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The Ultimate Guide to Today's Top Hatchbacks

Written By, NowCar Team

Hatchbacks are unique cars, whimsically designed and fun to drive. 

If you want to buy a car online, take a look at the current line of today’s popular hatchbacks, the latest models in an impressive international automotive history.

A Brief History of the Hatchback

Beginning in Europe, thanks to the production of the 1930s Citroen in France, hatchback development continued and created some of the iconic automobiles of the 1960s, like the Volkswagen Passat. The hatchback craze quickly jumped across the pond and pretty soon American automakers began cranking out their own versions.  

Leading the way, per usual, the "Big Three," Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, flooded the market with hatchbacks through the 1970s and 1980s. 

Starting with Chrysler's Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon, later replaced by the Dodge Shadow and Lancer in the 1980s, Ford competed with its Pinto and Bobcat, followed by GM's entry, the Chevy Vega.

This Year's Popular Hatchbacks

An appreciation of the past is one thing, but there are so many current models vying for your attention. Here are some of the most popular hatchbacks on the market today from domestic and international automakers, competitively priced and noted for their fuel efficiency.

2015 Chevy Spark and Sonic

2015 Chevy Spark - Hatchback

The smallest in the Chevy family, the spunky Chevy Spark is a four-door hatchback that actually seats four passengers comfortably. Surprisingly spacious, the Spark earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top rating of "Good."

For the 2015 model year, the Spark features Chevy's new and improved OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi system, able to connect up to seven mobile devices.

Equipped with a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine, the Spark produces 84 horsepower with 83 lb.-ft. of torque. Operated by a five-speed manual transmission, the front-wheel drive Spark gets and EPA-estimated 34 miles per gallon combined.

The Chevy Sonic is one of the most popular hatchbacks on the road today, positively reviewed for its top safety ratings and comfortable ride. This is a quick car for the hatchback segment, able to zip from zero to sixty miles per hour in 8.8 seconds.

Able to seat five passengers, the Sonic comes in four trim levels with two engine options. Standard power comes from the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine backed by 138 horses and 125 lb.-ft. of torque. Or, the turbocharged version, which is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder, generating the same horsepower, but with a punchier feel thanks to its increased 148 lb.-ft. of torque. 

Both of these cars are fun to drive and come in very cool packages in a wild range of colors. The Spark is the more economical option, priced at $12,270, while the Sonic is based at $14,245.

2015 Ford Fiesta

2015 Ford Fiesta

This hatchback was given an "A" by Edmunds, which is impressive given the sheer number of competitors in this class. 

Sharing the same S, SE, and Titanium trim levels as its sibling sedan, the 2015 Ford Fiesta hatchback offers a little something extra with its high-performance ST option.

Even better is the ST Recaro package which equips the Fiesta hatchback with Recaro front sport seats, leather and cloth interior, and heated exterior mirrors. For extra zip, opt for the Recaro's 17-inch wheels, painted gray and accented with red brake calipers.

Power comes standard from the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, able to get 120 horsepower with 112 lb.-ft. of torque. Operated by a standard five-speed manual transmission, the Fiesta also comes available with a six-speed "Powershift" automatic transmission.

Reviewers have consistently been impressed by the Fiesta hatchback's expensive feel, but inexpensive price, starting at $14,855.

2015 Hyundai Accent

2015 Hyundai Accent

For a sporty looking hatchback, the restyled Hyundai Accent features a new grille, complemented by redesigned headlights and taillights.

What used to be the SE hatchback has been rebranded the Sport, and with good reason. Flaunting a rear spoiler, leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, with optional sunroof, the Sport also offers impressive cargo space, well above the expectation for the class. With the back seats up, the cargo measures 21.2 cubic feet, but extends to 47.5 cubic feet once the seats are folded down.

Outfitted with a 1.6-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine, the Accent Sport generates 137 horsepower with 123 lb.-ft. of torque. Though not quite as quick as the Chevy Sonic, the Sport still returns speedy zero-to-sixty test times at 9.3 seconds.

Competitively priced at $14,995, the Accent Sport hatchback is fun to drive with ideal cargo space for running errands or escaping for a weekend getaway.

2015 Kia Rio5 and Soul

2015 Kia Rio5

Proof that looks can be deceiving, the 2015 Kia Rio5 feels like a much bigger car than it actually and the Rio offers lots of optional equipment like heated seats, navigation, leather interior, and infotainment features. 

This hatchback, known as the Rio five-door comes in three trims: the LX, EX, and SX, but all Rios are equipped with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 138 horsepower with 123 lb.-ft. of torque, and is priced at $13,990.

Speaking of looks, the Kia Soul has that space-age quality, making some wonder exactly what segment it comes from. Well, it's a four-door hatchback, able to seat five. Even the Soul's trim levels are uniquely expressed as the base, +, and ! (which represent "Plus" and "Exclaim," respectively). 

Critics compliment the Soul's refined and surprisingly spacious interior, particularly with respect to the headroom and legroom in both the front and rear cabins.

Also, the cargo room rivals that of smaller SUVs with 19 cubic feet of room, which widens to 61 cubic feet after the 60/40-split rear seats fold down. An impressive statistic, given the Soul's $15,190 price, nowhere near any SUV stickers. 

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the most fuel efficient hatchbacks available, with an EPA-estimated combined rating of 40 miles per gallon. A safe four-door car, able to seat five passengers, the Mirage earned high safety ratings from both the IISH and government crash tests.

Available in DE or ES trims, the Mirage comes standard with a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, with horsepower rated at 74  with74 lb.-ft. of torque.

Operated by either a five-speed manual transmission or continuously-variable transmission, the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage starts at $12,995, one of the most economical hatchbacks in this segment, especially considering its fuel economy. 

2015 Nissan Versa Note

2015 Nissan Versa Note

When it comes to versatile affordability, starting at $14,180,  the 2015 Nissan Versa Note is worth a look. This five-passenger hatchback has five trim levels: the S, S Plus. SV, SR, and SL, which means you have plenty of standard and available options to consider.

Operated by a five-speed manual or CVT, depending on the trim, the Versa Note hatchback has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, backed by 109 horsepower and 107 lb.-ft. of torque.

EPA-estimates keep the Note competitive in its class, with a rating of 30 mpg combined from the manual transmission, and 35 mpg from the CVT. 

2015 Smart Fortwo

2015 Smart Fortwo

And now for something completely different, the 2015 Smart Fortwo is a two-door hatchback of pint-sized proportions. Despite its small size, the Fortwo's body design provides significant headroom and legroom.

Measuring less than nine feet in length, the Fortwo is just that, a two-passenger commuter car, perfect for parking in tight city spaces. With its tight turning circle, the Fortwo maneuvers in and out of congested city traffic easily.

Even cooler is the all-electric Smart Fortwo, built with a 55kW electric motor, complemented by a 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery. Both the traditional and electric Smart Fortwo hatchbacks are priced in the $14,000-range.


Each one of these popular hatchbacks prove that bigger is no longer better. Before you buy a car online, consider one of these tiny treasures for tons of driving fun.