried, tried, tried and true.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    The Lexus RX is certainly the “official vehicle of female real estate agents”.

    Cynical or not these things have been around a long time and continue to make serious dough for Toyota.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    What would Jesus drive?

  • avatar

    I had the present generation RX for a loaner and I thought it was unpleasntly wide. It was like driving a Humvee. Or a Mustang.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m not a big fan of the Camry chassis. Having driven Camrys, Klugers (Highlanders) I really do think the vehicles are quite poor performers.

    The Camry at high speeds of around 140-160kph+ didn’t feel as stable as my Kia Sorento on the highway. Wallowing around. Like controlling a nard.

    The Kluger or as they are called in the US, Highlander are similar. Even driving at around 130-140kph the FE of the Highlander was atrocious. It used nearly a tank of fuel (70l) to travel 350km. It also was quite a poor handling vehicle, admittedly is was one of those silly FWD versions.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I really don’t see the problem. Americans like bigger sedans, by extension they like big hatchbacks, which are basically what CUVs are. Hatchback versions of cars like the Ford Fusion are, to be blunt, hideous, exacerbating the “too low wheel to car ratio” problem of current auto design. CUVs fix that by stuffing bigger wheels (and wheel wells) under the body, and are also just better proportioned.

    On top of that they have higher hip points, which is good for old people and families with young child seat kids- aka a huge slice of high volume the auto market.

    Plus it’s not like hatchbacks are failing. They are actually seeing a bit of a renaissance. The Mazda 2 failed because it’s an anomaly… it sacrifices too much in refinement and equipment for price and driving pleasure, which really doesn’t matter to enough people to make an econocar business case. It also looks pretty low rent. If Mazda comes back with one that looks better and has more mindless connectivity content and fake pleather stitched dash options it might move some units. The Fit, Fiesta, Versa and even the Yaris are better value propositions for the general driving public.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    CTRL+F “Seating Position”

    Four matches found. Many of you so called “enthusiasts” don’t understand the market.

    There’s a reason why crossover sales have taken off and why wagons and hatches don’t sell nearly as well. People like the high seating position and I’ll happily admit, I like it too. It’s a helluva lot easier to get in and out of and you can actually see the road.

  • avatar
    April

    Well, I like my Mazda2.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    If any of you actually lived in an area with real snowfalls, you would know that
    ‘the ridge left behind by the snowplow’ is actually called a “windrow”.

    The picture of the Civic brought tears to my eyes. Owned a 1982 Civic. Drove the heck out of it. Put on a ton of miles. Gave it to my brother after 4 years. It was as solid as new and did not burn a drop of oil. For that era, as good a car as you could buy.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I live in Norway, ‘ridge’ was just the first word in english I could think of to describe it , and everyone else seemed to follow :P
      Me and my brothers first car was my dads 83 Honda Quintet (ancestor to the Integra) which was a ‘5 door liftback’. Despite the thin sheetmetal, those old Hondas were brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “‘the ridge left behind by the snowplow’ is actually called a “windrow”.”

      Really? I think “slush wake” would make a better term

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “‘the ridge left behind by the snowplow’ is actually called a “windrow”.”

      By whom? Ex-pat Brits over 80?

      Sounds nice & quaint, though. This season I’ll stop one of the plow drivers and say

      “I say, Mongo, DO mind your windrows, could you please? If I could trouble you for an additional pass to clear them and then I shan’t have to track snow into my gar-rage?”

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        You’re killing me the past couple days Pete! TTAC should be paying you.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Actually the term is listed in the Toronto City by-laws. Checked and also in the by-laws for York and Peel Region and Mississauga.

        It is the official term. You’re welcome for the education supplied.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “Checked and also in the by-laws for York and Peel Region and Mississauga.”

          I’ve no wish to offend so mention should also be made of “windrow”‘s presence in the Combined National Standards Inventory of Lilliput and Blefuscu.

          I’ve no idea of what they *have* to comprise windrows in Lilliput and Blefuscu, but nonetheless…

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      What we call a windrow here is a swath of cut hay or grain laid out to dry. You can drive over it, but you shouldn’t, because if it’s grain, you’ll shell it out before it’s combined, and if it’s hay, you’ll crush the years and push the stems into the dirt.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    Hatchbacks look like toy cars to some. Come to think of it, SUV’s look like toy trucks … what was I trying to say? I’ve just never been all that crazy about hatchbacks, myself. Now, the Dodge Shadow I had, if it had not been a damn mess from the jump, I liked the ‘liftgate’ aspect of it. It looked like a sedan (well, it was, with a big ass trunklid). OTOH, I agree that the Lexus and others like it are what the author says they are .. but as he put it, the people buying don’t know a damn thing about cars. Come to think of it, that’s the MAJORITY of buyers.

  • avatar

    I dd an M3, but just spent a week with a Mazda Demio in the Turks and Caicos (Japanese Mazda 2 with Japanese nav, right hand drive).

    Car was reasonably responsive, well built, handled well, took crappy roads crappily (bouncy bouncy), swallowed to large and two carry-ons with rear seats folded, got over 30 mpg local low speed driving, had good a/c and was a decent run about.

    Would make a great second car or city only car, and far better than a smart car.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Ha looks like the new meme is calling any vehicle you don’t like “cynical” you are usually on the front of these waves not the back end Jack…way late to the party here.

    I fear you are jumping the shark Jack, this article pretty much writes itself…the “if only normal people weren’t so stupid they would buy wagons” is about as tired as it gets. Did you have a deadline or something. Absolutely none of your usual insight here.

    Oh ha ha seems I fell for the deliberate trolling LOL well played sir…

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I used to fuss about the cynicism of carmakers with CUVs and the naivety of the buyers, but then I brought a ’92 Accord.

    Before I get to that I do want to say that I like the few more honest CUV approaches like the Subaru Outback, they were CUVs that weren’t ashamed to hide their car origins.

    But with the Accord I learned something, I learned whats wrong with a fair deal of cars now. They are TOO low! Too low and too hard to get in and out of!

    Yes the low-wide nonsense gives you better “dynamic” handling, I could tell the Accord wanted to be a BMW. But it also gets annoying hearing your front bumper scrape every speed bump, or having to bend over just to get inout.

    Automakers should ditch the whole “coupe sedan” nonsense, there is a market for cars with people-friendly proportions.

    Look at how well early Scion Xbs have sold and retained their value, and how many more CUVs sell just for the better proportions. I think that we should leave the swoopy coupe garbage to coupes and sports cars, bring back proper sedanswagons.

    We shouldn’t have to deal with SUV pretensions to get halfway decent ground clearance and space. Look at the Kia Soul, it may be ugly and may have a goofy Hamster-fueled ad campaign, but its also proof that automakers can make reasonably proportioned cars that’re also safe.

    These days I run a Volvo 245, I beg someone to find a modern CUV that can double as a truck when you fold the rear seats down.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      It’s nice to know that the CUV Kool-Aid didn’t kill you. This is one point that CUV detractors can’t seem to get around. Yes, we know that they’re jacked-up wagons/sedans, but that’s what we like about them

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        People willfully emerging from heavy indoctrination deserve all our applause and support. They are now free to make the best choices based upon no doctrine beyond “works for me”.

        Carguys! Throw Off Your Chains!

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I went from an extended cab Ranger to an Escape. I lost 6 inches of linear hauling space. The Ranger had scads more vertical hauling space than the Escape; the Escape’s roof has something to with that. Close enough for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Occam

      A 92 Accord was my first car. I think the scraping was more due to very soft suspension (the Accord was still a compact at the time, but really, really, really wanted to be a Midsize. Honda was gunning for the Taurus, so they tried to give it a ‘big-car’ ride. The front tended to plow down over speed-bumps. When the shocks got worn, it would really dip.

      I disagree on the height – I’m irritated by how tall cars are getting. I like a driving position where my legs are out in front of me, stretched out. The ’92 Accord was 54″ tall. It’s now 58″. The ’92 Civic was 52″… it’s not 56″. The Mazda3 is 58″… the low, sleek Mazda3 is an inch taller than the goofy, tall Civic Shuttle wagons of the late 80’s/early 90’s.

      It wouldn’t be an issue, except the cars are designed so that the seats often can’t be lowered all the way – they are designed to have upright SUV seating. I don’t mind that Cute-Utes and such exist, and am fine with tall seats for vertically challenged customers who want it, but the lockstep insistence on bolt-upright kitchen chair seating in even the lowest cars is annoying.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        I used to have a ’90 Accord that was lowered 2.5 inches up front an 1.5 rear. I’m 6 feet tall and had to bend down to reach the door handles, a normal floor jack wouldn’t fit under it either. Lovely car to drive, even if it was hell when I had back problems…
        (PS, it was still a lot taller than a ’70 ‘Cuda convertible , and then the Cuda had a lot more ground clearance)

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Indeed, with how “compact” my Accord was I didn’t quite get why I had brought one over a Civic, beyond most 90’s Civics having utterly gutless engines.

          As far as height goes it really varies on what the cars supposed to be imo, compacts should seat low, sports cars should seat low, but family sedans like the Accord need the extra space.

          At Zyko: You don’t have to mod a Cuda to have a fun driver, though you do have to lift the hood more often.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I think the biggest problem with the Mazda 2 is the brother-sister Ford Fiesta, if you want a small deformed-looking hatchback why would you buy the slower Mazda 2 over the Fiesta?

    The other problem is general perception with the Lexus GRX you feel like “you’re on top”, ahead of the game, its the difference between a Lexus ES 250 and a Toyota Tercel.

    When people buy cars they feel better putting their money on something thats easy to live with and that feels a bit more “upscale”, if they were car buffs, they’d be driving around in modded Colony Park wagons, or something with a “chipped” turbo.

    Theres also the Mazda 3, why would you buy the 2 over a 3? For more dynamic handling? Fuel savings? If you seriously want a bottom dollar hatchback theres the Chevy Spark (which is admittedly much harder to look at).

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