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Tuesday February 14, 2012 10:08 pm

Top 5 Hottest Hatchback Cars in the U.S.


Ford Focus ST

Europe always seems to get the best of breed when it comes to cars. Regardless of the make or model, Europe takes delivery of vehicles we can only dream of over here in America. Here in the States we’re often left with slightly bland, dumbed down, and unappealing vehicle selection. Even Ford, an American company, offers vehicles in Europe that we can’t get here at home like the Ford Falcon and Focus RS, which we’ll zone in more later in the article.

Europeans have a knack for the ultimate driving experience, and one thing we noticed during a visit over the Atlantic during the summer was their love of hatchbacks. No, we're not talking about some hokey-puck cheap car that you'd find a teenager racing around town in. These vehicles are actually pretty awesome. We've put together our list of five hot hatches to look out for and consider if and when you’re in the market. Read on!


Honda CR-Z

Honda CR-z

Number five goes to the Honda CR-Z. This is the most underpowered car on the list, but don’t let that deter you from buying it. What it lacks in power is made up in personality. Many of us remember the Honda Civic CRX, well it’s grown up a bit. Still staying true to its heritage of being a fun sporty hatch, yet practical for everyday use. The car has different driving modes, which can adapt to gridlock to hugging a bend on your favorite back roads. Making the car enjoyable and economical to drive anytime and every time.

The Break Down

  • Price: starting $19,545
  • Horsepower: 122
  • Torques: 128
  • MPG’s: 31/34mpg combined (6-Speed MT/CVT)
  • Engine: 4-Cylinder Hybrid
  • Drivetrain: FWD

The Likes:

  • MPGs
  • Price
  • Hill assist on the 6-Speed (keeps car from rolling back when break is released)
  • Hybrid power (that is if that’s your thing)

The Dislikes:

  • Lack of power, only 122hp
  • Only a two seater

Hyundai Veloster

hhyundai veloster

I first saw this hatch in Canada and was mesmerized by its looks and the presence it demanded. Hyundai has really stepped up its game this year and finally are releasing a turbo model that will come in a matte finish. All we can say is that it’s sexy. Also, the Veloster has got to be the most bang for the buck right now with all its tech features, power (on the turbo version,) and looks. You’re looking to drop anywhere starting from $17,000 to the low $20s if you want one.

The Break Down

  • Price: starting $17,300
  • Horsepower: 138/201 (NA/T)
  • Torques: 123/195 (NA/T)
  • MPG’s: 28/27mpg combined (based on 6-speed MT, naturally aspirated vs. Turbo inducted motor)
  • Engine: 4-Cylinder NA or Turbo inducted
  • Drivetrain: FWD

The Likes:

  • The MPGs of a hybrid
  • The looks
  • Stealthy third door
  • 100,000 mile warranty

The Dislikes:

  • Small rear seat, more or less just for looks
  • Matte finish only available on Turbo model
  • Underpowered base model

Ford Focus ST

ford focus st

The United States has finally been graced with a sporty Ford,that’s not named Mustang. The Focus ST, which will be replacing the Focus RS, is a hot hatch, which will give other hatchbacks a good run for the money...if Ford can reasonably price it. But nevertheless, the Ford Focus SV will be hot and ready to out the box, fully equipped with Recaro racing seats and an EcoBoost turbo-charged motor. If this little EcoBoost motor is as reliable as the one in the F-150, then this car will last for ages. However, you can’t just pick them off the lot just yet, you’ll need to wait till later this year to put your order in.

The Break Down

  • Price: no official price yet, but we’re projecting somewhere around the mid $20s
  • Horsepower: 247
  • Torques: 250
  • MPGs: no word on that yet either, but should be similar to the GTI
  • Engine: 4-Cylinder Direct Inject EcoBoost Turbo
  • Drivetrain: FWD

The Likes:

  • POWER! Boast’s near WRX performance
  • MPG’s look promising
  • The states finally get a proper Ford
  • Race inspired goodies throughout the car

The Dislikes:

  • Too early to tell

Subaru WRX

subaru wrx

Truly a beast on and off the road the Subaru WRX comes in at number two. Though it was a close win for first, the cost of ownership for these can become burdensome for some. But apart from high insurance rates and its gas-guzzling nature that Subaru WRX is one hell of a ride. And if you opt for the STI make sure you bring a pair of clean underwear. However, a notable feature, especially for those in the Northwest is its AWD system. Though this is a win, it’s also a loss, but if you can look past the lack of MPG’s and high insurance rates then this car is for you.

The Break Down

  • Price: $25,595
  • Horsepower: 265
  • Torques: 244
  • MPGs: 19/25 (city/highway)
  • Engine: 4-Cylinder Turbo-charged Boxer  
  • Drivetrain: AWD

The Likes:

  • AWD, FTW especially in the Northwest
  • Power, power and more power
  • Styling
  • Functionality

The Dislikes:

  • MPGs leave much to be desired
  • If you’re under 25 get ready to get dinged with high insurance rates
  • Higher cost of maintenance
  • Road noise and ride comfort

Volkswagen GTI

volkswagen gti

Though it's not the most powerful hatch produced, it definitely is the best-built hatchback available. Car and Driver gave the Volkswagen GTI numerous awards, ultimately naming it one of the 10 best vehicles. There’s something different about the GTIs. As simple as they look, they beckon to be driven. This car is set at an affordable price, starting in the mid $20s, and with that you get everything you’d expect out of a hatch—functionality, power, and MPGs. That is why we rank the GTI as our number one pick.

The Break Down

  • Price: $22,995
  • Horsepower: 200
  • Torques: 207
  • MPG: 21/31 (city/highway)
  • Engine: 4-Cylinder turbocharged and intercooled
  • Drivetrain: FWD

The Likes:

  • Everything
  • Solid and comfortable ride
  • Torque
  • MPG’s
  • Available diesel motor on TDI model

The Dislikes:

  • We’ll let you know as soon as we find some

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