A regular fixture in the country’s best-selling-cars lists for decades, a hatchback is, technically, any car with a boot that hinges at the top of the rear window.
However, the term is mostly applied to small and mid-size cars such as the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. Other types of car could be considered hatchbacks under the above technical description, but we’ll get to those later.
Hatchbacks are popular not only because there’s a wide choice of models, but because they tend to be affordable and practical for their size. Hinging the boot lid at the top means you get a large opening to load luggage and there’s usually room in the back for adult passengers.
Most hatchbacks today are five-door models (four side doors and the boot lid), although a few three-door models are available with just two side doors. These can be slightly more affordable, but they lose practicality points because they’re not quite as easy to get in or out of. You might see small hatchbacks such as the Ford Fiesta referred to as superminis, or even smaller ones such as the Toyota Aygo referred to as city cars.
Hatchbacks with a sporty feel and (usually) lots of power are known as hot hatches. These cars are designed to give you all the practicality of a regular hatchback but with more fun behind the wheel. Examples include the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Ford Fiesta ST and the Honda Civic Type R.