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Why get a hatchback?

If you’re looking for a car that’s practical, economical and comes in a wide range, then a hatchback could be for you. They’re Britain’s most popular car for a reason and they come in a huge range of styles and designs. But what exactly is a hatchback and why should you get one?

What does hatchback mean?

Although the term hatchback is often used to refer to a specific type of car, it has a much broader definition. Technically speaking, a ‘hatchback’ refers to a vehicle with a door across the full width of its back end that opens upwards; this provides the user with easy access to the boot for loading and unloading. 

In fact, a range of different vehicles feature hatchback boots, including SUVs, estates, and crossovers. 

What is the difference between a hatchback, SUV, estate and crossover?

Does this mean all vehicles with ‘hatchback boots’ are hatchback cars? No. Different features separate hatchbacks from other types of vehicles.

Although many SUVs, estates and crossovers feature the ‘hatchback’ boot lid, they are not what would usually be considered as a hatchback car. This is because when we talk about hatchbacks and their sporty equivalent the ‘hot hatch’, we are referring to the size, shape, style and purpose of the vehicle, not just their boot.

A hatchback car is traditionally identified as a vehicle that is low to the ground, compact, manoeuvrable, cheap to run and, of course, features a hatchback boot. This contrasts with SUVs, which are large, can be more expensive to run and are primarily built for more rural driving. There is a clear difference between the two.

What makes hatchbacks so popular?

Hatchbacks are one of the most popular vehicles on the market, for good reason: 

Fuel efficiency 

Hatchbacks tend to be smaller than your average saloon, estate or SUV. They compromise on their non-adjustable boot space to allow for a comfortable level of room for passengers, resulting in a smaller, incredibly efficient car. 

Although fuel efficiency varies upon the make and model, as a whole, hatchbacks are one of the most fuel efficient cars you’ll find. In a comparison piece by TrueCar that compares the most fuel efficient vehicles of 2021, 7 out of the top 20 were non-electric hatchbacks. And for those looking to get ahead of the UK Government's electric vehicle law changes, the savings don’t stop at miles per gallon. More and more hatchbacks are being produced as hybrid and all electric vehicles.


Alongside their efficiency, hatchbacks tend to be extremely practical urban cars. The majority are made to be very dependable and are fitted with up-to-date safety features. Their low centre of gravity makes them easy to drive, particularly for new drivers looking for a first car.  This manoeuvrability makes them especially excellent at navigating small city roads and parking where space is at a premium. 


A hatchback also comes with a high amount of versatility. Their compact, often two-wheel drive, design doesn’t lend itself to an off-road adventure. However, that aside, hatchbacks can fit in nearly every other driving environment. 

Hatchbacks are the ultimate middle-of-the-road car, scoring well in every category. This versatility makes hatchbacks great family cars, with adjustable boot space and range to choose from.

It should also be noted that you can find some hatchbacks as all-wheel drive versions. They still are not suitable for going cross country but can help when the roads are a bit more rural. 

Huge range to choose from

The popularity of the hatchback has meant that nearly all major car brands have a hatchback model to choose from. You’ll be able to find these in a range of shapes, styles and specificities. 

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What are the different types of hatchbacks?

Hatchbacks are most often categorised by door type; three door or five doors. 

What is a three-door hatchback?

A three-door hatchback features two front doors on each side and a hatchback boot being the third door. These are smaller vehicles and are often called ‘superminis’ or ‘city cars’. Three-door hatchbacks will usually have rear seats, which can be accessed by folding the two front seats forward. 

What is a five-door hatchback?

Unlike the three-door, a five-door hatchback has two doors on each side and a hatchback boot. These are slightly larger than their three-door counterparts, with the two extra doors making it easier to access the rear seats. This easy access to the rear seats makes them an excellent family car choice. 

What is a hot hatch?

The phrase ‘hot hatch’ started as a nickname to describe a specific group of cars within the hatchback family. Like standard hatchbacks, you will find hot hatches that are front-wheel drive with an engine mounted in the front. However, many hot hatches now come as all-wheel drive to enhance the driving performance.  A hot hatch is regarded as the high-end version of the production hatchback. While they may not differ too much in appearance, under the bonnet they often have a substantial amount more power, handling ability and acceleration than their base counterpart.

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What to look for in a hatchback

Before buying a hatchback, it is important to consider what you want and need from it:

How much space do you need from a hatchback? 

Look at the availability of the boot space. If you have a family, or enjoy weekend getaways, then look for a five-door model with a larger amount of passenger room. If you only use the car for short journeys and don’t often have a lot of passengers, a three-door version may be more suitable for you. Remember, if you are concerned about boot space, the rear seats can be folded down to maximise the storage potential. 

Are you looking for a performance hatchback or an all-rounder?

Take into account the manoeuvrability and handling of the car. If you want a high-end and sporty performance, look at a hot hatch. However, this is not for everyone. You may not need all the bells and whistles, or you may live somewhere a bit more rural that needs an all-wheel drive. There are hatchbacks that cover a wide range of performance needs, so make sure you find the right one to suit you. 

The cost of running a hatchback

Hatchbacks come in a variety of different models, including petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric. It is important to look at the servicing costs and budget you have for fuel as while there are pros and cons to electric cars and they might have a higher initial outlay, they can save you money on maintenance costs and fuel over time. 

Discover an amazing range of hatchbacks, SUVs, crossovers and more, all on car finance 

Find the right car and finance deal for you. Finance your vehicle through Stellantis Financial Services to get access to the extensive range of cars offered through our brands. If you’re unsure about which plan is right for you, try our interactive finance product tool. It can help you make the right car finance decision.