What is a hatchback?

29th Nov 2022

By Kenny Longdon

What is a hatchback?

All cars have a particular bodystyle. A hatchback is one of these bodystyles, but what exactly is it?

Put simply, a hatchback refers to the way in which you access the car's boot.

Hatchbacks tend to have a hinge at the top of the boot which then opens out, allowing you to place items in the space. Technically it's also classed as a door as many hatchbacks are referred to as a 3-door or 5-door hatchback.

Below we take a look at hatchbacks in more detail.

Sections include:

What is the difference between hatchbacks and other bodystyles?

Peugeot 108

In the automotive world, hatchbacks are joined by multiple bodystyles to suit different lifestyles, but what are these other bodystyles?

Take the saloon for example. This bodystyle tends to have the boot separate from its rear window, as opposed to a hatchback with opens with the boot.

Then there's the sleek coupé body, which is like that of a saloon, and tends to have its boot as a separate opening. Unlike the saloon however, the coupé tends to just have two doors, whereas the saloon more likely has four doors.

An estate car has a much bigger boot than those mentioned, and the rear windscreen is flat. It opens like a hatchback but the boot is a lot bigger than a hatchback and the body itself isn't as compact.

Then there are SUVs which have raised bodies and usually offer all-wheel drive in top of the range models. MPVs are built with practicality in mind, with boxy bodies and seven seats usually, although some SUVs now come with seven seats too.

Vauxhall Corsa

It's fair to say that the UK love a hatchback. Out of the top 10 best sellers, hatchbacks usually come top year after year, with the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa, MINI and VW Golf often being amongst the best sellers, whilst the Ford Fiesta has had its success at the top of the pile until more recently.

They are still very much a popular bodystyle despite the constant rise in popularity of the SUV.

Hatchbacks come in many sizes. Firstly, you have city cars like the Peugeot 108 and Citroën C1. These are ideal for big cities as their small size makes them easy to drive and they are great on fuel too.

Small hatchbacks like the Vauxhall Corsa are a bit bigger than the Peugeot and Citroën mentioned previously, and usually are more refined. They tend to drive better on motorway, being more comfortable and offer more practicality.

Then you have family hatchbacks like the Ford Focus. These are the biggest hatchbacks and offer the most standard kit and refinement. They are the best all-rounders.

What is a hot hatchback?

VW Golf GTI Pair

You may have heard the term 'hot hatchback', or 'hot hatch' when looking into particular hatchbacks.

In simple terms, a hot hatch is a hatchback with high performance, and usually is the fastest and most performance focused version of that particular hatchback model.

Examples include the Hyundai i20 N, Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Ford Fiesta ST. They have all the practicality of a regular hatchback with the added benefit of high performance. Okay, so they won't be as good on fuel and tend to a little more uncomfortable but the whole experience is a lot more fun than that of the regular hatch on which it's based.

They also come complete with more aggressive bodystyling, bigger wheels and unique colour options.

Advantages and disadvantages of a hatchback

Hyundai i120 N

Like with all cars, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying a hatchback, we have listed the pros and cons below.


  • Practical
  • 5 and 3-door availability
  • Various specifications
  • Great all-rounders
  • Hot hatches are great fun
  • Dependable
  • Some of the best selling cars on the market
  • Multiple versions to suit a particular lifestyle/buyer
  • Attractive running costs


  • Not as practical as an SUV/MPV/estate
  • Five seats maximum
  • Not as stylish as a coupé
  • Can be a bit dull
  • Hot hatchbacks can create certain stereotypes


Should I buy a hatchback?

Ford Focus

If you need a car that offers decent practicality and good fuel economy, whilst also being decent to drive, then a hatchback is definitely worth looking into.

From the reasons above, the pros certainly outweigh the cons. The hatchback is just a great all-rounder and it's cars like the Ford Focus and VW Golf that have become icons in this particular class of car.

A coupé may be sleeker, an SUV may offer more practicality and a sports car may be quicker, but if you want a car that takes characteristics from all these cars and blends it into one decent all-rounder, you won't go far wrong with a hatchback.

Find your perfect hatchback at Evans Halshaw

At Evans Halshaw we are delighted to be able to offer you a wide selection of quality new and used cars, many of which are hatchbacks from some of the world's most sought-after manufacturers.

Whether you're after a city car hatchback like the Peugeot 108, or a compact hatch like the popular Vauxhall Corsa, or maybe you are after a family hatchback like the Ford Focus, our network of retailers will be able to cater for your exact hatchback needs.