ABTL 2016 Lexus CT 200h Photo ・ Photo by Lexus
The term “hatchback” used to tell you everything you needed to know about a car, with the bodystyle defining the vehicle as much as its actual specs. Now, automakers are taking this functional design in several enticing directions. In this Autobytel roundup of 10 Favorite Hatchbacks, we feature everything from the basic to upscale, from the highly efficient to the performance-oriented. While some models featured here are available exclusively as hatchbacks, others are also offered as sedans. In those cases, we’ll be looking at the hatchback configurations only. Also of note: We’re interested in functionality, so 2-door hatches don't make our cut. Read on to discover our 10 favorite 4-door hatchbacks.
Ford’s compact Focus kicks off our rundown of 10 Best Hatchbacks. The 2016 Ford Focus seats five passengers and is one of the most popular and value-laden models in its class. The entry-level Focus offers 160 horsepower from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, and it's equipped with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automated manual. The SE Hatch, of note, can be ordered with an optional 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine, a turbocharged 3-cylinder that produces 123 hosepower and excellent fuel economy. Want more power? The sporty Focus ST has a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder with 252 horsepower. More significant, the new-for-2016 Focus RS makes its U.S. debut; it's an exceptionally sporty all-wheel-drive Focus powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine with 350 horsepower. Yes, 350. And that's not all: Ford also continues to sell the Focus Electric in 2016, although the battery significantly reduces the car's cargo capacity.
Photo by Ford
The subcompact 2016 Honda Fit makes its mark as one of the best 4-door hatchbacks on the market by blending great versatility with sporty manners and Honda's excellent build quality. The 5-passenger Fit is extremely handy, thanks to a surprisingly spacious back seat area with room for actual adults, plus as a roomy cargo hold beneath the hatch. Honda's clever "Magic Seat" stows in such a way that the compact Fit is able to carry large or bulky items that would be impossible to "fit" in other subcompacts. Honda equips the Fit with a single engine, a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 130 horsepower, which is just enough to let the car move smoothly through traffic and offer great fuel economy. Strong handling and cornering capabilities are icing on the cake here, ensuring the 2016 Honda Fit's presence on our Autobytel roundup of 10 Best Hatchbacks.
Photo by Honda
The 2016 Mazda3 5-Door is another standout value among today's new breed of hatchbacks. This Mazda is known for being fun to drive and practical, and its two available engines manage to be peppy but efficient. Although it's technically a 5-seater, the 2016 Mazda3 5-Door isn't known for having a spacious back seat. Aside from that, the hatchback Mazda3 boasts an upscale cabin, one that uses high-end materials and has an intuitive, well designed layout. Both 4-cylinder engines, a 155-horsepower 2.0-liter and a 184-horsepower 2.5-liter, are fuel efficient, with the former returning an impressive 40 mpg in EPA Highway tests. With its impressive economy and fun-to-drive nature, plus great NHTSA safety scores and attractive styling, the 2016 Mazda3 5-Door shatters the old notion that hatchbacks are frumpy.
Photo by Mazda USA
The car credited for kicking off the entire hybrid segment is also one of the best 4-door hatchbacks currently available. We’re talking about the 2016 Toyota Prius—the original, not the various offshoots, although those are also solid options. Even if you don’t necessarily want a hybrid, the spacious Toyota Prius is a great option. Why has the Prius been so successful over the years? It's a hybrid, yes, but no compromises need to be made. For 2016, Toyota completely redesigned the Prius. Besides updated styling, the 2016 Prius has a 121-horsepower gasoline-electric drivetrain consisting of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gas engine, two electric motors and a continuously variable automatic transmission that maximizes fuel economy. Just how efficient is the new Prius? Try 54 mpg in EPA City testing.
The Ford Fiesta can be thought of as the Focus’ smaller sibling; it even offers the same choice of sedan or hatchback bodystyles. But the hatch is definitely the way to go when shopping for this 5-passenger subcompact. While both versions of the Fiesta are quite attractive, we at Autobytel feel the hatchback has an athletic look that’s absent from the sedan, and that notion is underscored by the Fiesta hatchback’s more exciting configurations. The base models are perfectly okay, with a decent 120-horsepower output, good handling, and competitive fuel economy. But if you need to be convinced that the Fiesta hatch is superior, look at the Fiesta ST performance model. This fire-breathing Fiesta has a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces a whopping 197 horsepower. Better strap down your cargo!
The 2-door version of the 2016 Volkswagen Golf hatchback has its appeal. It’s sporty and practical, and there are plenty of people out there who don’t need those extra rear doors. But the 4-door Golf hatchback is a better choice for young couples and families who need a car to grow with, thanks to those added rear entryways. Base Golfs are powered by VW's turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder with 170 horsepower; sporty GTI models have a turbo 2.0-liter with 220 horsepower; and the all-wheel-drive Golf R tops the lineup with a roaring 292-horspower version of the 2.0-liter. And your choices of 4-door Golf hatchbacks don't end there: The German company continues to sell the electric Volkswagen e-Golf in 2016.
Photo by Volkswagen
The Kia Soul is categorized by some as a crossover, but it’s got unmistakable hatchback elements (such as an actual hatch). Despite its mini-SUV footprint and profile, it provides a car-like experience and it’s got more in common with the other best 4-door hatchbacks than it does with other crossovers in its class. The 2016 Kia Soul comes in a cheerful range of colors and has a perky attitude that’s been exploited, for better or for worse, by Kia’s irreverent marketing campaigns. What we’ve found, though, is that the Soul should be taken more seriously than it is. It provides premium accommodations for five passengers and its boxy shape helps swallow more cargo than most competitors in its class.
Photo by Kia
The 2016 Subaru Impreza 4-door hatchback is all about accessibility and practicality. This all-wheel-drive compact hatchback is powered by a 148-horsepower flat-4 engine that's adequately powerful if not particulalry exciting. On a positive note, the Impreza’s fuel economy estimates are among the highest in the class. With its robust all-wheel-drive system—the only car in the class to include this feature as standard equipment—and remarkably roomy interior, the 2016 Subaru Impreza proves itself to be a handy hatchback for all seasons.
The Chevrolet Sonic is a great little urban runabout, one of the least expensive 4-door hatchbacks on the market. This Detroit-built 5-passenger subcompact is a lot roomier than its size suggests, and it's the only car in its class with 10 standard airbags. A 1.8-liter 4-cylinder is the standard engine; a turbocharged 1.4 is available as an option. Both produce 138 horsepower, but the 1.4, mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, returns an impressive 40 mpg on the highway. The 1.4 also has more torque, which makes for a more pleasurable driving experience. Whether you’re content with the base model or willing to splurge a bit for the 1.4 turbo, the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic hatchback is a smart choice.
Photo by Chevrolet
We’re rounding out our list of 10 Best Hatchbacks with a gem: the 2016 Lexus CT 200h. More upscale than the other 4-door hatchbacks here, the CT 200h is an excellent example of what a hatchback can be when an auto manufacturer is willing to take a few risks. Simply put, this Lexus is a hybrid luxury car wrapped in a hatchback body. There's plenty of room for passengers and gear inside, where upscale fitments and excellent craftsmanship abound. With its gasoline engine and two electric motors producing a combined 134 horsepower, the 2016 Lexus CT 200h boasts an impressive EPA City rating of 43 mpg. Those of you who like twisty roads should consider the available F Sport suspension package; it significantly improves the handling of this luxurious Lexus hatchback.
Photo by Lexus