Hatchback to the future

Why do we love hatchbacks in this country while abroad they generally prefer saloons? I have no doubt it is obvious to some people and when someone educates me I will probably realise it makes perfect sense but at the moment I am stumped.

Let’s take a look at the differences. Well if we put Europe aside for a moment, our American cousins share a language a similar culture and generally follow the same kind of work and play pursuits as we in the UK do. We both like going to watch sports events, concerts, visit theme parks and tend to cover great distances by road in our cars (admittedly things are a little closer together over here) but they like cars with boots or 4 door saloons and we like hatchbacks with 5 doors.

If you think about it, it wasn’t until the launch of the VW Golf in the early seventies that hatchback’s entered the collective consciousness. Certainly none that I remember (yes I am that old), but after that every car maker who builds cars for our market had at least 1 hatchback in their stable.

But in the states, although becoming more popular, they are still much more fond of sedans. I am not sure how important it is to worry about but I just find it curious because the difference with what you can do with a hatchback compared with a saloon is quite remarkable. For starters anything wider than about 2 foot will not fit in a saloon and anything longer than about 5ft won’t fit in a hatchback except one of the bigger ones.

It’s clear that in a large saloon you could accommodate a small family comfortably and for security a saloon is much better at deterring thieves. Break the back window in a hatchback and rip out the parcel shelf (what a strange name that is for a flimsy boot cover) and you have instant access to the boot and with many of us travelling with expensive equipment such as laptops and blackberries then perhaps saloons have the edge in certain departments.

But for me I think it comes right down to aesthetics a Golf hatchback or a Jetta anyone? But every ying must have its yang and if you look at the beautiful Jaguar XF or the Audi A5 and it contradicts that theory.

It must be said however that, in the UK at least, because of their popularity residual values are generally stronger on hatchbacks.

Hatchback and a saloon at the same time?

I guess it all boils down to personal circumstances, taste, fashion, culture and whether the car is for business, pleasure or both and is a question many new car buyers ask them selves; “hatchback or saloon”. Well if you plump for the Skoda Superb then, believe it or not, you can have both becasue it is both bodystyles at the same time!

Maybe that’s the answer.


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