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Best hatchbacks of 2023
Hatchbacks are everywhere. And no wonder, when these practical and efficient all-rounders make great buys for most drivers. Many have roomy boots with wide openings that make them much easier to load than saloons. The best hatchbacks of 2023 also have lots of clever tech and safety kit to keep you and your passengers entertained and safe. Here’s our top 10 favourite hatchbacks.
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Advice about hatchbacks
A hatchback is a car that has a boot lid incorporating the rear window and that hinges on the top edge. You can also gain access to the boot from the main cabin. That can be by folding the rear seats down, through a hatch in the middle seat or over the top.
Generally speaking, hatchbacks are one of the most practical types of car you can buy. The boot also counts as a door, so you have the option of three- or five-door models - although the less practical three-door models are falling out of favour.
Honda’s spaceship-like Civic Type R has been the king of speed for hot hatches in recent years. But Audi’s latest RS3 snatched the title in 2021, with a 0-60mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed (with the optional Dynamic Pack) of 180mph. Mat managed an even quicker time of 3.6 seconds from 0-60mph in his review, showing there’s more than enough performance on offer in the RS3. It comes with new performance bits to make it fast round corners too.
With a massive 625-litre boot space, the Skoda Superb has the biggest boot in the hatchback market. Even though it has saloon-like looks, it’s definitely a hatchback and Skoda is now renowned for its practical models. Folding the seats down makes for a 1,675-litre load space, which is as much space as anyone will ever need.
Although ground clearance isn’t the most important factor when choosing a hatchback, it can certainly sway people one way or another. In the UK, the Renault Clio comes out on top here with 160mm of ground clearance. It may not seem like much, but when going over rough ground and on less well-travelled roads, having that extra ride height can make all the difference
There are many hatchbacks that achieve Euro NCAP’s maximum five-star rating, but the Ora Funky Cat was the organisation's Best Small Family Car of 2022. However, one of the stand-out categories for safety in cars is the adult occupancy rating. For that, the also all-electric Cupra Born has a very high current rating - scoring a 93% adult occupancy safety score.
In many respects, a hatchback is all a car anyone could ever need. They tend to have good boot space, efficient engines and are mostly very safe to drive around in with good visibility. You also have the option of getting behind the wheel of some very fast cars if you plump for a hot hatch. Whether you’re after a smaller model to pop around town in, or a larger one to get your family around, the hatchback is often a great option.
Both hatchbacks and SUVs can be quite chunky, but the main difference is that SUVs have a much higher riding position and are much taller - giving you a better view of what’s around. The boot of an SUV also tends to be more square and is less likely to have a load lip compared to a hatchback, but a hatchback will likely be cheaper and more efficient.
Visually, coupes are much sleeker machines than a hatchback, with a sloping roofline being a big giveaway. However, coupes are normally less practical than similarly-sized hatchbacks, as many have two doors. That means getting in the back seats can be a bit of a task, while rear headroom is normally not the best either in a coupe. Plus that sportier styling tends to come at a price.
Although both can carry people in comfort, saloons have a major flaw compared to a hatchback - they aren’t as practical. The boot of a saloon is normally blocked off and can’t be accessed from the cabin. You can get saloons with through-loading, but mostly, it’s a case of using the opening at the back to place your shopping or luggage in.
Generally, hatchbacks are cheaper to insure than most other types of cars as its a popular bodystyle for the entry end of the new car market. This can vary though and depends on your choice of model.
The cheapest hatchback currently on sale is the Kia Picanto, which just undercuts the entry point for the Dacia Sandero - albeit the latter is a larger car overall.
Typically, brands from Japan and Korea such as Toyota, Kia and Honda rank towards the top of reliability surveys.
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