More Practical Than They Appear
It’s no secret that most automakers cut engineering and production costs by sharing similar architectures across many models. While brand engineering was easily distinguishable in the past, modern technologies allow automakers to spread those costs across a greater variety of models without being so blatant. Other times designers are able to back practicality into sporty cars that initially appear one-dimensional. Here is a look at some cars that—despite their looks—are actually functional hatchbacks.
Although it competes in the compact crossover class, the Subaru Crosstrek is based on the Subaru Impreza hatchback but with raised suspension. In fact, nearly every interior and exterior dimension is within an inch of the lower car. The Crosstrek however, has an SUV-like 8.7 inches of ground clearance. That’s enough for those those deep snow days and to handle unpaved roads.
With the new Jaguar F-Pace, the storied British automaker enters the SUV segment for the first time. Despite its high seating position and generous ground clearance, the F-Pace is built on a (heavily modified) variation of the same aluminum-intensive D7a architecture as the compact XE and midsize XF sedans. The F-Pace, however, is more than just a lifted XF wagon. Jaguar’s first SUV can traverse more than just deep canyon snow on the way to the cabin; the F-Pace easily handled the rugged roads of Montenegro during our first drive review.
Like its CLA-Class sedan counterpart, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class crossover brings the German automaker to a wider buying audience—read: entry-level compact luxury vehicles. And just like the CLA, the GLA is based on the Euro-market Mercedes A-Class hatchback. With the popularity of crossovers and their higher driving position, the GLA rides on a raised suspension. The compact crossover also gets a coupe-like sloping rear window for a sportier look.
Tesla Model S
Although the Tesla Model S is sized and priced similarly to premium sedans from European and Japanese automakers, the EV maker’s flagship car is actually a hatchback disguised as a fastback sedan. In fact, the Model S has enough rear cargo room to fit an optional pair of rear facing seats below the hatchback glass. Without the optional third-row seats, the Model S has 26.2 cu-ft of rear cargo space behind the second-row seats and 58.1 cu-ft of space with the second-row seats folded. Add another 5.2 cu-ft of cargo space in the front trunk aka the “frunk,” and the Tesla Model S has more storage space than many wagons and crossovers.
Although the Audi TT sports coupe sports a sleek fastback profile, the compact two-door features a hatchback rear opening. No surprise as the TT shares the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture with the Volkswagen Golf hatchback (as well as various crossover and sedan models). The base TT is powered by a 237-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while the more powerful Audi TTS gets a 306-hp version of the same engine. For those wanting more power, the upcoming Audi TT RS will sport a 394-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five cylinder engine.
As a follow-up to the car Enzo Ferrari called the most beautiful car ever designed (Jaguar E-Type), the Jaguar F-Type coupe could cause the Italian supercar maker to reconsider—if he were still alive. Like its predecessor, the 40-year newer successor to the E-Type features the classic long-hood, short-decklid sports car formula. Combine that with pronounced hips, and the F-Type is one sexy car. That short rear decklid is actually part of a larger rear hatchback hinged above the rear window. The F-Type’s hatchback has enough space under the cargo cover to carry two carry-on luggage bags, two soft duffel bags, two backpacks, and a few odds and ends needed for a weekend getaway for two.
Audi A7 / RS 7
While the Audi A7 is fashioned as a four-door coupe (the segment most recently founded by the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class), the sloping rear roofline actually opens up to reveal a cavernous rear hatch. Audi charges about $10,000 USD over the similarly sized Audi A6 sedan for the A7’s additional cargo space and practicality.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray/Z06
While it’s no secret the Chevrolet Corvette has been a hatchback for several generations, Chevrolet designers have managed to give its flagship grand tourer the classic sports car look. With its large rear opening and generous cargo room, the Corvette combines practicality with style as a perfect companion for weekend trips or extended vacations.
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is a sleek four-door hatchback base on the two-door BMW 4 Series Coupe and convertible, which is based on the four-door BMW 3 Series sedan and wagon. Got it? We think we do too. In its transition to a bona-fide hatchback, the Gran Coupe gains just 140 pounds. It also features 45.9 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Did we mention it is sleeker looking than any of the cars it’s based on?
As the fixed roof companion to the drop-top Porsche 718 Boxster, the Porsche 718 Cayman sports a top-hinged sloping rear window that ends in a short decklid. The Cayman offers generous cargo room below the rear glass (and above the mid-mounted engine) with additional space available in the front trunk.