Liftgate or Trunk?
Although sedans remain very popular in the North America, hatchbacks are gaining favor, especially in the compact segment. That means if you’re in the market for a compact car, you’ve got a dilemma ahead of you. Do you pick the more traditional sedan or the less common hatchback or wagon? Here are five reasons to go for the hatchback and five reasons not to.
Five Reasons to Get a Hatchback or Wagon
Space, Space, Space
When you go for a hatch, you often gain cargo space. In fact, some small hatchbacks offer more room for your stuff than midsize sedans. Factor in the split-folding rear seatbacks that usually come standard on hatchbacks and you can turn your compact car into a cargo hauler with ease.
While many cars these days come standard with split-folding rear seats, hatchbacks benefit from this setup the most thanks to their superior interior volume. This means you’ve got more flexibility to carry any mix of people and cargo. That’ll come in handy when you go antiquing or do some impromptu Ikea shopping with a friend or two.
Small on the Outside, Big on the Inside
The expansive interior you get in a hatchback usually equals those of larger cars but without the additional exterior dimensions. In fact, hatchbacks are sometimes smaller than their sedan counterparts in terms of their footprint. This means that if you live in a city or a place where space is at a premium, you won’t struggle finding a place to park your versatile compact car.
Better Headroom for Rear Passengers
Compared to a sedan, a hatchback offers a slightly higher roofline, which contributes to its ability to haul bulky items with ease. That higher roofline also gives you more headroom. Passengers sitting in the rear seats won’t have to slouch and hurt their necks thanks to that extra bit of space.
Because hatchbacks are often more upright than sedans, there’s also more glass area. This means you’ll be able to see out the car more easily because of the bigger windows around you. Most hatchbacks have rear windows that are more upright, giving you a better view out of the rearview mirror.
Five Reasons NOT to Get a Hatchback or Wagon
(Sometimes) Less Fuel Efficient
In some cases, enjoying the benefits of a hatchback requires a slight sacrifice when it comes to fuel economy. Since they’re sometimes less aerodynamic than sedans and shorter in length, hatchbacks may take a minor hit in the fuel economy department in exchange for the extra utility they offer.
All that extra utility you get in a hatchback at times comes at cost of additional weight compared to a traditional sedan. The extra body structures, the tailgate, and sometimes extra glass can add anywhere from just a few pounds to nearly 100 pounds (45 kg) or more in some hatchbacks and wagons.
The Rear Window Makes or Breaks the Utility Advantage
Like crossovers, the one factor that can make or break a hatchback’s utility advantage over a sedan is that rear window. If the hatch bears a sporty, sloped roofline, chances are you won’t have as much usable cargo space.
Price Can Be an Issue
Some automakers offer the hatchback body style only on higher trim levels of a specific model, meaning they won’t be within reach of every buyer. For example, the base “S” trim level on the Ford Focus is only offered as a sedan (the 2014 Focus is shown here). In the case that a hatch is available on all grades or the car is only available as a hatch, it’s usually priced higher than its sedan equivalent, which still keeps it out of reach for many consumers.
Due to the Americans consumers’ aversion to hatchbacks, you might find a better selection at dealerships for certain sedans than a similarly sized hatchback.
What do you think: Would you go for a four-door hatchback or stick with a sedan?