1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Could the car buffs in the US answer me this?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Rusty Chainsaw, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. Why does America seem to dislike hatchbacks so much?

    My big move over there happens next week, and I'm looking for something compact that will swallow a bass rig in the back, handle nicely and get good gas mileage. A hatch seems just the ticket, and there's hardly any to be had out there! We're spoilt for choice with good hatches over here in Europe, why does the US seem to hate them so?

    There's the Mazda3, the Focus (not even the spiffy new one we've got out here), the Golf (again, not the new one), the Chevy Malibu, and, well, not a lot else, it seems.

    For now I'm inheriting my GF's '94 Chrysler Concorde. The thing's a tank and drinks petrol like it's going out of fashion!

    It'll probably end up being and older Focus 3-door hatch, I suspect. But I am curious as to why the US seems to be so against hatches in general. They're the best-selling bodystyle of car over here.
  2. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Subaru (super-glue) offers a couple all wheel drive hatchback models.
  3. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    The Focus isn't a bad car. My sister has the sedan model and it's nice and zippy and handles well. I've been thinking about buying the 3-door Focus whenever I land a decent job. You also might want to look at the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Not quite a hatch, but there's plenty of room for a rig and then some. It also performs nicely for a 4 cylinder and is easy on gas.
  4. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I think the biggest factor is that we have a lot more disposable income here than in Europe. Our gas prices are not high enough (yet) to make trucks and SUVs unaffordable, so these are the vehicles of choice for carrying stuff. Its also very possible to won two (or more) cars here in the states, so its more likely the average american will have a big truck for carrying things and a smaller car for just driving around in. On top of that people who want a sporty, fun car will own something like a Miata, S2000, etc.

    So the do a bit of everything hatchback concept isn't as popular here because we simply don't need it.

    How many 3 and 4 car garages are there over in Europe? Not a whole lot. Around here nearly every house you drive by has 2 cars in teh driveway and a 3rd in the garage. Even in my decidedly mid-class apartment complex most of the apartments have at least two vehicles.

    I think this will change though. As gas gets more expensive and people have less money to blow on insurance the idea of one car that can do everything you need will start to appeal to more Americans. I know its appealing to me more and more. I'm thinking of selling my Tiburon and getting a Golf TDI as my main car.

    Nothing will part me from my M3 though :)
  5. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    get the mazda 3 hatch. that car is hot. get it in blue. that's the one I wanted but didn't.
  6. Definitely check out the Subarus. The Outback, Impreza Wagon and Forester all have large rear doors and fold down rear seats. They get pretty good gas mileage, though you'll lose a little if you opt for the turbo models. They are not too expensive, are very reliable and have some of the best crash ratings available.

    I bought a WRX in 2001 and have become a Suby convert. I've helped several people buy one since then and they all love them. Where I live (Ga.), it is difficult to find a used one, because people tend to hold on to them. There are also not many Suby mechanics around here, but I have learned to work on it myself for most maintenance.

    Just ask anyone that drives one.
  7. On the contrary, they are not hated at all. Most of all the Japanese Manufactures makes one, Like you mentioned Mazda, Toyota, Subaru and Honda make them as well. I work at a Mazda dealership and the Protege 5 was a popular car, and now the Mazda3 5 door is doing just as well. There is also now the Mazda5 which is a bit bigger than the 3 but is smaller than a mini-van and is very euro looking.

    The only thing I can think of to support what you say is, in the 90's most hatchbacks in the U.S. were primarily crappie economy cars that were not sporty at all (to say the least). I think they may have gotten a bum rap from that. All the newer ones that are on the market now have a cool appearance and are doing quite well. It just may take a little time for them to catch on as a trend because they do look a bit different than what most people in the U.S. are used to, plus It may take a little time for these newer hatchbacks to filter down into the used market. As well as they are doing I don't think they will do better than the sedan though, but you never know. Allot of people may be dumping their SUV's if the gas prices keep rising, If they need the cargo space a hatchback is a good alternative.

    I have been driving an SUV for some time now and my next car will more than likely will a hatchback. Probably the Mazda6 five door (another hatchback). The SUV is still king when it comes to cargo space, especially when you don't have to bend over and pick up 90 lbs. of a 4X10 cab out from a hatchback.
  8. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    It's kinda funny because Audi just came out with their A3, when other high-class hatchbacks like the BMW 318ti and the 'Benz C230 (I think) went over like warm soda.

    I think that the hatch market is starting to pick up. I love hatchbacks, and my VW Golf will be replaced with a Mazda 3 when funds allow. If I could afford the insurance, a WRX wagon would be in my garage, but I'm not making the big bucks as of yet.

    Hatchbacks are versatile gear haulers with great gas mileage. You'd think they would be more popular, but I guess there were one too many Ford Festivas and Eagle Summits on the road to give the h/b a bad name over time. :D
  9. As a matter of interest, has anyone heard of any car import places in the US that import European cars, the same way some import Japanese cars? It'd be interesting to see some other Euro cars on the roads in the US other than BMWs, Audis, VWs, Mercs and Minis. Seeing some Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Renaults, Citroens and some of the European Fords would be nice (the new European Ford Focus is 100% better than the version sold in the US, which is still based on the old model). For instance, Renault makes some great cars, they use a lot of Nissan parts (so getting bits wouldn't be hugely problematic), look great and drive very well. But they won't sell their stuff directly in the US (probably partly to do with the anti-French backlash post-Iraq). It might be an interesting exercise to see if this could be done.
  10. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    It would be very, very hard to make most European cars pass US emmisions and safety standards. That's why there are a lot of companies that don't sell cars here, they don't have the money to push them through certification by the EPA and NHTSA and still make a reasonable profit.

    My father-in-law tried to import an MGF a few years ago. He runs a shop specializing in MGs and other british cars and thought it would be cool to bring in MGFs and resell them. Doing it on a car by car bassis (which is apparently what you must do if the manufacturer doesn't have the model certified) would cost something like $100k per vehicle.
  11. Pause


    Jun 4, 2003
    Miami, FL
    I wish that some of the EDM hatchbacks were brought over to the U.S. What I would really have liked to buy is a Honda Accord Hatchback... not the Estate. Though that Accord Tourer Type-S doesn't look bad at all...

    But, I've got to say that since my discovery of Subarus... I'll want another whenever the time comes. I've now got a '97 Impreza Outback Sport. It's a small wagon that has held everything I've needed to put into it so far. There's even room for my DB and two passengers. It handles well, gets pretty good gas mileage, and is quite comfortable.

    I've decided that Subarus rule. :hyper:
  12. Pause


    Jun 4, 2003
    Miami, FL
    Last I checked, warm soda does quite well in Europe. :meh:
  13. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Yeah, and those hatches did pretty good over there. But here in America, we like our pop cold and our means of conveyance large, dammit.
  14. Euro4 emissions standards are pretty much the strictest in the world, and all new mass-manufactured European cars must pass these standards. Same goes for the Euro-NCAP crash safety standards, although they are judged differently than in the US and have a lot more to do with pedestrian impact and impacts with other cars than in the US where collisions with trucks and SUVs are more of a concern. I think it's more an issue of the fact that Americans, as a rule, don't like smaller cars with smaller engines. The typical family sedan favoured in the US isn't generally something made by most European companies, there's a lot more mid-size hatches and a vast number of MPVs (think a smaller, more versatile and more agile minivan).
  15. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    I'd like to see some Corso's here.
  16. As in the Vauxhall/Opel Corsa? Nice little car, but probably way too small for American tastes (although it's bigger inside than the likes of the Toyota Echo, which does quite well over there, and is closely related to the Toyota Yaris sold in Europe). But Chevrolet's Cobalt shares a lot of parts with the Vauxhall/Opel Astra, the next size up in their range, although, again, it's still based on the older version of the car, and doesn't offer the hatchback version!
  17. Johnny Fila

    Johnny Fila Formerly "The Crusader"

    Nov 21, 2004
    Elmont, NY (near NYC)
    yeah, they were using these Corsos at Disney World MGM for a show called Lights! Motors! Action! (they were actually ripped apart on the inside and had a motorcycle engine installed!)
    I thought they were decnt looking.
  18. Another point, coming from my last post... a lot of the European cars, as well as the American cars that are largely based on European counterparts, seem to take forever to cross the Atlantic. We've had the Mk2 Focus and the Mk5 VW Golf over here for a year now, the new Astra (the Chevy Cobalt is based on the previous generation model)... there's also a load of cars from the other big Euro manufacturers that haven't made it over there at all, like the BMW 1-series, the VW Touran minivan, the Merc A-class and so on...

    I guess our tastes are a lot more different than we might think! :D And I shall struggle out there to find a car I actually like driving!
  19. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I liek hatchbacks :(
  20. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    It's probably just that the Gremlin and the Pinto soured everyone on hatchbacks.

    brad cook