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Mid-size High Performance 5 Door Hatchback Recommendations Wanted

bxcellentbxcellent Posts: 5
edited March 6 in Audi
I'm trying to find out what options there are in the way of sedan sized reasonably high performance 5 door hatchbacks. Preferably with 5/6 speed manual transmission since I like to really drive my cars, not just point and click.

I'm not looking for an SUV, or a wagon. I'm also not looking for the sub-compact size.

To give you an idea, the only one I've really seen is the Mazda6 5 door hatchback. It has a sedan (actually more of a coupe) body, 5 doors and 210 hp. The Audi A3 looks OK, but is more wagon shaped. Price-wise somewhere $25-30k ish for a fully loaded model.

Coming from the UK where hatchbacks are a plenty, I don't get why there are so few options - or am I missing something? Having a trunk seems dumb, when a hatchback gives you so much more space.


  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    In the Mazda3 class there's it's sibling, the
    Focus which is offered as a three or five-door hatchback and going up a size the Mazda 6 comes in a 5-door hatchback. That's about all I can think of

    Coming from the UK where hatchbacks are a plenty, I don't get why there are so few options - or am I missing something?

    There's a strong prejudice among us Yanks that consigns Hatchbacks too the realm of "cheap cars". I don't share it, having owned five different h/backs, but it's there. Accord sales for example didn't really take off until the four door w trunk was introduced. It displaced the 3-dr hatch in a matter of a few model years.

    There's also the prevalence of multi-car HHs
    which means that many do not need one car that is both sporty and practical.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    what is a multi-car HH?

    Americans have realized that a hatchback a waste of money, when you can buy an SUV instead

    they may be wrong, but that is obviously what they have decided

    why would you want a hatchback instead of a Lexus RX330 (400H)?

    How about a Volvo V50?

    What is so special about a hatchback? Does it need to have two doors instead of four? 2-door cars simply do not sell as well as 4-door cars. Probably further explaining the demise of the hatchback.

    Also, given the short wheel base, the ride is not going to be great. It's one thing if your drive is inner city, but for those who have freeway commutes, a little car is not as desirable as something we can stretch out in - like a floating living room.

    If you want utility, buy utility (i.e. SUV or wagon). If you want a small car, buy a small car. But it just seems nutty to expect utility and a good ride for the price of a small car. You want a nifty hatchback for 30K? Buy a used RX330.

    In my mind, a 5-door hatchback is a waste of money. It's less useful than a real wagon. But the owner can pretend it's better looking, I guess.

    (or just buy a nice Subaru)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    If you're thinking hatchback, you probably should dive into some of the discussions over on the Hatchbacks Message Board. You'll find much more interest and detailed discussion of the various hatch offerings over there.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    "what is a multi-car HH?"

    I think he meant multi-car households. As long as everybody doesn't like the same kind of vehicle, you can get all the variety you need.

    "But it just seems nutty to expect utility and a good ride for the price of a small car."

    Nutty? It's the best of both worlds! Cars are fun to drive. SUVs aren't. Even if it's just 5 seconds of tire-screeching bliss on an onramp, it's worth it. Not for you, obviously, and that's ok. But for those of us who like feeling all the bumps in a road, they're great. (And I do have a crappy commute, almost bad enough that I'd almost consider an automatic.)

    They look better too =p. To me, SUVs look like boxes or blimps. Sedans look the same going forwards or backwards, wagons look like coffins (they're too long), but hatchbacks look like arrows.
  • Thanks, but I'd have to read through a few hundred messages to try and find out what I need to know.

    I don't want a sub-compact hatch, or even the larger focus size. Golf is way too small for me. I'm looking for sedan sized, but with the coupe / spoiler style.
  • Love it:)

    "SUVs look like boxes or blimps. Sedans look the same going forwards or backwards, wagons look like coffins (they're too long), but hatchbacks look like arrows."

    Just about sums up my views too, and to really drive them they have to be sporty and use a stick - no wimpy auto transmission.
  • SUVs are too big and a total waste of gas. I want something that drives like a car, and, therefore, erm, is a car. And I want a stick shift.
  • edwardsfedwardsf Posts: 187
    I had the 2 of the only performance hatches on the U.S. market for 8 years - a Saab 900 Turbo (a 1989 and a 1997). Fast as hell in the mid range (30-75 mph), plenty of room (I am 6-3) and have HUGE space with the seat folded down. I could fit two mountain bikes back there. They are pretty dependable but are a little noisy and have a relatively rough ride. However, the last iteration, the 9-3 (1999-2003), is a little smoother. They don't hold their value too well, so they can be bought for next to nothing.

    BTW, I also thought about buying a Mazda 6 hatch as I liked the driving dynamics but could not bring myself to buy a Ford and the spoilers and interior look cheesy.

    I agree with others here on the boxy, dorky SUVs - they are not fun to drive and are pollution pigs anyway. I am getting an Audi A4 and thought about the Avant but it still looks a little too, well, coffin like.
  • I am a bit confused about the size you prefer. Hatchbacks have grown quite a bit in size over the years --- but I don't recall many hatchbacks of 5-series or A6 size in Europe, over the years. Focus, Mazda3, A3, Golf, etc. are all bigger now or comparable to the 3-series BMW or A4 just a few years back.

    You say the A3 is OK, but looks like a wagon to you. Then you say the "Golf is way too small for me". However, the new (MkV) Golf is larger than the A3 in the back. It has more headroom in the back than the new Jetta, and a larger trunk than the A3. Of course, they are all built on the same platform, so most other dimensions are almost the same.

    In 3-door GTI version, it will reach the US in February, as a 5-Door GTI or Golf about in June.

    A more car-like SUV that is almost a hatchback is the Subaru Forester --- but that may also be too small for you. Alternatives are the Impreza or WRX.
  • While I don't think the Focus hatchback is much smaller than the Mazda 6, that's your call. It is thousands of dollars less with the rebate and simple plan pricing, even fully loaded. You might also consider the PT cruiser or new Chevy clone (HHR I think), which are more hatchback like than wagon. For that matter, the Matrix/Vibe isn't really wagon shaped.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,476
    How I see it you have two choices:
    1. Mazda6 5-door
    2. Change the criteria.

    There is nothing else even remotely similar to Mazda6 5-door. I know where you coming from, I'm in the same boat: in Europe people want sedan handling and looks but rear hatch utility for those rare instances of hauling a large box. Drop the looks you get a wagon, drop the utility you get a sedan, drop handling and looks you get an SUV. Americans like "simple" solutions so market is segmented accordingly: car is a sedan, unless it's a roadster, truck is a pickup or SUV. Need more space, get an SUV or minivan. Everything between or beyond is "weird", "quirky", or "not cool".

    Wagons and hatchbacks never caught on here because of their looks. Go to any discussion list about cars and you'll see that 60-80% comments are about looks outside and inside, 20-30% is handling and acceleration. Utility is taken for granted even it's not really there, e.g. look at some Jeep SUVs, and you'll find less interior space than in most midsized wagons. Eyes buy cars in America and it seems eyes do not like anything different than usual.

    With all American practicality, I think they don't know the first thing about ergonomics and space utilization (look how their apartments or houses are planned and compare it to your home country) for obvious reasons: they are not premium here, so no need to plan it carefully.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Mods, did you leave a note on the News & Views page saying this had moved? I didn't see one.

    I agree it's down to the Mazda6. If the A3 is too wagonlike, then the Saab 9-3 Sportcombi probably is too. At least it has some rake to it. The Mk V Golf is quite a bit bigger than the old one, but I don't know if it'll be big enough for you.

    You could look for an old Merkur...
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    I have the solution, and it's name is:

    Chevy Malibu MAXX. (I know - no stick)

    some of the so-called SUVs aren't really SUVs. What about the X3? the FX35/45? I know the FX does not drive like a truck. How about the Murano? or, again, a used RX330?

    they won't drive like the Subaru WRX, but they will get you onto the freeway and push you back in your seat

    there are some good choices out there - probably more than we've ever had

    unless you think the Ford Pinto was a good car


    I still like the idea of a Volvo V50 - get it with AWD and a stick. Sweet ride.
  • modockmodock Posts: 55
    What about the new mazda CX-7 or crossport or what ever they are going to call it? It is going to compete with the FX35/Murano. It will come with a stick and should be fun to drive from what the reports are saying. It will have the same engine as the new MS6. Just my 2cents
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    It's pretty telling that no one mentions the X3.

    Does the Civic have a hatchback model?
  • 3 door I think, but too small.

    What would be sweet would be a 5 door Accord hatchback the shape of the 2 door coupe.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,476
    Base it on European Accord Liftback/Wagon and name it Acura TXS.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    and give us a sweet hybrid drive

    and AWD

    that'd be a sweet machine
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    I guess the Lexus sport hatchback is only 3-door, eh?
  • Sometimes a test drive can be worth a lot of talk. Test drive the A3. Not a big car, but great for around town with wife and 2 kids. Lot of fun to drive, costs a little more than the 30k listed, but free maintenance for 50k miles should help a bit. I got mine pretty loaded for under $33k. Gets about 28 mpg all around, accelerates and handles similar to the BMW Z3 that I had before kids. Also got high ratings on just released crash tests. So far (2 months, 4000 miles) a solid A!
This discussion has been closed.