Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘hatchback reviews’

First Drive: 2014 Nissan Versa Note

Handsome, roomy and attractively priced.

by on Jun.27, 2013

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note gives subcompact buyers a new hatchback option.

Small cars are going through something of renaissance that is capturing the attention of more and more American motorists tired of forking over a small fortune at the pump for gasoline.

Thus, the all-new 2014 Versa Note seems to be arriving in show rooms at just the right time.  Nissan introduced a sedan version of the Versa two years ago that hasn’t exactly set the world afire, yielding the segment lead to Asian competitors like the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent, as well as domestic models like the Ford Fiesta.

Reviews You Can Trust!

The 2014 Versa Note – Nissan’s way of distinguishing its new subcompact hatchback – offers a more stylish exterior design than the sedan, an upgraded platform that improves interior packaging, and new technology to help set it apart from competitors.


First Drive: 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT

A European spin on a popular Korean compact.

by on Aug.08, 2012

The 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT.

After scoring a hit with its latest compact sedan, the Elantra, Hyundai is aiming to broaden the nameplate’s appeal with two spin-offs, the Elantra Turbo and the even sportier Elantra GT.

The maker has good reason to want to expand the line-up, considering Elantra’s success in the U.S. market.  The base car won the coveted North American Car of the Year award, last January, and Hyundai has ever since been struggling to meet demand. If anything, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT could put the model in even shorter supply.

Your Auto Review Source!

The GT is more than just a tarted-up version of the current Hyundai Elantra sedan. It features a distinctive hatchback body originally developed for Europe, where it is sold as the i30.  The version we’ll get here is largely the same motorists can buy in London or Berlin – though Hyundai has softened the suspension a bit for American tastes.


First Drive: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

Endearingly asymmetric.

by on Sep.21, 2011

Hyundai's new Veloster goes up against the likes of the Scion tC and the Honda CR-Z

There’s something endearingly odd about the new Hyundai Veloster.  The Korean maker’s latest entry — which some are comparing to the old Honda CRX, others to the Mini Clubman – is an immediate eye-catcher.  But it takes a moment to realize something is just, well, different.

Start with the fact that the 2012 offering has just three doors – okay, four if you count the hatchback – one on the driver’s side and two on the passenger side.  This asymmetric design is meant to give especially easy access to the coupe-like Veloster’s back seat.

Trust Our Reviews!

No, it’s not the first three-door we’ve seen.  Saturn was there before, but the rear gangway was a “suicide door” design that also required you to open the front passenger door first.  No such complications for the 2012 Hyundai Veloster, which has a conventional and surprisingly large third door.  But that only underscores the functionality that has been blended with distinctive styling.  If this were an ice cream sundae, the cherry on top would be the Korean offering’s surprisingly affordable price tag, which starts at just $17,300 – plus another $760 in delivery charges.


Hatchbacks are Hot at Ford

Evos Concept suggests more coming, product chief Kuzak hints.

by on Sep.06, 2011

The face -- and backend -- of the future for Ford? The Evos Concept suggests even more hatchbacks are in the pipeline.

Hatchbacks are hot at Ford Motor Co. and the maker’s new Evos Concept – which officially debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week – suggests that even more 3- and 5-door models are in the works, according to the maker’s head of global product planning.

Long considered unacceptable to U.S. motorists, hatchbacks are gaining ground fast with younger buyers and influencing even older motorists to take another look.  That convinced Ford to go with a 5-door design for the Evos Concept which introduces a new look that “will become increasingly familiar” to the company’s customers around the world,” said product czar Derrick Kuzak.

Subscribe Now! Free!

“The (hatchback) body style is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and especially in North America,” Kuzak told, in sharp contrast with years past.

Where hatchbacks were offered on past-generation Ford products sold in the U.S., said the product chief, they accounted for perhaps 20% of total sales.  Now, Kuzak noted, “It’s just the opposite,” hatchbacks generating 60 to 70% of demand for models like the 2012 Ford Focus and 2011 Ford Fiesta.


A Hatchback Comeback?

No longer just econoboxes.

by on Jul.20, 2011

Redefining the hatchback, the new Audi A7

When Chicago’s Dee Brustein graduated college earlier this year, her parents chipped in to help her buy a new Ford Fiesta.  The one they had in mind was a sedan.  Dee, with her degree in engineering, wanted something that was both more practical and hip.  So she opted for the 5-door hatchback.

“They just couldn’t understand,” laughs the 22-year-old.  “They’re Boomers, and to them, hatchbacks aren’t cool.  But I think it looks nicer and it has a lot more room and that will help me because I figure I may wind up moving a few times as I start my career.”

The Inside Story!

Hatchback or sedan?  That’s a debate a lot of folks are having these days, and not just on the consumer side.  Ford officials acknowledge they were originally unsure about offering a five-door body style when they introduced their first subcompact into the U.S. market in decades.  But so far, it’s proven unexpectedly popular, accounting for about half of all the Fiestas sold in the U.S. – and hatchbacks make up 41% of the sales for the larger, newly-redesigned Ford Focus.

Ford is anything but unique.


First Drive: 2012 Hyundai Accent

Getting in the game.

by on Jul.06, 2011

Hyundai hopes the 2012 Accent will make it a competitive player in the subcompact segment.

Let’s face it, when someone mentions Hyundai you’re more likely than not to associate the brand with low-priced econoboxes, rather than high-end products.

Sure, that’s begun to change as the Korean carmaker launches more sophisticated offerings, like the Genesis and Equus.  But the Accent has been the classic cost-leader, a subcompact traditionally appealing to those on a budget, with a starting price tag of just under $10,000.

Subscribe for Free!

If you’re one of those motorists who ignored the Hyundai Accent, you may have to think twice when the 2012 model rolls into showrooms, however.  On the downside, you’ll have to pay a fair bit more, the all-new model starting at $13,205 including destination charges.  But what you’ll get for the money is a car you no longer have to apologize for, bragging only about the bargain you got.

And, if nothing else matters, you’ll be able to crow about the latest Hyundai Accent’s new Gamma engine, an all-aluminum I-4 that delivers impressive fuel economy – it’s the Korean maker’s latest offering to deliver better than 40 mpg on the highway. (more…)

New Cruze Hatchback Backing Chevy’s European Assault

Mom and apple pie brand increasingly going global.

by on Mar.03, 2011

The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback - two-thirds of European buyers prefer 5-doors.

What’s more American, as the old ad slogan went, than “hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?”  Well these days, it’s not only the USA you can see in your Chevy.

The maker is giving European motorists a first look at the new Cruze hatchback at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the latest model in an expanding Chevrolet line-up on the Continent.  Europeans actually got the original Cruze sedan a bit ahead of the U.S. because of bankruptcy-related delays.  Now, bets Chevy, it can expand the compact model’s appeal by adding a 5-door.

Free Subscription

Europeans have traditionally been far more open to the utilitarian hatchback than buyers back in the States – in fact, Chevy officials estimate 5-doors, including wagons, accounting for about two-thirds of European sales.

And cracking Europe is critical for the brand, which has become increasingly global.  Until relatively recently, Chevy was limited to the North, Central and South American markets – in many, it is still the overwhelmingly dominant brand.  But it is now spreading its wings around the globe, pitching buyers from Beijing to Berlin.