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Hatchback vs Sedan: Why You Might Want to Consider a Hatchback

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author photo by Doug DeMuro

In the U.S., sedans vastly outsell hatchbacks. That isn't true in most other countries, where shoppers prefer hatches to their more traditional 4-door counterparts. We've looked at the hatchback vs sedan debate and listed several reasons why it might be a good idea to give the hatchback a try.

Hatchback Pros

The biggest reason many shoppers switch from a sedan to a hatchback is practicality. It's true: Hatchbacks are far more practical than sedans. You can fold down the rear seats in nearly all hatchbacks, allowing for significantly more cargo space than in a sedan.

For example, consider one of the most popular hatchbacks, the sporty Mazda3. With its seats down, the Mazda3 hatchback offers nearly 43 cu ft of cargo space -- as much room as some smaller SUVs. With its seats up, the Mazda3 hatch still boasts a whopping 17 cu ft, whereas the Mazda3 sedan has room for only 11.8 cu ft of space in its trunk -- far less than its hatchback counterpart.

Many shoppers also prefer hatchbacks because they're more stylish than typical sedans. It's true most car shoppers still generally dislike station wagons, but hatchbacks offer a sleeker look, boasting a shorter rear end than the "family truckster" look of many wagons. Hatchbacks are also more distinctive than many sedans. That's a big deal to drivers who complain sedans look too similar with their "3-box" appearance.

Beyond styling and spaciousness, several hatchback models offer resale values that sedans can't match. Several top models with compelling predicted resale value include the Subaru Impreza WRX hatchback, the MazdaSpeed3 hatchback, the Toyota Prius c, the MINI Cooper and the MINI Cooper Clubman. Each of those vehicles is predicted to retain more than 58 percent of its value after three years -- an impressive figure compared to the industry average of 35 percent.

Finally, several unique cars are offered only as hatchbacks. The new FIAT 500, for instance, has only two doors and a rear hatch. The same is true of the MINI Cooper Hardtop, the Kia Soul and the Nissan Cube.

So the hatchback offers more room, arguably more style and strong resale value. It also boasts several unique nameplates only sold as hatchbacks. But we admit it still may not be for everyone.

Hatchback Woes

For most drivers, the biggest downside of hatchback ownership is lack of privacy. Most shoppers enjoy the comfort of a locking trunk, and they don't like that hatchbacks offer a window into the cargo area that can be broken by thieves. Modern hatchbacks, however, usually offer a privacy shelf that can hide items just as well as a trunk.

Other drivers also don't like hatchbacks because they aren't as "cool" as sedans. That perception is mainly due to drivers still remembering the infamous AMC Gremlin and Ford Pinto, which may have doomed the hatchback for generations to come.

But for drivers who can get over the image, we think today's models offer a lot of benefits in the age-old hatchback vs sedan debate -- and we think most modern hatchbacks are pretty cool, to boot. At the very least, they're worth a test drive as you consider your next car.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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Hatchback vs Sedan: Why You Might Want to Consider a Hatchback