The main characteristic of a hatchback body style is the rear door that swings up from the trunk in order to maximize entry space into the luggage area. Some hatchbacks come with retractable and folding second row seats which allows the user to reconfigure the space according to needs: cargo or passenger space.
Even though the term wasn’t introduced until the early 70s, the hatchback body design can be traced as early as the 1930’s. Unlike what it may seem at first, the hatchback isn’t only limited to economy or utility vehicles. It has been, in fact, used on everything from small cars to executive and even some sportscars.
The general description of hatchbacks reference to a three door design. Two doors are used for passenger entry and egress, while the third door swings up. The 5-door design works in the same manner, just with 4 doors for passengers. Usually, hatchback cars share a common platform, regardless of the number of doors. Most of the time the drivetrain and bodywork (from the A-pillar towards the hood) is the same for all variants.
A less used version is the liftback, where the rear door is placed rather horizontal than vertical. The resulting profile is raked of fastback. Given the positioning, the rear door on a liftback offers more cargo space.
When I comes to performance, a particular distinction is made for hot hatches. The shortened version of hot hatchback, a hot hatch is basically a hatchback with improved performance and dynamic behavior. Most of the time, such performance improvements include higher power output, more rigid suspension and bigger rims and tires. In some cases, the body is also altered to provide a better aerodynamic effect. Hot hatches are generally front-engine, front wheel drive. In some cases diesel engines are used, but for the most part, naturally aspirated or turbocharged petrol engines are chosen.
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