Thursday, November 26, 2009

Where are the three doors?

So where are all the three door hatchbacks? Mazda just announced the forthcoming Mazda2 will be sold as a five-door only; one can assume the Ford Fiesta will be the same configuration.

If you want a three-door subcompact hatchback nowadays, you'll have to opt for the Hyundai Accent, MINI Cooper, or Toyota Yaris. If you want to step it up in size, you can purchase a soon-to-be-defunct Saturn Astra; a Volkswagen Golf or New Beetle; or a Volvo C30—all available as three-doors.

One can only speculate this is because of historically low take rates for three doors in the U.S. The soon-to-arrive Fiat 500, however, will sport only three doors. We'll have to wait and see whether the Suzuki swift will have rear doors or not (or if it even shows up in the States).

I'm not complaining, though. I prefer five-door hatchbacks; they're easier to get people and cargo in and out of. If my Yaris had been available as a five-door (with a five-speed), I would've have purchased one. Our Suzuki SX4 is a five-door, and I love it.

Some people like the lines of a three-door hatchback better, and that's fine. The real question is, are there enough takers to warrant more three doors in the U.S.?

So which hatchback do you prefer and why?


Anonymous said...

The last three cars I had were sedans, and they all had their good points, even if they did look more "grocery-getter" than "sporty". I resisted getting a coupe, or three-door hatch, because I thought it would be a hassle for passengers. But getting in and out of the rear of my Accent is surprisingly easy. The pedal that slides the front seat forward is easy to spot and responses with light pressure. No one seems to have to fight to get out, and there is plenty of head and elbow room.... unlike some coupes. I have been in coupes where the seat belts were in the way, and I had to twist my body to exit. That isn't the case with my Accent. Visually, the three-door looks a little sleeker, or sportier to me. It's basically like coupe vs. sedan. I do like the Kia Rio5 a lot, and nearly bought one, five-doors and all, so I like both. Same for the SX4, which I also like. But it's nice to have a choice.

Dee Paolina said...

I prefer threes. The wider driver side door makes it easier to get in and out of.

nlpnt said...

I guess the logic is that offering both versions would dilute the hatchback take rate too much, and selling a 5-door to someone who doesn't need the extra slams is easier than convincing a couple with kids that they can get away with having a 3-door.

It's still better then the bad old days in the '90s when Americans had a choice of anything we wanted as long as it was a 4-door sedan or a body-on-frame SUV.

Andy Lilienthal said...

Isn't that the truth! I've grateful for three- or five-doors!