over here hatchbacks seem to have pushed sedans out of the market almost completely... exept for the upper segments but even there wagons and hatches are very popular... on the lower and mid segment sedans are only bought by older people for some cars the sedan version isn't even available here.
hatchbacks are usually a little shorter or at least more practical to park and the cargo space us usually more practical as well (though for some resons the hatches are getting less wide to make room for bigger taillights). as for minivans... they're usually refered to as MPV and mini MPV for "multi purpous vehicle" both are styled to look and drive more like cars than vans... most mini mpv's are based on the chasis of a mid segment car... and some actually look like an inflated version of their siblings. sometimes hard to tell appart on first glance.... they're popular because they drive like a normal car, are hardly any bigger on the outside but vast on the inside. plus they're in the same price range. most hatches are starting to lean more to an younger more spoty oriented audience than people looking for a practical faminly car.
finally as for americans not likeing hatches ....that might change... the opel astra H wich is imported under the saturn badge seems to be a big success as production recently had to be increased to meet the demand.
Main reasons I don't like them is they are ugly and noisy. Ugly needs no explanation.
Noise comes from the rear wheels being inside the passenger compartment, same problem SUV and minivans have, but being as they are smaller cars and the glass tends to be angled just so, that noise gets projected forward. With a sedan most, if not all, of the rear wheelwell is in the trunk, and noise is muffled by the rear seats blocking the area off completely. I've had 3 SUVs, 3 minivans and 2 hatchbacks, every single one of them had road noise problems. None of the sedans or pickup trucks I've had has had a problem with road noise, or at least not to the extent that the hatchback style vehicles have had.
Then there is the safety issue of having any cargo right there in the passenger compartment, ready to fly forward in an accident. If the cargo is in the trunk, it isn't flying through the windshield in an accident. If the cargo in the sedan's trunk IS flying through the windshield, you are probably dead so it won't matter. Having that sack of small jars fly forward might be enough to change a moderate accident into a deadly one.
Once I unload my minivan, I won't have another one (well, I can't say that, might need something to haul grandkids in (hopefully not before) another 10 years). I have considered getting another SUV for a toy, I have been thinking that a 2nd gen S10 Blazer would make a very nice 2 seater Avalance-style minitruck. Here's a Photoshop of what it would look like. Nobody else I've shown it to has liked it, but I think it would look great AND would allow me to have a great handling rig with a small bed and a small amount of cabin storage, plus cutting the roof and losing the super heavy glass would give a huge weight savings. Not to mention it would no longer be an SUV . Picture it lowered with a turbodiesel, and the rear area would be converted to a sealed cabin along the bodyline with a small pickup bed made out of the rear. 2 seater.
...US consumers came to equate hatchbacks with econoboxes, with the result that there's a lingering "practical car" = "cheap car" sentiment ...
Metro, I agree with you and Bill. This is probably why.
Originally Posted by Mentalic
...my wife disliked them. Her thinking was that all your shopping stuff was in plain site and someone would want to break in...
Not really. The Golf can store about half of its trunk content under the included rear cover that hides thet contets of its trunk. Of course if you want to competely fill the trunk cargo area, half your contents would then be in view (your rearview mirror would also have limited view). Many SUVs are the same way. You can usually fill half your cargo area and no one would know whether its full or empty (unless your rear shocks were sagging).
Personally I hated hatchbacks (guess I never liked the look) until a friend bought the Golf. It would hold LOADS of cargo and surprisingly even give my 4Runner a run for its money. It was SOOO practical that I now would not mind a hatchback. Unfortunately, I dont think that the rest of America has changed their views. America is a spoiled country that has too much spending power for its own good. The price of gas continues to rise and the unpractical SUV market is flourishing. There is too much purchasing power for people to act practical. I have no issues with SUVS, but there are too many soccer moms and individuals with VERY LARGE SUVS (were talking Expeditions and 8 seaters) that get below 15mpg for individuals that are single and families with just two kids that never utilize the space and the capabilities of these capable vehicles. Yes they can trudge through two feet of water and pull bnoats the size of houses, buit it seems that people who buy these rarely need such functions. Such individuals who love these status symbols would never buy something as practical and efficient as a hatchback. Itsthe way of thinking that has to change in America. Each year our 'economy' car gets bigger and bigger and bigger. The same model Corolla that sells overseas in 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6 L engines START in the USA wityh 1.8 L engines with much reduced fuel economies. It would take $5+/gal gas to REALLY change the attitude that Americans have in the car market. Its sometimes unfortunate. My two cents.
No offense intended, but I think telco pretty much states why Americans in general don't like hatchbacks "because they are ugly". Rather than saying there are ones that are ugly and ones that aren't, just like you could say of any sedan, there is this generalization that 'they're all ugly'.
It's kind of funny that on the other side of the ocean, sedans are considered old fashioned and just for people 65 and over (also a generalization) . the hatchbacks are considered sporty and fitting a young lifestyle of people that also want to put their and their friends snowboards in the back for example. Stationwagon versions are considered a status symbol even and most people would for instance rather drive a VW Passat Stationwagon than a boring sedan.
Now as it comes to FE it is a pitty that there aren't any more hatchbacks overhere because they are usually the somewhat lighter and more conomical versions.
As far as road noise goes: I own a hatchback, a stationwagon and a sedan right now and I can't say I hear more road noise in the hatchback or stationwagon than in the sedan...
May be. My last hatchback was an 89 Camaro. Loved the car, hated the trunk (not a typical hatchback trunk though, more of a cargo well) and had plenty of road noise unless I had some sort of filler in the cargo area. The other one was an 81 Ford Escort, which was when I was in Germany, was a local car with a tiny engine. It was geared so high that the 1.3 (I think?) engine was eventually able to push it to 180KMPH (luv that Autobahn!), but if I hit any sort of incline speed immediately dropped off to about 100KMPH. Still very noisy.
And remember, it may not be one person's view, but the view of the general populace, that determines what people drive. Me, I love 2 seater sports cars, preferably hard top convertibles (think Lexus SC-430 or Mercedes CLK-350) for a driver, but these are too impractical with a family.
My hatchback can be considered a True SUV (Integra)
S = Sport: Handles great, acceleration is pretty good (when I need it - rare)
U = Utility: You can haul some good sized loads in the hatch -- 400-lb of paver bricks from my experience.
V = Vehicle: Um, yup.
There you have it. 35 mpg, looks good, it's "sporty", and it's quiet/comfortable.
I think the "term" hatchback has a bad conotation unless people think about it.
I've really grown to love the convenience of this design.
In Europe, "Hot Hatches" are an actual vehicle category of high-performance hatches.