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Home > Ultimate Car Guide > Hatchbacks

Hatchback Guide

What hatchbacks have in common is that they have a door that opens up in back for commodious storage and access, making a two-door car into a three-door and a four-door into a five-door. Most are not only easy to pack but easy to afford.

Hyundai Accent

Year: Starting at $14,795 MPG 28-37 The Hyundai Accent used to be one of the value leaders in the small-car segment, but the Korean automaker is taking its Ford Fiesta fighter upmarket for 2013. The base 2013 Accent gets a $2,000 price increase over the outgoing base 2012 Accent GLS ­ but Hyundai has beefed up the standard equipment list considerably. Standard features now include air-conditioning, remote keyless entry, an audio system with six speakers, heated side mirrors, body-colored door handles, and a sunglasses holder. The Accent even gets a new, optional power sunroof on the SE model. But shoppers should be aware that the base Accent is now more expensive than several of its key competitors, including the base 2013 Ford Fiesta S sedan. The Accent is a mighty performer and won’t disappoint at the pump. It is equipped with a 138-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine linked to either an optional six-speed automatic transmission or standard six-speed manual transmission. The EPA says that either powertrain configuration will return 30 mpg in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway. Much of Accent’s competition does not hit that magic 40 mpg mark. Six air bags are standard on the Accent and there’s no skimping on styling, thanks to Accent’s newer sculptured look. Five-door Accent SE models get a sporty roof-mounted spoiler and vertical taillights, dressing up the subcompact even more. …
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Hyundai Elantra

Year: Starting at $17,815 MPG 28-38 The 2013 Hyundai Elantra comes in several flavors, including a sedan, coupe, and a new Elantra GT hatchback that replaces the Elantra Touring. The Elantra, which was named the 2012 North American Car of the Year by a very picky panel of automotive journalists, is one of the best small cars on the market. The Elantra GT offers a sportier ride than the sedan version, along with a roomy cabin. The base Elantra sedan takes a lot of anxiety away at the gas pump, since it returns 40 mpg on the highway. The Elantra GT falls just short of that, delivering 39 mpg on the highway. Standard features on the 2013 Elantra GT include a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 148 horsepower, heated front seats, seventeen-inch alloy wheels, and seven airbags. The Elantra GT starts at $19,170, including a $775 destination charge. A GT Style package for both versions of the Elantra GT is priced at $2,750 and adds such items as seventeen-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and aluminum pedals. A GT Technology package for both versions of the Elantra GT is priced at $2,350 and adds a navigation system, rearview camera, automatic headlights, and dual automatic temperature control. This option requires the Style package, noted Hyundai. If your shopping list includes such mainstays as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, you’d be remiss not to take a test drive in the Elantra. …
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Volkswagen Golf

Year: Starting at $17,995 MPG 23-33 Despite looking like a car your European grandmother might drive around, the Golf is meticulously engineered. It offers four different engines depending on your desired thrill level. Highly customizable, each engine is available with three possible transmissions, and the choice between two- or four-door models, both with a convenient hatchback. The clean diesel Golf has a combined fuel economy of 34 miles to the gallon, which is just barely beaten by the Smart ForTwo’s combined 36 miles to the gallon. With a cabin that looks much more sophisticated than the exterior, it is hard to believe that the Golf starts at just under $19,000. Available options include a sunroof, a navigation system, and keyless entry with push button start, depending on the trim level. The Golf has long been one of Volkswagen’s worldwide best sellers, and the longevity is no mistake. A quality car that is fun to drive and versatile, the Golf always has been and is likely to remain a fixture of Volkswagen’s lineup. …
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Suzuki SX4

Year: Starting at $15,845 MPG 23-33 Suzuki’s only compact car within American borders, the SX4 is a fun car for the young and the young-at-heart alike. It doesn’t matter if you’re a committed sedan-driver or prefer a car with five doors: the SX4 has something for you. The Crossover is the only SX4 that comes with all-wheel drive; if you go with one of the other models, you’ll have to settle for front-wheel drive. The car’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine will get you up to 29 miles city and 33 miles highway on a single tank of gas. However, given the size of this car as compared to some of its competitors, the mileage should be better. The upside is that many features that come in expensive comfort and convenience packages on other cars come standard on the SX4. On most trim levels, you’ll find your SX4 equipped with illuminated steering wheel controls, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise control buttons and audio controls, and a remote keyless entry system. …
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Subaru XV Crosstrek

Year: Starting at $21,995 MPG 23-30 The XV Crosstrek is a new vehicle from Subaru for the growing compact crossover utility segment. Basically, the engineers at Subaru started with a five-door Impreza, raised it three inches off the ground for better ground clearance and made it more rugged looking. The XV Crosstrek has rugged capability and Subaru’s all-wheel drive system to tackle any recreational sport or task, while not losing any of those interior comforts you have grown to want. The XV Crosstrek offers rear seat legroom close to that of a mid-size vehicle. If you want to feel good about saving the environment while driving, this is the car for you. The XV Crosstrek is built in a zero landfill plant and is a partial zero emissions vehicle. You’ll also feel good getting close to 33 MPG with the larger gas tank. The XV Crosstrek comes with two transmission choices: a five-speed manual transmission and an automatic with manual control mode and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The XV Crosstrek will keep you and your occupants safe, coming standard with Subaru’s advanced frontal airbag system. This system is equipped with airbags that can sense how close you are to the airbag. The XV Crosstrek is proof you can have a rugged vehicle without having to surrender comfort and gas mileage. …
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Scion xD

Year: Starting at $16,545 MPG 27-33 The xD was Scion’s replacement for the xA, but it looks more like a shrunken version of the utilitarian xB. The xD is about a foot smaller than the xB, and it is not quite as tall or as wide as its sibling. It also sits on a smaller wheelbase. Despite it’s small size and low weight, the xD doesn’t exactly shoot off the starting blocks. However, the nimbler of Scion’s five-door offerings gets the best fuel mileage of the fleet (excluding outlier Scion iQ) at 33 miles per gallon on the highway. The xD’s interior isn’t quite spacious, but neither is it cramped. The rear seats fold flat to allow for increased cargo space. Like all Scions, the xD’s list of add-ons is almost overwhelming, and goes far beyond usual offerings of upgraded wheels and window tints. With available accessories like shocks, mufflers, and brakes, and a base price at $16,000, the xD is perfect for an enthusiast on a budget. Don’t wait too long, though. There is talk of replacing the xD with an all new model as part of Scion’s never ending crusade for novelty. …
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Mitsubishi Lancer

Year: Starting at $15,995 MPG 25-34 The racing-inspired Lancer Evolution has definitely been a favorite in years past, but Mitsubishi has left it as is for the 2013 model year in favor of updating some of the other Lancer trim levels that appeal to a more money-conscious drivers. Now, all-wheel drive is no longer exclusive to the Evolution, but a standard feature on the Ralliart. In fact, many cosmetic features that would generally be bundled in a package, like exterior-matching door handles and mirrors, and interior chrome trim come standard on the many of the trim levels, as do power windows, mirrors, and doors. If that sort of thing isn’t important to you, you’ll be pleased to hear that nearly all safety and security features are standard on all models, making every trim level a safe purchase. With Electric Power Steering, a continuously variable transmission, and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, the Lancer receives up to 26 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, but don’t expect a quiet ride to go along with the mileage. The Lancer is definitely a fun car to drive and a smart buy, but wind and road noise will be considerable for those who intend to use the car for normal driving rather than amateur racing. …
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Nissan Versa

Year: Starting at $11,990 MPG 27-36 It’s anybody’s guess whether the 2013 Nissan Versa sedan will hang onto its title of cheapest car in America, since pricing has not been announced yet. But Versa was the Holy Grail when it came to inexpensive cars last year after Hyundai walked away from the fight over such a title with its redesigned Accent. The base 2012 Versa sedan with a five-speed manual transmission starts at a remarkable $11,770, including a $780 destination charge. Nissan redesigned the Versa sedan for 2012 and it still has appeal for those shopping for the best value. The Versa also comes in a hatchback version, which has yet to undergo a major revision and is a carryover from the 2012 model year. The Versa sedan has much to recommend it since highway fuel economy increases to 40 mpg this year on CVT-equipped models. The sedan is equipped with a 109-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. A Versa sedan with a four-speed automatic transmission is new for 2013. Different trim levels on the sedan also add new features for 2013, including the addition of a rear spoiler on CVT-equipped models and goodies like a remote key fob trunk release on SL models. In addition to excellent value, the sedan also has a huge trunk and plenty of ride comfort. On the downside, acceleration is acceptable, but not thrilling. If you’re into extreme couponing, stockpiling toilet paper, and penny pinching, the Versa should be on your shopping list. …
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Mazda MAZDA2

Year: Starting at $14,720 MPG 29-35 The Mazda 2 has a lot to recommend it, from its long list of standard and safety features, to its decent cabin and cute looks. But the subcompact delivers low fuel economy for such a small car – and doesn’t even hit the magic 40-mpg mark in highway driving. The Mazda 2 also has a steep base price for such a small car, with the base 2013 Sport model starting at over $15,000. An uplevel Mazda 2 Touring model tops $17,000. On the plus side, the Mazda 2 enters the post-modern world with a new USB port, something it lacked in the past. Its refined four-cylinder engine feels livelier than its 100-horsepower rating would suggest, especially when it’s linked to the five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional. There’s no denying that the five-seater is a fun-to-drive city car, but there may be too many compromises for some. The Mazda 2 has a tight back seat and limited cargo room. It lacks the luxury features available in newer subcompacts like the Ford Fiesta. That means no navigation system or heated seats. The Touring model is the way to go if you’re looking for amenities. It includes fifteen-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tips, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an audio system with six speakers. The main problem with the Mazda 2 occurs once comparison shopping begins. When you stack it up against its sizeable competition, it’s merely average. …
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Subaru Impreza

Year: Starting at $18,395 MPG 25-33 The new Impreza is the roomiest Impreza ever with a longer wheelbase. Your passengers sitting in the back won’t complain anymore of little to no legroom, as the Impreza offers two more inches of legroom than previous models. You will also be more comfortable in the driver’s seat, gaining a little more room for hips and shoulders. There are also numerous compartments to stow your life’s necessities, like phones and purses. With more room comes more fuel economy in the Impreza. This isn’t normally something you would see in the same sentence, but Subaru has figured out how to get more than 30 percent more fuel economy in the Impreza. Even equipped with Subaru’s well-known all-wheel drive, the Impreza is projected to get 27 MPG city and 36 MPG on the highway. The new Impreza’s exterior has gone through a makeover, returning to Subaru’s original sporty design. You can choose between a four-door or five-door model, both with bolder and more dynamic exterior designs. Both models come standard with carpeted floor mats, a standard item most automakers don’t offer. Also offered is more flexible storage space, including a split-folding back seat, perfect for transporting life’s adventures. For the money, the Impreza combines practicality with bold, sporty design for a reasonable price. …
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