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Top Ten Hatchbacks: The hatch is back!

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Luc Gagné
A recent edition of Top Gear magazine confirmed that the hatchback sedan is back – with a vengeance. A quick flip through the first pages, and you’ll be convinced: pages 2 and 3, ad for the BMW 5 Series GT; pages 4 and 5, ad for the Audi A5 Sportback; pages 6 and 7, ad for the 5-door VW Golf, a classic if there ever was one.

And the phenomenon isn’t limited to the Old Country, as more and more of the hatchback sedans that we’ve been seeing in Europe and Asia are also destined for the North American market.

Ironic, seeing as in the 80s Americans developed an aversion to the overly utilitarian look, Spartan finish and noisy cabin of these hatchbacks. And you have to admit that at the time, hatchback sedans weren’t necessarily targeting the well-to-do crowd. Quite the contrary, they were designed first and foremost as practical rides and an alternative to larger, more expensive wagons. Their opening rear hatch was just the thing for small families and university profs.

Time passed, and after two decades spent driving minivans, SUVs and crossovers, all versatile vehicles by definition, the Americans have rediscovered the virtues of the hatch and the flexible trunk it uncovers. That’s no doubt why they’re now ready to admit them into the pantheon of the automotive world.

Naturally, to make the pill easier to swallow, some manufacturers have attempted to ennoble the newcomers by gifting them with elegant, evocative titles, titles like GT or Sportback, say. A marketing ploy that’s as old as the hills and as efficient as always…

Here, then, is a brief overview of the modern hatchback sedans, big and small, expensive and affordable, that are currently available or that may become so in the future.

1)Porsche Panamera($115,100 to $155,000)

Available in three versions ranging from 400 to 500 hp, this big sedan can convey four adults in remarkable comfort and luxury. It looks surprisingly like a 911 from behind. But you see through the trick played by its exquisite design the instant you turn a corner.

2)BMW 5 Series GT ($79,600)

This streamlined model will be replacing the 5 Series wagon, the Touring, whose success remains moderate. The GT stands out with, among other things, its original dual-purpose hatch.
Luc Gagné
Luc Gagné
Automotive expert
  • More than 30 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • Over 59 test drives in the past year
  • Attended over 150 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists