Posts Tagged ‘hatchbacks’

Chevy Cruze Joins New Wave of Hatchbacks

Hatches gain traction – but can be hard to distinguish from CUVs.

by on Jun.17, 2016

Chevrolet will bring the new Cruze Hatchback to dealers this autumn at a base $22,190.

Chevrolet is getting ready to roll out a new, five-door version of its compact Cruze model, a move that might have had industry analysts scratching their heads just a few years ago.

Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, hatchbacks were hot. But due to some poor designs and quality problems – notably leaky hatches – they earned a bad reputation as “penalty-box” cars and all but vanished from the market. Suddenly, however, the market appears to be heating up again, with manufacturers introducing new models and consumers responding enthusiastically.

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“Automakers are responding to consumer demand for additional choice,” said David Sullivan, a senior automotive analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.

Adding new body styles, said Sullivan, can also help prop up passenger car nameplates that have been losing momentum as more and more U.S. buyers shift to sport- and crossover-utility vehicles, as well as other light truck lines.


Scion Reveals iM Concept for LA Auto Show

A sign of a hatchback revival?

by on Nov.12, 2014

Scion's iM Concept is likely to reappear in production form in short order.

After teasing us with a shot of the new iM Concept a few weeks back, Scion has pulled the covers entirely off the new model it will be bringing to the Los Angeles Auto Show next week.

It may be a concept in name, but expect to see the Scion iM found a place in the maker’s line-up in the very near future, as part of a new product push designed to rebuild its once-formidable image among young trendsetters.

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And perhaps the most intriguing detail in the news release that accompanied this image is the fact that Scion isn’t trying to come up with a fancy euphemism. Toyota’s youth brand is calling the iM exactly what it is, a “hatchback.”


Kia Bucks Conventional Wisdom with Forte 5-Door

Korean carmaker sees a growing market for hot hatches.

by on Feb.08, 2013

With the Forte 5-door, Kia is betting the hatchback market is heating up.

If it were to have listened to conventional wisdom, Kia would have stuck with building bland econoboxes, rather than moving steadily up-market with styling products like the Optima and Sorento. So, perhaps, it’s no surprise the Korean carmaker is again ignoring conventional wisdom with its plans to launch the new 5-door Kia Forte in a market that has traditionally disdained hatchbacks.

The all-new Forte 5-door is making its debut at the Chicago Auto Show and showing off another eye-catching, European-inspired design that is complimented by an all-new 1.6-liter gasoline direct-injected (GDI) turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

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The powertrain in the top-of-the-line Forte SX is designed to pump a little passion into the Forte hatchback, pumping out a full 201 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, making the 5-door the most powerful Forte from KMA to date.


Nissan Versa Note Reveals New Direction for Subcompact Hatchback

Maker pitching new design, higher mileage, added features.

by on Jan.15, 2013

Nissan debuts the new hatchback version of the Versa at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.

The Nissan Versa Note, which goes on sale at Nissan dealers in the United States in summer 2013, will offer a new look and several key innovations for buyers searching for an entry-level hatchback.

The subcompact segment in which the new Versa Note competes has become one of the most competitive in the industry and also one of the most robust as both young buyers looking for their first new vehicle and older buyers start to downsize. In addition, buyers sensitive to the price of fuel are also moving into the segment and Nissan has tried to capitalize on the trends by offering more utility in an affordable package.

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The little hatchback debuting at the North American International Auto Show boasts a new design direction — with a steeply sloped windshield and sculpted body panels — and features new technology for the entry segment, including the “Around View” Monitor, which fulfills Nissan’s broad effort to deliver “innovation” to all product segment.


Ford to Add High-Performance Fiesta ST Model

A "distinctive growl" - and more power than a Mini Cooper S.

by on Nov.27, 2012

Ford will get into the hot hatch market with the launch of the 2014 Fiesta ST.

Ford plans to power up its new 2014 Fiesta subcompact.  Barely a week after announcing it will add a new 1.0-liter version of its EcoBoost technology to the updated Fiesta line, it now says it also will add a sportier ST version to rival the likes of the Fiat 500 Abarth and Mini Cooper S.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST will bring the sportiest version of the Fiesta to the U.S. market from Europe, where the ST designation was first introduced. Ford has also launched an ST version of the larger Focus model. It will be powered by a 197-horsepower, 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine.

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“There’s a big opportunity” to appeal to young buyers who aren’t interested in the conventional American definition of a muscle car, which would be a larger product like the Ford Mustang powered by a more fuel-hungry V-8, explained Jim Farley, Ford’s global marketing czar.


First Look: Nissan Invitation Concept

Geneva preview for sleek B-segment hatchback.

by on Feb.06, 2012

The Nissan Invitaton will debut in Geneva next month.

When Nissan said it was extending an invitation for the upcoming Geneva Motor Show we didn’t initially realize it had a double meaning.

Along with 10,000 other journalists, we’re on the list to attend the maker’s upcoming preview at PALExpo, where it will unveil the Nissan Invitation Concept, a slick little B-segment hatchback that likely provides a hint of where it’s going with its future subcompact 5-door family.

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Could this provide a hint of the next-generation hatchback version of the Versa – after the launch of the more sedate Versa sedan last year – or perhaps something entirely new?  A spokesman would only quote the official line: “Nissan will debut more than 20 new or redesigned models in the Americas in the next 24 months, with many exciting details to be provided in the coming months. Stay tuned.”


Hatchbacks are Hot at Ford

Evos Concept suggests more coming, product chief Kuzak hints.

by on Sep.06, 2011

The face -- and backend -- of the future for Ford? The Evos Concept suggests even more hatchbacks are in the pipeline.

Hatchbacks are hot at Ford Motor Co. and the maker’s new Evos Concept – which officially debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week – suggests that even more 3- and 5-door models are in the works, according to the maker’s head of global product planning.

Long considered unacceptable to U.S. motorists, hatchbacks are gaining ground fast with younger buyers and influencing even older motorists to take another look.  That convinced Ford to go with a 5-door design for the Evos Concept which introduces a new look that “will become increasingly familiar” to the company’s customers around the world,” said product czar Derrick Kuzak.

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“The (hatchback) body style is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and especially in North America,” Kuzak told, in sharp contrast with years past.

Where hatchbacks were offered on past-generation Ford products sold in the U.S., said the product chief, they accounted for perhaps 20% of total sales.  Now, Kuzak noted, “It’s just the opposite,” hatchbacks generating 60 to 70% of demand for models like the 2012 Ford Focus and 2011 Ford Fiesta.


A Hatchback Comeback?

No longer just econoboxes.

by on Jul.20, 2011

Redefining the hatchback, the new Audi A7

When Chicago’s Dee Brustein graduated college earlier this year, her parents chipped in to help her buy a new Ford Fiesta.  The one they had in mind was a sedan.  Dee, with her degree in engineering, wanted something that was both more practical and hip.  So she opted for the 5-door hatchback.

“They just couldn’t understand,” laughs the 22-year-old.  “They’re Boomers, and to them, hatchbacks aren’t cool.  But I think it looks nicer and it has a lot more room and that will help me because I figure I may wind up moving a few times as I start my career.”

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Hatchback or sedan?  That’s a debate a lot of folks are having these days, and not just on the consumer side.  Ford officials acknowledge they were originally unsure about offering a five-door body style when they introduced their first subcompact into the U.S. market in decades.  But so far, it’s proven unexpectedly popular, accounting for about half of all the Fiestas sold in the U.S. – and hatchbacks make up 41% of the sales for the larger, newly-redesigned Ford Focus.

Ford is anything but unique.


First Drive: 2011 Mazda2

Getting out of the penalty box.

by on Aug.23, 2010

No penalty box this; the 2011 Mazda2.

Unless you’re talking about an exotic sports car, driving something small has typically been an act of endurance – repayment for bad karma, perhaps.  But there’s no reason a subcompact has to “feel  like a cheap penalty box,” insists Dave Coleman, the product development engineer behind the new 2011 Mazda2.

The 5-door hatchback is the Japanese maker’s latest-generation subcompact, and the first Mazda2 to make it to American shores.  A not-too-distant sibling of Ford’s new Fiesta, the Asian offering aims to tap into the growing demand for smaller, more affordable, more fuel-efficient vehicles.  And if our time behind the wheel is any indication, Mazda just might pull it off.

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In recent decades, Ford and Mazda have cooperated on a variety of vehicle programs, the Mazda2 just the latest.  But those who believe Fiesta and Mazda2 are effectively the same car are in for some surprises.  The two projects diverged early on, insists Coleman, who claims there are now only four parts shared between the two.


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