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.
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:
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.