Hatchbacks were once a very simple type of car. They served a purpose, as an arguably more functional version of a sedan or a coupe, even if their looks could best be described as the ugly ducklings of the small and midsize segments. Not so anymore. When we looked for some of the largest new hatchbacks on the market, we found that automakers have really pushed the styling boundaries that define a hatchback in recent years, and while some are better looking than others, they’re far from the awkward-looking hatches of even just a decade ago. Let’s take a look at 10 large hatchbacks with distinctive styling, representing some of Autobytel editors’ favorite options this year.
10 Large Hatchback Cars for 2016
Photo Credit: Audi
2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
Though the Audi A3 lineup now consists mainly of a small sedan and convertible (the Sportback hatch was discontinued after the 2013 model year), it owes its reputation to the Sportback. All new for the 2016 model year, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron stuffs the hatch with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that enables the car to travel on electric power alone, for up to 16 miles; the gas engine, which gets fuel economy of 35 mpg; or combined gas and electric power, which yields fuel economy of 83 mpg-equivalent. Even better, the drivetrain makes 204 horsepower. There’s seating for five passengers, and luxurious and comfortable accommodations are a given, with plenty of standard features included.
Photo Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
2016 FIAT 500L
FIAT markets the 500L as an “urban utility vehicle,” which… well, we’re not sure what that means. It’s a small SUV, sure. Or maybe a wagon. To us, it looks like a larger version of the standard 500 hatch, complete with liftgate. And this large hatch is one of our favorites for this year. The FIAT 500L provides quite a bit more passenger and cargo space than its smaller counterpart for just a few thousand bucks more. The brand’s signature look translates well to the larger vehicle, which takes advantage of the 500’s bright and peppy styling and bold color palette. The 500L comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 160 horsepower.
Photo Credit: Hyundai
2016 Hyundai Elantra GT
The 2016 Hyundai Elantra is offered as a sedan and as a hatchback (the GT). Truth be told, the two cars don’t have much in common, which is why the sedan has been redesigned for 2017 and the hatch was redesigned within the last couple years. For our purposes, we’re concentrating on the Elantra GT, anyway, since it suits our quest for large hatchbacks. The 2016 Elantra GT seats five, and offers the advantage of more space in the back than the sedan, as well as more cargo space. And, though the Elantra and GT share an engine, the GT’s is tuned to provide 173 horsepower to the sedan’s 147, the better to move around this large hatch.
Photo Credit: Kia
2016 Kia Soul
Kia’s fun hatchback-style crossover is hard to miss, considering it comes in a palette of colors that rivals the FIAT 500L. The 2016 Soul is a box on wheels, but it works every corner to its advantage to maximize interior space. Five passengers can fit comfortably inside the Soul, and it’s a great choice for people who regularly need to carry a lot of cargo. When the second row of seating is folded out of the way, cargo capacity expands to 61.3 cubic feet, a measurement approaching those of larger SUVs, such as the Mazda CX-5. With its well-rounded functionality and sunny personality, the Kia Soul continues on as one of our favorite large hatchbacks.
Photo Credit: Lexus
2016 Lexus CT 200h
Not only is the 2016 Lexus CT 200h a large hatchback (exactly what we’re looking for), it’s also a hybrid. Though it’s classified as a small car, the wagonlike profile makes it appear a little larger than it is, and to be fair, the Lexus CT 200h provides more cargo space than many other small cars at its price point. For shoppers who want a nice, comfy hybrid car with the easy loading and unloading capabilities of a hatchback, the Lexus 200h might be one of the best such offerings. The Lexus 200h’s gasoline-electric drivetrain isn’t going to win any speed awards, but fuel mileage comes in at a thrifty 43 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
2016 Mercedes-Benz B250e
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz B250e (previously known as the B-Class Electric Drive) is a hatchback that offers the efficiency of a fully electric car. The B250e’s drivetrain is sourced from Tesla, although it’s worth noting the B250e has a lower range and is less efficient than other small electric cars. That might be because the B250e inspires its drivers to push the accelerator a bit more than other mainstream EVs. In any case, this large hatchback outshines many of them in one specific case: it’s more expensive than competitors like the Volkswagen e-Golf and less efficient, but when it comes to making the most of its available space, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz B250e wins the prize.
Photo Credit: MINI
2016 MINI Cooper Countryman
Rolled out in 2011, the MINI Cooper Countryman takes the compact MINI Cooper’s proportions and enlarges them to something approaching a crossover suv. That’s what MINI calls it, and it’s too fine a point to argue. For all intents and purposes, it’s a large hatchback with many of its features carried over straight from its older yet smaller sibling. It’s all familiar: the exterior colors, the attention-getting alloy wheel designs, the numerous available trims and accent pieces. The seats in the MINI Countryman are comfortable in both rows, and offer plenty of legroom. When it comes to cargo space, well, it’s a little small for a compact SUV. But for a large hatchback, it’s actually pretty good.
Photo Credit: Nissan USA
2016 Nissan Juke
The 2016 Nissan Juke is another subcompact SUV with a hatchback-like profile and a hatchback-style liftgate. Its cargo space is small compared to other subcompact SUVs, but plenty of space has been allotted to the seating area, which can carry five passengers in budget-oriented comfort. The base Juke boasts good handling, which makes it amusing to drive, and also has good fuel economy. And among the large hatchbacks discussed here (as well as the others out there), the Juke NISMO RS is probably the most fun to drive, thanks to a tuned version of the Juke’s engine that bumps horsepower to 215 and brings with it upgraded suspension, sharper steering, and an exclusive styling package.
Photo Credit: Porsche
2016 Porsche Panamera
The Porsche Panamera, a large luxury sedan with fastback styling, earns a spot on our list thanks to its hatchback-style rear liftgate (which comes standard with power open and close). The 2016 Panamera is one of the largest vehicles on our list, and is easily the fastest. While the Panamera’s cargo space isn’t really competitive for its class, it can be opened up quite a bit with the rear seats folded down. Interior space is good, and the Executive extended wheelbase model is available for anyone who will pay a premium for more legroom. Five engines, plus a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, are available with this large hatchback; at the very least, there’s 310 horsepower on tap.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2016 Toyota Prius v
The Prius v is the wagon version of Toyota’s lauded hybrid car, and it’s one of our favorite large hatchbacks for 2016. Both rows of seating are comfortable and generously proportioned, so even adults will be comfortable in the back. Lift the tailgate to access the hatch, which is surprisingly roomy, even for a wagon. When the back seats are folded to really open up the space, the Prius v can swallow as much gear as many crossovers. The extra weight of the hatch makes the Prius v a little less efficient than a regular Prius, yielding fuel economy of up to 44 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, but that’s still good, and better than most wagons.