QOTD: Ready to Hatch a Winner?
A bodystyle forever engaged in a tug-of-war between a stigma born of nerdy econoboxes and a scrappy enthusiast community, the lowly hatchback both attracts and repels. For the most part, hatches are versatile, affordable cars capable of swallowing generous amounts of people and cargo without asking too much of a premium. Choose right, and there’s no telling what fun you might have behind the wheel.
With a hatchback, you truly can have it all. Or at least some of everything.
Today’s question has its roots in a recent chatroom discussion sparked by this writer’s acquisition of a new Corolla hatch tester, in which the powerful minds roaming this place went to work answering “what’s the most practical hatchback, all things considered?”
Taking into account price, cargo volume, driving dynamics, and comfort — and maybe a few other metrics — a couple of candidates sprung up immediately. Golf. Impreza. It’s easy to see why; VW’s Golf line remains the driver’s hatch, self-assured and iconic, but still very attainable, while Subaru’s Impreza five-door boasts healthy levels of refinement and traction by the boatload.
One participant offered up the Kia Niro, but that just bogged down the discussion with the frustrating “where’s the dividing line between hatchbacks and crossovers?” question. Having blown past a poky Niro this past weekend, this writer couldn’t help noticing the front-drive Kia’s beltline was almost the same altitude as that of his Cruze. Put me in the hatchback camp, never mind what Kia says.
Perhaps oddly, no one mentioned Honda’s ugly duckling of a Civic.
As there’s still ample choice in the hatchback field, readers have no shortage of vehicles to juggle. Hyundai’s Elantra GT starts cheap and offers considerable interior volume and an available turbo engine. Honda’s aforementioned Civic hatch is, well, a Civic, which naturally begs consideration. Mazda’s 3 hatch offers up some fun with is available 2.5-liter/6M powertrain. Chevrolet’s groundbreaking Bolt is a long-range, all-electric star, if such things float your boat.
Put on your thinking caps, B&B, and help answer this question. What’s the most practical hatchback on sale today?
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This is a reach (especially for practicality), but how about the late, lamented Ford/Merkur Scorpio? A relatively large rear-wheel-drive hatchback, with a nice interior and rear-wheel-drive, decent performance (for its day), rear-wheel-drive, understated (to a fault) styling, rear-wheel-drive, available as a manual and with all-wheel-drive (in Europe, if I'm not mistaken) and did I mention it was rear-wheel-drive?
Golf. Obviously. 64 comments and no mention of the Impreza. Yikes.