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Mid-size High Performance 5 Door Hatchback Recommendations Wanted

bxcellentbxcellent Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 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 Member Posts: 23,391
    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.

    2001 BMW 330ci/E46, 2008 BMW 335i conv/E93

  • calidavecalidave Member 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 Member Posts: 9,372
    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.
  • carlisimocarlisimo Member 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.
  • bxcellentbxcellent Member Posts: 5
    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.
  • bxcellentbxcellent Member Posts: 5
    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.
  • bxcellentbxcellent Member Posts: 5
    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 Member Posts: 190
    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.
  • allhorizonallhorizon Member Posts: 483
    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.
  • oldsvenoldsven Member Posts: 13
    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 Member Posts: 6,165
    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.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • carlisimocarlisimo Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 156
    It's pretty telling that no one mentions the X3.

    Does the Civic have a hatchback model?
  • bxcellentbxcellent Member Posts: 5
    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 Member Posts: 6,165
    Base it on European Accord Liftback/Wagon and name it Acura TXS.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

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

    and AWD

    that'd be a sweet machine
  • calidavecalidave Member Posts: 156
    I guess the Lexus sport hatchback is only 3-door, eh?
  • johnarchjohnarch Member Posts: 1
    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!
  • allhorizonallhorizon Member Posts: 483
    costs a little more than the 30k listed

    The MSRP for the A3 goes anywhere from about $25K to $34K+, depending on which engine and what options you want. Many buyers pay between $1000 and $1500 below MSRP. So, look around before assuming it's too expensive for you. You don't need to spend more than $28K-$29K for an almost loaded version with the 2.0TFSI engine (my preference), DSG, and leather (Sport package, Convenience Package, and Cold Weather Package).
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,729
    Take a look at the new Toyota Rav 4, with the new super powerful and efficient 3.5L V6 you'll lay waste to an X3 by about a second 0-60 MPH and still get significantly better gas mileage. Toyota is on fire with their new models I think.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • ccd1ccd1 Member Posts: 140
    There are a numer of cars available or soon to hit the market which are all more or less going head to head with each other.
    The RAV4 is one, so is the Mazda CX-7, Ford Edge, Nissan Murano/Infinity FX, Volvo V50 and the A3 3.2.

    These cars have a few things in common, AWD, more space/utility than a sedan and a sporty component. Which one you choose depends on what you value/need the most. I'd submit the A3 is by far the sportiest and probably has the least space/utility. The others are more balanced between these factors.
  • nylajnylaj Member Posts: 24
    This thread hit the nail on the head for me. I'm still driving my '91 Integra because nothing else seems to "fit": sporty, fun to drive, utility without being an SUV. I had all but given up on a Hatchback and was leaning toward the SUV. What is wrong with us in the US??? I think the hatchback is a beautiful thing! Anyway, I'm off to check out the Volvo V50. I'm afraid they may be to expensive for me though. :-( Any thoughts about price points?
  • nylajnylaj Member Posts: 24
    Never mind too expensive, too many issues just in Forums within. . .Not for me. Moving on again. I wish Acura/Honda would do something about this. The car described above would definitely be SWEET!
  • ccd1ccd1 Member Posts: 140
    Couple of things about the V50. You might be surprised at the discounts, the dealer in my area is being very aggressive (as in $3-4k for the V50T AWD). This may have to do with a poor reliability rating with Consumer Reports.

    The wagon is well designed and fast. If you can get comfortable that the wagon will be reliable, it is a nice package. It is not a sports car. If you want to know the difference, jump into the A3, particularly the 3.2, and the differences will be obvious.
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,729
    Yes, the V50 was offered to me on a Lease deal for a sale price of $27,500 from an MSRP of 32,500 or so (V50 T5 with 5 speed automatic and premium package). With money factor and residual value offered, and 3,500 down, best deal came out to $350/mo + tax with 12K miles/year. Add $10/month for each 1K per year added in mileage.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    The v50 has a very bad reliability record. You might want to be sure your dealer has a top notch service department.

    Pity...the V50 seemed a viable alternative to Audi, etc., until I discovered that bad record.
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,729
    The V50 and the Saab 93 SportCombi both got big black marks in terms of reliability from Consumer Reports. Therefore, I have Xed out those two viable alternatives to the overpriced Audi A3.

    It looks like its between the A3, and the Rav 4 for me!
    Neither Audi nor Toyota want to deal much on the V6 Rav 4 or the A3. Worse, the V6 RAV 4 is rarer than gold or platinum, and people are prebuying the few available.

    Audi wants me to pay about $500 in fees, and $500 over cost over invoice. Which basically to me means, $1,000 over invoice because I believe Edmunds over dealers. Come on, Advertising, association, prep, port dock fees???? Why don't they charge for paper, electricity, and stamps while there at it.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • carquerycarquery Member Posts: 35
    I'm about 6 months away from purchasing a new car and the A3 Quattro is high on my list. I've eliminated some like the V50 because of reliability issues (I've got an Acura MDX now that has been perfect so far, but the mileage stinks). I've read some mixed reports on Audi's reliability. Any comments on that?

    Also, does anyone have any real world experience on the Quattro's mileage?

  • nylajnylaj Member Posts: 24
    I have not been able to preview the RAV4 as of yet but my experience with a Toyota salesperson led me to believe that they are not liekly to budge on the price. I was considering the 4runner and then realized the RAV4 was coming out in V6. The salesman was all gung Ho to wheel and deal on an SR5 4runner but when I mentioned the Rav4 he told me that it was a "hot little car which will be in high demand". He then then tried to discourage me about purchasing the RAV4 unless I was willing to pay a significantly higher price. :-(
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,729
    If you look at the TMW, you'll see that people are getting RAV 4's somewhere in the middle between invoice and sticker. Yes, it hard to negotiate a RAV 4, but you don't have to pay sticker. $1,000 over invoice should do it.
    Maybe a little more. But a RAV 4 is way cheaper than a 4runner!
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Yeah, I'm kinda in the same boat - '07's my time frame. The Audi sounds like better handler, the Rave4 more versatile and reliable. Was disappointed A3 AWD is solely sport focused.

    But, Both are first year-ers _here_ and first year cars from anybody, anywhere, tend to have problems. Have you heard anything from JDPOWER or elsewhere on that?

    Also, Andres3, any ideas why the V6 RAV is so rare?
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Incidently, on the Audi World forum, comments are that the '06 Allocations for most Audis to dealers are completed, and that no more will be shipped for the '06 year.

    Is this true? If so, Am very surprised they are terminating orders this early!
  • ccd1ccd1 Member Posts: 140
    My understanding is that the factory switches over to the 2007s in April/May so we are near the end of the time period where you can order an '06.
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,729
    The reasons Toyota dealers have given me for why the V6 RAV 4's are so rare is as follows:

    1) the few they get are sold quickly, or sold "inbound" presales.
    2) Toyota and Lexus are using the same new dynamite new 3.5V6 in their higher production cars, such as the Camry.
    3) Toyota has introduced and will be introducing even more new models, and they are stretching their production capabilities with all these new models.

    With Toyota, and the fact the RAV 4 is made and assembled in Japan, I'm not worried about first year jitters and reliability.

    With Audi, I'm gravely concerned.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Granted this is old example but my first year Toyota '83 camry had quite a few glitches that the '84 excised. Some other mags have commented that some Japanese cars, built in japan, have a lot of first year glitches, including Toyota and Honda.

    Been burned, now shy.

    Perhaps after the initial buying frenzy cools down and Toyota ramps up production of more V6's to feed models requiring them, the Rave4 will be more widely available.
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,729
    CR reported that 1st year cars are 20% more problematic than even 2nd year cars, and it gets better as you go on (3rd, 4th year).

    However, my FIRST year model 2003 Accord LX V6 Coupe still had only one major mechanical defect, and only a handful of very minor ones. Thats high average reliability still in my book for 54K miles so far (cross fingers). Unfortunately, high average reliability isn't very Honda-like. The high end of average is the bottom edge of all Honda cars. Therefore, I was expecting bullet proof Camry dependability from 95 - 2005 , and what I got was less than perfect.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    yes, CU did point that out. But there are exceptions for everything. Perhaps Honda was more careful with redesigning the Accord than some of their other models (The Pilot was especially bad).

    Meanwhile VW's decided to change the Golf series in 2008 to a lower-cost-to-build design (current model costs 2.5X what similar competitors cost to build). So we may see major A3 changes then, since A3's related to Golf.

    And Pontiac today announced the cancellation of the Vibe's AWD and GT models, leaving only the Base, after May, 2006
  • misterjjmisterjj Member Posts: 32
    The A3 is NOT a first year model. It's been out in Europe, Australia, and other areas for many years. The U.S. market is a small part of the worldwide market for this model.
    The only repeatedly reported "glitches" on the A3 so far has been broken latches for the shade on the open sky system and there is a replacement latch available that is supposed to fix the problem.
  • andres3andres3 Member Posts: 13,729
    It can be argued if the 2006 A3 is a first year model or not. It is definitely the first year model for the US spec and US version. How much different it is from other continents' A3's is a matter of opinion.
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    A Pity there is no exact comparative list showing the differences between Euro and US versions.

    C&D May pretty much tore Caliber apart, feeling it needed a lot more development. The SRT-4 version, they were much happpier with, but felt at present it may not be suitable for racing because it sits higher off the ground than the SRT-4 coupe did.

    The 3.2 A3 they liked the handling of, but bemoaned the weight increase and gasped at its cost. They also were hoping the new VW R32 currently in Europe would make it over here without waiting for the 2008 Golf redesign.

    Hope Edmunds will have its own comparo soon. :D
  • allhorizonallhorizon Member Posts: 483
    Current indication is that there will be approximately 5000 US R32 starting this fall, likely with DSG, perhaps 5-door. Manufacturing costs do not allow much of a variation in terms of transmissions or number of doors. Ths is a one-time shot before the Wolfsburg plant changes over to the MkVI platform (which may allow a R36 in the future).
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Sounds like a repeat of the last time VW did the R32 exercise, only now with a newer model.
  • allhorizonallhorizon Member Posts: 483
    Yeah, I don't know why they don't make it a regular staple item. The profit margin certainly is high enough to alleviate any fears of negative impact from Audi cross-shopping. And interest is high, especially after the great Top Gear video and results.

    By the way, in this never-ending saga, manual rather than DSG may be on the horizon, and the 5-door thing may be out unless they can somehow wring out an additional 5000 units or so.

    Also, I would not underestimate the "only now with a newer model" part. From all reviews I have seen, this is a phenomenal handler. Although I still think the 3.2 is somewhat outdated, and would have preferred either an upgraded 2.0TFSI or the 3.6 FSI VR6. :shades:
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    new R32 sounds nice, but lack of DSG option (if that happens)is minus. Will be interesting to see if VW mandates XM or Sirrus with its options for that one.

    The 3.6 FSI or updated 3.2 with FSI would have been better choice for A3 3.2, given C&D found the current 3.2's not much quicker than the 2.0T.
  • allhorizonallhorizon Member Posts: 483
    VW/Audi have signed an exclusive deal with Sirius.

    The required beefed up transmission for the 3.6 doesn't currently fit into the MkV platform. Since the MkVI is only 2 years away, for those that can wait there are better things on the horizon.

    I still find it mind-boggling that the AWD/2.0TFSI combo is not available on any VW/Audi product - and the first one that get's to the US may be the heaviest of the bunch ... the Passat...
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Did some visiting of the new Edmunds TrueCostToOwn feature and found the A3 cost $12K more to own and run over its 5 year rating period than the somewhat similar '06 VW GTI cost.

    Any comments? I did find their insurance pricing was somewhat off wrt my provider.
  • allhorizonallhorizon Member Posts: 483
    I got about a $9000 difference - and much of that due to the fact that Edmunds assumes the A3 insurance is more than twice as high as that of the GTI, which is clearly not the case. Time to inform Edmunds about their inconsistencies?
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    Absolutely! Click on the Help link at the bottom of the page and write-in.
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