Hatchbacks provide the practicality many buyers look for today in SUVs, but in a more compact or stylish package. They have a more flexible cargo area many people want for larger objects, but offer superior handling and fuel economy than SUVs. And while hatchbacks are known for versatility, some of these new models can be more attractive than competing sedans.
Today, there are numerous hatchback choices that cover a price range from around $20,000 to more than $100,000. They come from several brands and use small gasoline engines, turbocharged ones, and come as plug-in hybrids or even all-electric versions. There’s a hatchback for nearly every taste, budget, and style — even if some have been dressed up as SUVs to lure those who still think a hatchback is merely basic transportation.
Here are some of the best hatchbacks for 2022.
The Honda Civic has long been a dependable new car choice for many people, and for many years in hatchback form. The 2022 Civic Hatchback, however, is a far different car. Its clean and sleek styling, based on the also-redone Civic Sedan looks more upscale than its roughly $24,000 base price suggests. And it’s far more mature-looking than last year’s model.
There’s more refinement inside, with an upscale design and materials to match, Top-end Touring models even get a digital and configurable instrument panel, while the infotainment system on all models has been vastly improved. But what stays the same is how spacious and practical the Civic is for a compact hatchback, including a large cargo area and split-folding rear seats that make it even more cavernous.
A choice of a four-cylinder with 158 horsepower or a turbo version with 180, as well as an available six-speed manual (a rarity these days) make even these versions of the Civic accomplished on the road, before the full-fledged performance Civic Type R hot hatch is redone with this body soon. And up to 39 mpg highway makes the Honda relatively frugal, too. It’s an accomplished car getting better with age.
Volkswagen Golf GTI and Golf R
Perhaps the most recognizable hatchback of all, the VW Golf has also made the transition from an economy car to a relatively posh compact car with the solidity and refinement of something much larger — and has a history of high rankings from critics. But it’s reached the point that with this redesigned 2022 Golf, only the more expensive GTI and R performance variants will make it to the US.
While that means the least-expensive 2022 Golf GTI will start at nearly $32,000, it’s less of a blow because this eighth-generation version is seriously refined and technologically advanced. Digital gauges and a large touchscreen infotainment system with a voice assistant, memory settings for the driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, and adaptive cruise control are all offered. Still, a new 241-horsepower turbo four adds to the GTI’s performance specs, as does a standard six-speed manual transmission.
For more performance, however, the Golf R returns with 315 horsepower and all-wheel-drive, although it starts at an Audi-like $45,000. So while the Golf has grown up and out from being an inexpensive one, it makes a strong case they can be refined performance vehicles.
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
BMW’s take on a hatchback returns for 2022 with the same polarizing styling as the 4 Series coupe and convertible. But under the skin, it’s a compelling car. Even in turbo four-cylinder 430i, it’s a comfortable and quick vehicle that’s also luxurious. The performance-minded, however, will prefer the all-wheel-drive, turbo six-cylinder M440i with 382 horsepower.
Based on the BMW 3 Series, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is roughly the same size, but uses a more flexible hatchback shape with folding seats to make the back of it, at least. Cargo space with the seats up might be a bit tight, but the shape makes use of it. And interior quality is excellent, with high-grade materials and a slick infotainment system. The 4 Series Gran Coupe starts from just under $47,000.
However, the 4 Series doesn’t offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain. But wait until spring 2022 for the BMW i4, an all-electric version of the hatchback with up to 536 horsepower and as much as 300 miles of maximum range.
Audi A5 Sportback
Based on the highly accomplished A4, the Audi A5 Sportback attempts to combine the more seductive styling of a coupe with the practicality of four doors and a hatchback rear. It’s pretty successful at it, too, with a gently sloping roofline that doesn’t look as run of the mill as a sedan’s.
Yet four doors allow passengers to more easily get into a beautifully finished interior, while cargo space is generous and more flexible than the A4’s. It also shares some advanced safety features from larger Audis. At around $43,000 MSRP to start, the mostly unchanged 2022 A5 Sportback doesn’t cost much more than the A4 sedan and is far more attractive to most eyes, too. The less practical and equally good-looking two-door A5 Coupe is also more than $2,000 more expensive.
Hyundai Veloster N
Hatchbacks don’t come much less conventional than the Hyundai Veloster. On one side, it looks like a sporty three-door, but on the other, a small rear door helps passengers squeeze into the small rear seats. Under the adventurous styling, it’s a relatively sensible subcompact car.
For 2022, the Veloster is only available as the higher-performance N model. While its nearly $34,000 price means it’s yet another inexpensive gone for budget shoppers, the Veloster N is a screaming deal in its own right. Powered by a 275-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automated transmission, the quick power delivery and sharp reflexes make this Hyundai more entertaining to drive than some cars on this list costing double the price. That makes it a little sports car for those who might need to carry some cargo. Or people.
The Mazda3 tries to bring a premium look and feel into the mainstream compact car class, and it’s very convincing. The unusual styling and high-quality interior wouldn’t be completely lost in a Lexus or Mercedes. Soft-touch surfaces and neat detailing surround some touches that look like they just came out of an Audi — right down to the infotainment screen.
A 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine powers base hatchback models and does an adequate job of it through either a six-speed automatic or slick six-speed manual, and with standard front-wheel-drive or optional all-wheel-drive. But the 250-horsepower turbo four has the performance to take advantage of the responsive handling Mazdas have been known for, and with standard all-wheel-drive. Unlike other performance compacts, though, the Mazda3 doesn’t scream about its performance. It inspires confidence, but never aggressive driving. It’s a grownup’s car, and from about $25,000 and $35,000, it’s a smart buy.
Even more seductive than the A5 Sportback, the Audi A7 builds on the formula of making a hatchback version of an upright sedan — this time the A6. That means it includes not only the potent 335-horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, but also the available plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant that produces a system output of 362 horsepower and up to 24 miles of electric-only power. And all that power comes wrapped in the A7’s striking shape that manages to be elegant, too. For 2022, there are only minor standard equipment changes, which also apply to the more potent (and pricey) S7 and RS7 models.
The interior may look like the A6’s high-quality and touchscreen-heavy environment, but a lower seating position and frameless side glass make it feel sportier and more relaxed. And like the A5, the hatchback flexibility at the rear includes split-folding rear seats that make the A7 more practical than any coupe. And no SUV will ever look this good.
The Hyundai Venue may be called a crossover SUV by a marketing team, but consider it more of a hatchback version of the Accent small car. With only 120 horsepower from a four-cylinder engine and front-wheel-drive as the only configuration. Yet its square shape makes it roomier for people and cargo than its small footprint would suggest.
Generous glass area also gives the impression of more interior space, and every trim level comes equipped with power windows and door locks, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, an automatic transmission, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane keeping assist. It’s also a bargain with a roughly $20,000 starting price and, like other Hyundais, comes with a long warranty. While other small vehicles like the Chevrolet Spark, Ford Ecosport, and Mitsubishi Mirage might look like better deals,
It’s been more than two decades since the “new style” Mini was first revealed. And as similarly rethought classics like the Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Beetle have come and gone, the Mini has stayed — and become so commonplace it may go unnoticed on the street. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good choice for a relatively inexpensive hatchback.
And it received a sprucing for 2022, with a new front-end design, new exterior colors and seat fabrics, along with new options such as adaptive cruise control and a heated steering wheel. The two-door Hardtop is offered in four versions, with as much as 228 horsepower or as the all-electric Cooper SE — one of the least-expensive new EVs on sale. A four-door version, with better access to a still-small back seat, is offered with two lower-powered turbo three or four-cylinder engines.
All models maintain the characterful looks and bubbly personality inspired by the original Mini Cooper. Starting from around $24,000, too, it’s almost inexpensive for 2022.
Toyota Corolla Hatchback
The Toyota Corolla has developed into something more interesting. Especially as a hatchback, the latest Corolla feels even better to drive than before and tries to win over new fans with unusually interesting styling. But it still majors on the fundamentals of being practical and sensible.
A 158-horsepower four-cylinder engine with a CVT (a six-speed manual is also available) doesn’t sound exciting, but it’s more than adequate here. And the Corolla comes with smartphone connectivity, alloy wheels, and driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking — all for around $22,000 to start. And the Toyota name should give many loyal Corolla buyers years of peace of mind.
The Nissan Leaf has built a reputation as not only one of the most affordable electric cars on the market, but one of the easiest to live with. But for 2022, it’s also the least-expensive new EV in the US. At about $29,000 — less than rivals like the Chevy Bolt — before local and federal incentives, the Leaf could work for several demographics. There’s reasonable space for up to five passengers and space for a decent amount of cargo. Standard features also include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and the Leaf does without some of the gimmicky controls and touchscreens on newer cars.
The e-Pedal system increases regenerative braking as possible to put energy back into the battery when slowing. Available as the standard range model with an estimated 150 miles of range, or the Leaf Plus with up to 226 miles on a full charge, the Leaf doesn’t break any new barriers for battery technology. Nor does it look particularly futuristic as some of the latest EV models do. But the Leaf is supposed to be easy to live with and, at its new price, get a lot of people into electric cars.
Like Hyundai, Kia may have a reputation for budget cars like the Kia Rio. But the Stinger performance hatch isn’t one of them. With rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive and up to 368 horsepower from a turbocharged V6, it’s a sporty four-door with a dollop of practicality. And with prices ranging from about $38,000 to $53,000, it’s excellent value compared to the A5 Sportback and 4 Series Gran Coupe.
For 2022, the already-handsome Stinger got some new lights and wheels outside and a larger screen for the infotainment system. The base turbo four-cylinder also got a boost from 255 to 300 horsepower to keep up with the sports sedans and hatchbacks.
Along with upgraded interior materials with easy-to-use controls, the Stinger sports a roomy rear seat, and a cavernous cargo area with a wide hatch and split-folding seats. Kia may not be the first name in sporty five-seat cars, but drivers who like sport sedans would be well-served by the Stinger and its practical design.
The 2022 Subaru Impreza makes a compelling case for itself. Not only is it a practical compact car, but it feels solid, and is well-priced, at around $21,000 in hatchback form. But in this category fighting with SUVs, it throws a curve: it’s also the least-expensive way to get standard all-wheel-drive.
The Impreza hardly feels as inexpensive as it is, with a generous amount of standard equipment and refined driving experience. But with 152 horsepower and most models receiving a CVT (a five-speed manual is standard on base models), it’s not a performance car like the four-door 2022 WRX sedan is. That also helps fuel economy, up to 36 mpg.
Still, the Impreza has a comfortable ride, spacious, and clear and easy-to-use controls. And driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist also adds peace of mind. But the Impreza is the prime example for not spending more money on an SUV to get all-wheel-drive for grip in foul weather.