When it comes to automobiles, big is often seen as better, especially in the USA. However, while many automakers have veered away from their compact offerings, a few havenít quite given up on the segment, which is why hatchback cars may still be an excellent choice for you. These minimalist machines are the very epitome of smart packaging, which may be why they still appeal to city-dwellers who arenít as worried about making a big statement as they may be about showing how savvy they are.
Go Small or Go Home
How true is that tired adage of bigger means better, really? Do you miss your old brick-shaped mobile phone? Do you regret missing out on having a home computer that needed a whole room to itself? Or do you truly long for ďsimplerĒ times when the latest celebrity gossip came via mail and was weeks old by the time you received it?
That seems rather unlikely. The world is moving faster by the second, and time is relative, and so, too, are most other things. Still, some try to exert control over their lives by making a loud statement – the kind you get from a massive luxury SUV or an obnoxious V8 engine roaring in bumper-to-bumper traffic. However, those of us who know that progress and change are inevitable also know that it is not necessarily a bad thing. We understand that smaller tech is the sign of sophistication and why should our modes of transport be any different?
Good things come in small packages
Despite the move away from hatchback-style vehicles, particularly State-side, several names in the industry have stuck with this configuration. Unsurprisingly, these brands predominantly hail from markets where staying ahead of the tech game is paramount – namely Japan and Germany. These automakers have pushed the boundaries of what is possible, and they have found new and unique ways of packaging the best value into the smallest vehicles. In fact, many models from this segment do remarkably well in the American market, where overpowered pickups or high-riding crossovers are the usual fare.
Whether youíre looking for a good time or the latest tech, there is likely a hatchback out there to meet your needs. It is also the segment that makes the best use out of the relatively new hybrid technology that will likely replace standard combustion engines in the near future. In terms of fun driving, you have high-performance contenders like the Volkswagen Golf GTI or the peppy Hyundai Veloster N with its 250-horsepower inline-four. Similarly, the truly impressive fuel economy figures of the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid or Toyota Prius are almost impossible to beat. There are also luxurious hatches such as the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, Mini Cooper Hardtop, and BMWís i3 that are worthy of your consideration.
Itís only logical
With all this said, why are these little pocket-rockets still relatively rare sights on the road? With many manufacturers opting for crossovers and moving away from producing smaller vehicles, the segment isnít particularly expansive. However, why would you want to buy a large sedan or full-size SUV in a city where traffic congestion is a legitimate problem? Hatchback cars offer too many advantages to simply ignore:
Our hubs of economic and cultural advancement deserve inhabitants that are keen to move with the times and see smart living as more of a status symbol than opulence. Small hatchback cars are ideal for this, as they are maneuverable around the busy streets and offer immense value without compromising on fun. They are also eminently practical. The very design of these machines, if done right, lends itself towards passenger comfort and superior cargo capabilities. Few sedans of twice the size could hope to fit as much junk in the trunk.
Some big names in this little market
Having discussed just a few of the many ways these small cars can make a big improvement to your quality of life, letís look at some of the top names in the segment and exactly what makes them so special.
- VW Golf GTI – With a capable 2.0-liter powertrain mated to either a manual or automatic transmission, this is one of the most enjoyable hot hatches on the market. The interior is also extremely sophisticated, with an almost cockpit-like appeal and a large, crisp infotainment interface.
- Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid – Few cars can boast a combined gas mileage of close to 60 mpg, but the base model Ioniq certainly can. It also has impressive cargo capacity for a hybrid and a long list of standard features. It does, however, make some compromises on back seat space and interior quality.
- Mazda 3 Hatchback – One of the areas the Mazda 3 excels in is the way it handles, offering loads of fun behind the wheel, as well as a premium-feeling interior for a nominal price – this is a great way to keep up without compromising your budget. It looks great, and comes remarkably well-equipped. It doesnít offer the best cargo space, though, and could be a little tight in the back, but this is standard for the segment.