The Pros and Cons of Driving a Hatchback
Updated on October 03 2023
Admittedly, the hatchback is not as popular in the Philippines as in Europe, Australia, and the rest of the world. I find this strange since hatchbacks have been roaming Philippine roads since the late 1970s with the Mitsubishi Colt (sold in Japan as the Mirage) and Toyota Corolla Liftback. So yes, the liftback is also a hatchback but with a slightly different architecture.
The hatchback made a resurgence in the early 2000s with the Honda Jazz (sadly discontinued in the Philippines and other markets as of last writing) and the Ford Focus Hatchback. But now, most hatchbacks are sub-compact city cars (even smaller than the Jazz) with small engines and a smaller footprint. Some, like the Mazda3 and all-new Honda Civic, are also sold as sedans and hatchbacks.
And since most hatchbacks rely on a similar platform as their sedan counterparts, there are specific pros and cons to consider when choosing a hatchback over a sedan. This article will shed some light on this matter.
Hatchback Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of driving or owning a hatchback.
- Hatchbacks generally offer more cargo space in the back than a sedan, making it an ideal family car.
- If you need to carry more stuff, folding the rear seats in a hatchback reveals a cavernous trunk space comparable to a small crossover or SUV.
- Compared to a conventional trunk, a hatchback’s larger opening enables tall and bulky items to fit easily in the back.
- Hatchbacks are generally more stylish with sloping roof lines and a sportier aura than a sedan.
- Most hatchbacks (if not all) have a windscreen wiper for the rear windshield, helping to improve visibility in all driving scenarios.
- Hatchbacks are typically more fuel-efficient than sedans, given their smoother and more aerodynamic shape.
- New models like the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback are sportier, have better handling, and have stiffer underpinnings to deliver a more exhilarating driving experience than its sedan brethren.
Hatchback Trivia: Did you know sport-performance cars like the Kia Stinger and Mercedes-AMG GT53 are hatchbacks? German automakers have a penchant for naming hatchbacks as ‘four-door coupes’ for whatever reason, but it’s still a hatchback.
- Hatchbacks typically have a cargo cover to shield prying eyes from peeping into your stuff in the back. But if your hatch does not have a cargo cover, all your precious cargo is visible for everyone to see.
- Unlike sedans, hatchbacks do not have a sealed rear trunk. In other words, the hindquarters are part of the interior, which can lead to more road noise and tire roar if the vehicle is not adequately insulated.
What’s the difference between a hatchback and a sedan?
For this, let’s use the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 and Mirage Hatchback as an example. Both vehicles share the same front styling, but the main difference is at the rear.
Sedans have what designers refer to as a three-box body. The first box is the front of the car, the second box is the cabin area, and the third box is the trunk. In a sedan, the third box is a trunk separated from the passenger compartment by the rear seatback.
But in a hatchback, the trunk area is part of the cabin. And instead of having a conventional trunk door, hatchbacks have a one-piece flip-up or lift-up tailgate.
Are hatchbacks better than sedans?
In terms of practicality, yes, hatchbacks are generally more favorable than sedans. However, it also depends on the size and type of vehicle. Referring to the Mitsubishi Mirage as an example, the G4 sedan is longer, slightly wider, and taller than the Mirage hatchback.
It also offers three inches more rear-seat legroom, making the G4 a better car if you plan on carrying three or more passengers daily. But since the G4 sedan is taller and sits higher off the ground, it’s not as sporty or sharp to drive as the hatchback. In this regard, the Mirage Hatchback is a better car when it comes to driving dynamics.
When it comes to hatchbacks, the pros outweigh the cons. As a plus, hatchbacks are typically more affordable than sedans, perfect for first-time car buyers or those who want an affordable, fuel-efficient, and stylish daily driver.