It is difficult to imagine modern transport traffic without cars with a two-volume body called a hatchback. Meanwhile, the history of this type of body has a little more than sixty years, and many car drivers, visually imagining what a hatchback is, don’t understand its technical differences from station wagons, coupes, and microvans.

The truth is that hatchbacks have many advantages and disadvantages. So if you think about buying or leasing a car like a hatchback, you should be aware of information about it. In this article, we will tell you everything you should know about hat5chbacks.

What does hatchback mean?
The main feature of the body was a shortened rear overhang (compared to the same type of sedans, station wagons). The fifth door, which combines the volumes of the passenger compartment and the trunk, can’t be considered the main difference between the body structure; it is equipped with liftback, station wagon, coupe, and microvan bodies. The configuration of the stern and the number of doors do not matter either - there are hatchback models with a vertical, sloping rear overhang, three or five doors. Most often, the body is confused with the liftback, which many experts consider a type of hatchback and not a separate design.

Comparing the body structure to sedans gives many automakers the ability to name the model arbitrarily. So, the Czech "Skoda" (models "Octavia," "Superb," and "Rapid") are sold as hatchbacks, although the length of the overhang allows them to be called liftbacks. Other hatchback varieties that change their name according to the configuration of the stern are fastbacks (with a sloping roofline), comebacks (with a vertical overhang of the fifth door), notchbacks (the European name for American models with a weakly pronounced third volume).

The popularity of the universal city body was expressed in the appearance of models that have no analogs in sedan or station wagon bodies. Such popular models as Hyundai Getz, Daewoo Matiz, Honda Jazz, Chevrolet Spark, Toyota Yaris, Kia Picanto, Mazda 2, Nissan Micro, and Peugeot 107 were produced only in the hatchback body.

Many models with coupe bodies, small front-wheel drive crossovers, and microvans can be classified as hatchbacks. The designs differ only in size, body height, and rear door configuration. This can be said about the Nissan Note microvan, Mitsubishi ASX, and Nissan Juke SUVs. The trade definition of the body structure and positioning of the model depends on the policy of the automaker.

Hatchback pros and cons
Historically, the new body style was driven by the need for smaller, more versatile machines than long, bulky sedans. The increase in the number of urban transport, and the complication of parking, dictated such parameters of the new body as:
- compactness
- convenience for four passengers (short-term presence of the fifth passenger)
- small trunk size, sufficient for urban purchases
- the possibility of transformation, if necessary, long-distance trips, transportation of bulky goods
- simple assembly, low operating costs

The first hatchback model was produced by Renault under the name Renault 4L (1961). A cheap car of a simple design already had the most important differences of a hatchback - a fifth door and sliding seats with the possibility of dismantling. The car with a low-power (0.7L) engine was a resounding commercial success. By 1994, eight million cars had been sold.

Subsequently, the requirement for a minimum configuration disappeared, as did the reduced cost of models with this type of body, but the main advantages of hatchbacks remained the same. Combining the luggage compartment with the passenger compartment in one volume also determined the main drawbacks of the body structure. The disadvantages of hatchbacks include:
- underestimation of the actual cubic capacity of the trunk (full load clutters the rear window)
- odors and dust from the luggage compartment
- difficulty warming up the rear

Iconic hatchback models
Having released the first hatchback, Renault designers didn’t stop developing a new body concept. The chroniclers of the history of the concern consider the first mass hatchback, not the simple Renault 4L, but the later model Renault 16 (1965). For ten years, the car became a hatchback model in terms of proportions, the angle of inclination of the rear door. Becoming the "Car of the Year" in 1966, the Renault 16 stayed on the assembly line for another fourteen years. The popularity of the model was expressed in two million sales.

The first real competitor of the Renault 16 was the Volkswagen Golf (1974), which gave its name to the "golf class" of urban compact models. Its advantages were constant design updates, a wide range of bodies, an increase in engine power, and the number of “comfort options.” The popularity of the model is evidenced by the appearance of the seventh generation of the car, in which the body became lighter (due to the use of porous materials, plastics), and the power of the two-liter turbodiesel increased to 150 hp.

For many years, the French Peugeot 206 (1998) became a sample of reference hatchback design. The enlarged proportions of the model were transferred not only to other models of the Peugeot concern (Peugeot 307, 407, 207, 308) but also copied by other automakers. The originality and aggressiveness of the slanting headlights, reaching far into the wings, embossed bumpers, and body stampings were repeated in many models, becoming a sign of compliance with automotive fashion. Not all imitative hatchback variants managed to achieve proportionality and completeness of the silhouette of the French model.

Author's Bio: 

I am Amelia Grant, journalist, and blogger. I think that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.

Our attention to ourselves, to our daily routine and habits, is very important. Things that may seem insignificant, are pieces of a big puzzle called life. I want to encourage people to be more attentive to their well-being, improve every little item of it and become healthier, happier, stronger. All of us deserve that. And I really hope that my work helps to make the world better.