The utility of a hatchback is an undeniable advantage of this type of automobile. You get many of the benefits of the SUV in a smaller, more readily manageable footprint. While many people say they like the carrying capacity an SUV affords them—in addition to the all-wheel drive powertrain—they don’t particularly like the size. With this group of 2015 hatchbacks, you get the utility, the all-wheel drive, better fuel economy and easier handling than a large SUV. BTW, some of the models we’ve included here are marketed as crossovers, but if you look closely, you’ll see they’re really hatchbacks in disguise. For the record, we aren’t here to call anyone out; we just want to make sure nothing gets overlooked.
2015 All-Wheel Drive Hatchbacks
Audi’s A7 is billed as a four-door coupe, but when you open the “trunk”, a hatch suddenly appears. In our book, this makes the A7 a hatchback; a really nice hatchback—to be sure—but a hatchback nonetheless. Power comes from a choice of two engines, a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with 310 horsepower and 325 ft-lbs of torque, or a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel with 240 horsepower and 428 ft-lbs of torque. Both feed an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Standard features include a power liftgate, blind-spot warning, four-zone automatic climate control, Audi Connect Internet services, a sunroof, and keyless entry and ignition. There are two higher performing A7 variants as well; the 420-horsepower S7, and the 560-horsepower RS7. Pricing starts at $65,900.
BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo
Yep, that’s right—you’re looking at a BMW 3 Series hatchback. Combining all of the dynamic joys we’ve learned to expect from the Munich-based automaker, with a folding rear seat and an extra-large opening at the rear to better accommodate bulkier items, the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is the answer to a question, people have only muttered in the past. Power comes from a choice of two engines. A 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 255 ft-lbs of torque powers the 328i xDrive Gran Turismo. The 335i xDrive GT uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six, with 300 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs of torque. Both use eight-speed automatic transmissions. Pricing starts at $41,850 for the 328 and $47,250 for the 335.
BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo
Before offering the 3 Series Gran Turismo, BMW tested the waters with a 5 Series version of its Gran Turismo concept. The car did find a small fan base, but most people were put off by its look. We’ll be the first to concede both cars are niche products. And yes, we know BMW’s wagons probably make just as much (if not more) sense. But hey, it’s a free market. The 535i xDrive’s 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six makes 300 ft-lbs of torque, while the 550i xDrive’s 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 makes 445 horsepower and 480 ft-lbs of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is fitted regardless of engine choice. Pricing starts at $63,000 for the 535 and $69,100 for the 550.
Honda Crosstour 4WD EX-L V6
Essentially an Accord in disguise, the Honda Crosstour actually started its life at introduction with an Accord Crosstour nameplate. Definitely a polarizing design, Honda’s attempt to Butch up the Accord was met with decidedly mixed reviews. Still, it’s an all-wheel drive hatchback, and some people find that appealing. If all-wheel drive is what you’re after, you’ll get the top of the line Crosstour 4WD EX-L V6. This includes a 3.5-liter V6 with 278 horsepower and 252 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission rounds out the powertrain. Standard Crosstour 4WD features include forward collision and lane departure warning, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, a sunroof, and an eight-inch touchscreen for secondary functions. Pricing starts at $35,920.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz tried marketing a hatchback in the U.S. a while back with less than stellar (no pun intended) results. People just weren’t ready for a hatchback wearing a three-pointed star in the United States. This time, rather than calling it a hatchback, the engineers elevated the GLA’s ride height and the company is trying to push it as a crossover SUV in North America. Offered in both standard and AMG configurations, the base GLA250 uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 208 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque. The GLA45 AMG gets 355 horsepower and 332 ft-lbs from the same powerplant. A seven-speed automatic transmission is employed to feed both cars’ all-wheel drive systems. Standard features include automatic wipers, the COMAND interface, and a power liftgate. Pricing starts at $33,000.
Mini Cooper Paceman S All4
A bigger Mini is something of an oxymoron, but in this case it actually works. The MINI Cooper Paceman, like so many upscale hatchbacks these days, is being billed as a crossover, but it’s really a bigger Mini hatchback—period. For all-wheel drive, you’ll have to get either Paceman S ALL4, or John Cooper Works Paceman. Paceman S uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 181 horsepower and 177 ft-lbs of torque. The Cooper Works uses the same engine, but configured to produce 208 horsepower and 192 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is offered as an option for both models. Pricing starts at $28,600 for Paceman S ALL4, and $35,600 for the Cooper Works version.
Subaru Impreza Hatchback
A refreshed Subaru Impreza hatchback is on offer for the 2015 model year. The place to go for relatively inexpensive all-wheel drive solutions, Subaru made its bones in the latter part of the 20th Century by making all of its models all-wheel drive, and the Impreza is Subaru’s bread and butter model. Power comes from a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with 145 ft-lbs of torque. A continuously variable transmission is offered as standard equipment for the Premium and Limited Impreza modles, while the base 2.0i and Sport premium models both run a five-speed manual as standard equipment. Cruise control and a touchscreen infotainment system number among the standard features Subaru is offering with Impreza. Pricing starts at $18,195.
Subaru XV Crosstrek
A hatchback with elevated ride-height and off-road capability does not a SUV make—sorry Subaru. Besides, when considered as a hatchback with offroad capability, XV Crosstrek’s case comes across a whole lot stronger. Embrace it y’all. Plus, there’s a hybrid version of the hatchback. Subaru’s 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter horizontally opposed four with 145 ft-lbs of torque is the internal combustion engine for both models. The hybrid adds a 13-horsepower electric motor with 48 ft-lbs of torque, for a total system output of 160 horsepower. Both powertrains use a continuously variable transmission, although the gas-only Crosstrek also offers a five-speed manual transmission. Standard equipment includes heated mirrors, windshield wiper de-icing, full power accessories, cruise control, heated front seats, and Bluetooth. Pricing starts at $24,495.
Photo Credit: Toyota Media
Here’s another case where we say tah-MAY-toh, while others say tah-MAH-toh. Venza isn’t a crossover SUV by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it a traditional wagon. This only leaves—hatchback. A big hatchback—no doubt—but don’t let the size fool you OK? To get all-wheel drive you’ll have to opt for the pricier XLE and Limited Venza models equipped with V6 engines. This means you’ll get 268 horsepower and 246 ft-lbs from a 3.5-liter V6, teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. XLE features include power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, navigation, and Toyota’s Entune Smartphone applications integration. Venza Limited brings xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof, and front and rear parking sensor arrays. Venza all-wheel drive pricing starts at $36,730.
Volkswagen Golf R
Every now and then Volkswagen takes pity on us poor Americans, slices off a bit of its unobtanium, and ships it across the Atlantic for our ravenous consumption. Coming soon is this latest bit of largesse from the denizens of Wolfsburg; the 2015 Volkswagen Golf R. A 292-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 280 ft-lbs of torque feeds all four wheels through a choice of a six-speed manual, or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. What’s more, there’s word we’ll also get the adaptive suspension system, with its three ride settings—allowing one to choose between normal, comfort, and sport modes. Standard comfort and convenience features will include xenon headlights, sport seats, leather upholstery, plus keyless entry and ignition. Pricing has yet to be announced.
When it comes to all-wheel drive hatchbacks, the marketplace is considerably broader than it looks at first glance. With a number of manufacturers trying to elevate their products above the preconceived perceptions of what a hatchback is supposed to be, sometimes it’s hard to see just exactly which models really are hatchbacks these days. As you have seen, there’s a lot of bandwidth within the term. Whether you’re looking for economical transportation, a lot of fun, a highly luxurious experience, or just plain old utility and sure-footedness, somewhere within this list of the 2015 all-wheel drive hatchbacks your perfect car awaits. We truly are in a golden age of automobiles, within which there really is something solid for everyone—whatever their proclivities.