Is the five-door car incubating the return of the United States?
At first glance at the new cars in 2011, have you noticed the increasing use of the term "five-door" in vehicles sold in the United States?
During the early to mid 1980s every manufacturer sought a way to include the extended rear window to their designs of sedans. Mainly touting itself as aerodynamically more efficient, the truth was the hatchback or fastback was considered an aesthetic choice. A flashy variant of the family vehicle which sold well as Toyota Corollas in the 80s, the hatchback craze in the United States was also accompanied by some of the true lemons of the decade. The Hyundai Pony and Chevrolet Citation were two examples quality-challenged products which were likely culprits in stalling the progression of five-door body style. Interesting enough, North America fizzling to the idea of hatchback cars design went against the grain of the world as five-doors gained popularity in Europe.
However, in recent years the hatchback has been finding niche as a low-cost alternative to crossover vehicles thanks to their better optimization of interior space in smaller packages. The Madza3, Suzuki SX4 Hatchback and Kia Rio5 are such five-door designs, all presenting an under $20,000 starting price. Vouching the cargo gains with a hatchback over a sedan, the Kia Rio5 15.8 cubic feet of rear cargo room as opposed to only 11.9 cubic feet Realizing that the tastes of United States motorists have slowly begun to feel romantic to European styling philosophies, Ford Motor Company will also be bringing back the five-door Focus when they introduce the all-new 2012 car when the next few months.
With refined aerodynamic science, the larger greenhouse has now served as a key to increasing fuel efficiency. Particularly important in the design of the newest hybrids Toyota Prius and the revised Honda Insight, each vehicle sports the lowest drag coefficient numbers for a North American production car at 0.25 in 2010.
As the North American market appears warm to the hatchback cars again, there could also renew the perception of five-door vehicles. Introduction of the Honda Crosstour, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and most recently the 2011 Audi A7 Sportsback have shown a bolder, upscale interpretation of the sleek-looking car. Refurbishing the image of the hatchback, marketing guile has also ignited to rebrand the body style. Provoking a pointless exercise in reclassifying a vehicle not seen since the crossover vehicle’s coming of age, the term ‘hatchback’ has been replaced by five-door, sportsback or utility vehicle by premium car makers. Evidently, this careful marketing seems to indicate they still foresee the American marketplace may be a fragile pitch.
With the classic classifications for automobile design falling to the waste side, it was timely that automakers have returned to the hatchback.
Information source: Kia Motors, Ford Motor Company Image source: Ford Automobile company
The evolution of the car: Part 1: Creative engineering
Automoblog's Katie Kapro explores how imagination and creative risk affect modern cars in this three-part miniseries.The 21st Century is an age of automotive loyalists. You can hardly go into a garage...
Letter from the UK: No plan B
A long time ago, in the distant 20th century, a frivolous patriarchal politician named Sir Edward Heath deceived the British public. The British nation was told that the European Community was about f...