Is the Five-Door Car Hatching an American Return?

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Getting the first look at the 2011 new cars, have you been noticing the increased use of the term five-door for vehicles sold in the United States?

During the early to mid 1980s every manufacturer sought a way to include the extended rear window to their designs of sedans. Mainly touting itself as aerodynamically more efficient, the truth was the hatchback or fastback was considered an aesthetic choice. A flashy variant of the family vehicle which sold well as Toyota Corollas in the 80s, the hatchback craze in the United States was also accompanied by some of the true lemons of the decade. The Hyundai Pony and Chevrolet Citation were two examples quality-challenged products which were likely culprits in stalling the progression of five-door body style. Interesting enough, North America fizzling to the idea of hatchback cars design went against the grain of the world as five-doors gained popularity in Europe.

However, in recent years the hatchback has been finding niche as a low-cost alternative to crossover vehicles thanks to their better optimization of interior space in smaller packages. The Madza3, Suzuki SX4 Hatchback and Kia Rio5 are such five-door designs, all presenting an under $20,000 starting price. Vouching the cargo gains with a hatchback over a sedan, the Kia Rio5 15.8 cubic feet of rear cargo room as opposed to only 11.9 cubic feet Realizing that the tastes of United States motorists have slowly begun to feel romantic to European styling philosophies, Ford Motor Company will also be bringing back the five-door Focus when they introduce the all-new 2012 car when the next few months.

With refined aerodynamic science, the larger greenhouse has now served as a key to increasing fuel efficiency. Particularly important in the design of the newest hybrids Toyota Prius and the revised Honda Insight, each vehicle sports the lowest drag coefficient numbers for a North American production car at 0.25 in 2010.

As the North American market appears warm to the hatchback cars again, there could also renew the perception of five-door vehicles. Introduction of the Honda Crosstour, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and most recently the 2011 Audi A7 Sportsback have shown a bolder, upscale interpretation of the sleek-looking car. Refurbishing the image of the hatchback, marketing guile has also ignited to rebrand the body style. Provoking a pointless exercise in reclassifying a vehicle not seen since the crossover vehicle’s coming of age, the term ‘hatchback’ has been replaced by five-door, sportsback or utility vehicle by premium car makers. Evidently, this careful marketing seems to indicate they still foresee the American marketplace may be a fragile pitch.

With the classic classifications for automobile design falling to the waste side, it was timely that automakers have returned to the hatchback.

Information source: Kia Motors, Ford Motor Company
Photo source: Ford Motor Company

  1. I agree that more 3-doors would also be nice and I think we'll be seeing more of them in coming years. It's no secret that, historically, bigger had been considered better by most Americans and, while we are downsizing, we're not going straight from Navigators to Smarts. As far as I'm concerned, hatches are hot (of course not universally), whether 5-door or 3-door. I prefer the five doors for practical personal reasons (more cargo and passenger space).

  2. Five door car is eye catching for me as I like five door cars.I think that people would only like five door body style f car in future.You have provided some good information here.

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