The State Of Two-Door Hatchbacks In 2021 America Is Very Weird

Illustration for article titled The State Of Two-Door Hatchbacks In 2021 America Is Very Weird
Image: various manufacturers/Jason Torchinsky

I’ve always liked the body style known as the two-door hatchback, or as it’s often and confusingly known, the three-door. One of those “doors” is a hatch not really meant for people, but whatever — I still like them. You know the type of car I mean.


These were once incredibly common in America, and while there are still many for sale globally, in the U.S. the segment has shrunk and changed pretty dramatically. Let’s take a look at where we are today, in the Year of Our Hatchback, 2021.

Image: various manufacturers/Jason Torchinsky

It used to be that most every mainstream carmaker offered a two-door hatch, usually a number of them. These were quite often entry-level economy cars, though there were certainly hot hatch sports cars, midrange family two-door hatchbacks, premium executive-car hatchbacks and so on.

Over the years, the market changed a lot. Four doors seem to be a near-requirement for drivers now, even single people who almost never car rear-seat passengers.

A handful of two-door hatchbacks, in the traditional sense we think of them, populated dealer showrooms even a few years ago. However, in the past couple of years we’ve seen the Fiat 500 leave America; Voltswagen sorry, Volkswagen discontinued both the Beetle and two-door versions of the Golf; the Smart ForTwo left our shores; the Toyota Yaris is gone; there are no Mazda 2s; no more Ford Focuses or Fiestas, and so on.

There’s really just one left: the Mini Hardtop Two Door.

Well, there’s the Hyundai Veloster if you ignore that extra little door. And if we’re being very technical about cars that have two doors and a hatch for luggage — one that opens into the main interior volume of the car — we can see there are still some models that fit the bill.


But they’re not really what you traditionally think of as hatchbacks. Let me show you what I mean:

Image: various manufacturers/Jason Torchinsky

See? If you really want two doors and a hatch in America today, most of your choices are high-end, expensive, fast sports cars.

I suppose you can read this two ways. First, the gas can half-empty way, which says that affordable two-door hatchbacks are all but extinct in the U.S. Or second, a gas can half-full view that says holy crap, the two-door hatchback segment has become so much faster and premium! No more stigma about driving some little hatchback, right?


Still, I sort of suspect that most of the drivers of the cars on the lower part of that chart don’t think of their cars as being in the same category as a base Mini.

But we know the truth.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:



It baffles me that singles and/or childless couples want to driver crossover suvs, which scream to me “Parent Mobile.”

I wish the option of the 3 door hatchback was more plentiful because I have zero plans to do any of that ride sharing or gig economy nonsense and reserve the backseat for emergencies only if you have ran out of other friends to get a ride.

End of my rant.