What is a Hatchback Car?

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What is a Hatchback Car?

Last updated on: March 5, 2024

If you’re looking to buy a car you’ve probably come across the term “hatchback” quite a few times which is often confused with other types of cars.

So what exactly is a hatchback car?

And how does it differ from other types of cars?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a Hatchback Vehicle?

A hatchback is a type of car that has a rear door that swings upwards to open. This door is called a ‘hatch’, and it leads to the car’s boot space, which is part of the main car’s interior rather than being a separate compartment. This means you can fold down the rear seats to create more room for carrying bigger items than you might expect.

Hatchbacks are usually smaller and more compact than other types of cars, making them perfect for driving and parking in busy cities.

They’re a popular choice for people who need a practical car that’s easy to handle.

Aren’t SUVs Basically Hatchbacks?

While it might seem like SUVs are just larger hatchbacks due to their rear door that opens upwards, there’s a bit more to it.

Technically, many types of cars, including estates and SUVs, come with what you could call a hatchback boot lid. However, we wouldn’t usually refer to these vehicles as hatchbacks.

An estate car, for example, has a similar opening mechanism but is classified differently due to its extended rear for more boot space.

Similarly, an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) features a hatch-style rear door but stands out due to its higher ground clearance and, generally, a more robust build suitable for off-road capabilities.

In simpler terms, while ‘hatchback’ describes the boot’s design, it’s also used to denote a specific category of compact and efficient cars that differ from the likes of estates and SUVs.

Related: Why are SUVs So Popular?

How do Hatchbacks Compare to Other Vehicle Types?

There are several other car types on the market.

Here’s how hatchbacks compare to some of the most common ones.

Hatchbacks Vs. Sedans

Hatchbacks and sedans are often considered when individuals are deciding on a compact and efficient vehicle. The primary difference lies in the design of the rear of the car. A sedan typically features a separate trunk with a boot lid, offering a distinct compartment for luggage, separate from the passenger seats. This results in a more traditional three-box design – with distinct compartments for the engine, passengers, and cargo.

On the other hand, hatchbacks offer a two-box design with the cargo area integrated into the same space as the passenger compartment, accessible via the hatch door. This design allows for greater flexibility in cargo space, as the rear seats can usually be folded down to accommodate larger items. Sedans, however, are often perceived as more stylish and formal, which might appeal to those who prioritise aesthetics and a classic car profile over the practicality and versatility of a hatchback.

Hatchbacks Vs. SUVs

As mentioned earlier, while there may be a few similarities in terms of the rear door design, hatchbacks and SUVs are entirely different categories of cars.

SUVs are larger, more rugged and have off-road capabilities, making them ideal for families or individuals who need a car that can handle various terrains and weather conditions. They also tend to have a higher driving position, providing better visibility on the road.

On the other hand, hatchbacks focus on practicality and efficiency in smaller, more compact bodies. They are perfect for city driving and parking due to their size and nimble handling.

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Hatchback Vs. Crossovers

Now we have crossovers, a hybrid between a hatchback and an SUV. While they share some similarities with hatchbacks in terms of size and fuel efficiency, crossovers often offer additional features such as increased ground clearance and more spacious interiors similar to SUVs.

However, these added features usually come at a higher price point, making hatchbacks a more budget-friendly option for drivers looking for a balance between practicality and cost.

Hatchback Vs. Estate Cars

Estate cars, also known as station wagons, are a popular choice for families and individuals with larger storage needs. When comparing with hatchbacks, a key difference to note is the size and shape of the vehicle, particularly concerning the storage space.

Estate cars are longer, featuring an extended rear end which not only increases the overall boot space but also provides a squarer and more practical shape for storage. This design is especially beneficial for the storage of taller items, making estate cars a popular choice among those who require additional cargo capacity without moving up to a larger class of vehicle.

However, due to their larger size, estate cars may be more challenging to manoeuvre and park in tight spaces compared to hatchbacks.

Why Choose a Hatchback?

Now that we’ve covered how hatchbacks compare to other types of vehicles let’s dive into some reasons why they might be the perfect choice for you.

Great Option for Daily Commutes

Hatchbacks make an excellent choice for your daily trips to work or school and here’s why. They are small, so you can easily find parking spots and move through busy streets with no fuss.

Also, they use less petrol, which means you can save money on fuel.

The inside space is surprisingly big, allowing you to fit all your daily needs, like bags and shopping.

Choosing a hatchback could make your everyday travel smoother and more budget-friendly.

Practical and Versatile

Hatchbacks are really handy cars because they can do a lot of different things well.

You can use them for your everyday journeys, like going to work or the shops, and they won’t have trouble finding a place to park because they are not too big.

Plus, if you suddenly need to carry a big item or lots of shopping, you can fold down the seats at the back and make lots of space. This makes hatchbacks a smart choice for anyone who needs a car that can handle both the usual daily tasks and the unexpected ones without any hassle.

Unique Style and Personality

Hatchbacks have a special kind of look and feel that makes them stand out on the road.

They’re often chosen by people who want a car that looks cool and different, without being too big or too fancy. These cars come in all sorts of colours and designs, so you can find one that matches your taste perfectly.

Whether you like something playful and fun, or sleek and stylish, there’s a hatchback out there that can show off your unique style to the world.

Fuel Efficient Compared to SUV or Crossover

One of the biggest advantages of choosing a hatchback over an SUV or Crossover is its fuel efficiency.

Hatchbacks are generally lighter and have a more compact design, which means they need less power to move around.

This leads to them using less petrol, particularly in city driving where stopping and starting is more frequent. However, it’s important to note that old models of hatchbacks may not be as fuel-efficient as new ones, so it’s always worth doing some research and comparing different options before making a purchase.

Also Read: What is a Crossover Car?

Space, Space and Space

Despite their compact size, hatchbacks are surprisingly spacious. This means that inside the car, there’s plenty of room for passengers to sit comfortably, even during longer journeys.

The back seats can usually be folded down, providing even more space for things like shopping bags, sports equipment, or anything else you might need to carry.

This flexibility makes hatchbacks an incredibly practical choice for anyone who needs a small car that doesn’t compromise on space. Whether you’re doing the school run, heading out for a weekend adventure, or picking up groceries, a hatchback can handle it all, making your life easier and more convenient.

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Considerations When Buying a Hatchback

Before you make your final decision on whether a hatchback is the right car for you, here are some factors to consider:


When thinking about buying a hatchback, it’s really important to consider how much money you can spend.

Hatchbacks are usually less expensive than SUVs, but prices can still vary a lot.

It’s a good idea to figure out how much you can afford to pay each month if you’re looking at getting a loan. Also, don’t forget to think about other costs like fuel, insurance, and regular check-ups to keep the car running smoothly.

By planning your budget carefully, you can find a hatchback that’s great for you without spending too much money.

Lifestyle and Personal Preferences

When picking the right hatchback for you, it’s smart to think about your day-to-day life and what you like. If you spend lots of time driving in the city, you might want a small, zippy car that’s easy to park.

If you often go on trips or have a big family, look for one with lots of room inside. It’s also fun to pick a car that matches your style – maybe you like bright colours or fancy features inside.

Remember, the best car for you is one that fits your life and makes you happy every time you drive it.

Resale Value

Eventually, you might decide to sell your hatchback, so it’s wise to consider its potential resale value. Certain brands and models hold their value better than others, depending on their reliability, popularity, and how well they are maintained. 

For example, Toyota and Honda models tend to have higher resale value compared to other brands.

Doing a bit of research into resale values can help you choose a hatchback that won’t depreciate too quickly, protecting your investment over time.

Fuel Efficiency

As we’ve mentioned before, hatchbacks are known for their fuel efficiency but when we say this, we’re comparing them to larger vehicles like SUVs and Crossovers. If you’re looking for the most fuel-efficient hatchback, some models are better than others.

For example, hybrid or electric hatchbacks will usually have much better mileage compared to traditional petrol or diesel ones. But they might also be more expensive upfront.

Deciding what’s more important to you – fuel efficiency or upfront cost – can help narrow down your options and find the perfect hatchback for your needs.

Should I Consider Buying a Hatchback?

Now that you know all about hatchbacks and what to consider before buying one, it’s time to make your decision.

If you’re looking for a practical and versatile car that’s easy on the budget, has unique style and personality, and offers plenty of space despite its compact size, then yes – a hatchback is definitely worth considering.

However, if you have a large family or need to tow heavy loads regularly, then an SUV or Crossover might be a better fit for your needs.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a car that meets your specific requirements and makes you happy every time you get behind the wheel.

We hope this guide has helped you understand hatchbacks better and will make the car buying process a little bit easier for you.

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