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Hatchback cars are ideal for folks who appreciate the versatility of a small crossover, but not their faux-SUV looks or compromised fuel economy. After all, hatchback cars and crossovers—and SUVs, too, for that matter—share the same basic approach to interior design: There's a dedicated rear cargo hold behind the vehicle’s rear seats, providing much more standard space than the trunk of even a large sedan, allowing you to fold those back seats, often independently of each other, to further expand available cargo room. Then there's the hatch itself - nearly the whole back of the vehicle, rear glass and all, can be lifted up. This enables easy access to all that available cargo space, plus makes it simpler to fit in larger, bulkier items, from flat screen TVs to camping gear. Many automakers also raise the convenience bar with their hatchbacks, by offering the ability to "pop" the hatch from a key fob or a lever inside the vehicle, too.

Unlike their truck-based counterparts, hatchbacks also have car-like driving dynamics that those other vehicles can't match—not even the crossovers. It's just a matter of physics: Since crossovers and SUVs sit higher than cars of the same length, they can't hug the road the same way cars can, and they're also heavier. Particularly noticeable is the way those factors affect fuel efficiency; engineers can do much nowadays to smooth out a vehicle's ride, but it usually requires adding more efficiency-robbing weight. Indeed, many of the latest small hatchbacks can achieve EPA ratings of 40 mpg or higher, while the most efficient crossovers top out at 35 mpg. Finally, many customers may find hatchback cars deliver more expressive style cues, as designers aren’t limited to the boxy exterior shapes typically used for crossovers and SUVs.