The Right Hatchback for Your Budget

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The Right Hatchback for Your Budget
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The Right Hatchback for Your Budget

With more than 35 hatchbacks on the market, narrowing down your choices to find the perfect model can be tough. But with so many options, you’ll have no trouble finding the right hatchback for your budget. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect to get when you shop hatchbacks in various price ranges.

Hatchbacks Less Than $15,000

The hatchbacks in this price segment tend to be small, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get a lot for your money. Several hatchbacks priced less than $15,000 come with a standard USB port, Bluetooth and satellite radio. The Kia Soul has these features and costs less than $15,000. Comparable hatchbacks include the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris. Most hatchbacks also offer infotainment and navigation systems as optional equipment.

While these hatchbacks are some of the smaller models in the class, they have good fuel economy. Some models, like the Ford Fiesta hatchback, average up to 40 mpg on the highway with a special fuel economy package, according to the EPA. That means these hatchbacks are budget-friendly in the long run because you’ll pay less at the gas station compared with hatchbacks with lower fuel economy ratings. Averaging up to 37 mpg on the highway, the Rio, Yaris and Accent aren’t as fuel-efficient as the Fiesta hatchback, but their fuel economy is still good.  

Though they are some of the least expensive vehicles on the market, hatchbacks in this price range are still well-equipped with safety features and some offer long warranties. The Ford Fiesta has a knee air bag for the driver. The Chevrolet Spark, which starts at about $12,100, comes with 10 air bags, which includes knee air bags for both the driver and front passenger. Models in this price range can also be equipped with features such as a rearview camera, but options like this one can push prices above $15,000. In terms of warranties, the Accent and Rio hatchbacks have some of the longest ones in the class. The new vehicle limited warranties on these models are good for five years or 60,000 miles, while the bumper-to-bumper warranty on the Fiesta hatchback lasts for three years or 36,000 miles.

Hatchbacks from $15,000 to $25,000

If you get a hatchback in this price range, performance and interior quality will improve considerably, though in some cases, you’ll have to sacrifice fuel economy and interior space. The Volkswagen Beetle Turbo and the Mini Cooper are some of the most fun-to-drive hatchbacks, and the Cooper is one of few models that average more than 35 mpg on the highway.

Hybrid hatchbacks, which include models like the Honda Insight, Toyota Prius and Toyota Prius c, can’t match the performance of hatchbacks like the Volkswagen GTI, but these hybrids achieve about 40 mpg on the highway or more. The Toyota Prius costs about $24,200 and comes standard with a USB port and Bluetooth. Toyota’s Entune data service, touch-screen navigation system and backup camera are optional. Though hybrids can be pricey, not all of them come with a lot of standard features. The Honda Insight, for example, doesn’t have standard Bluetooth or a USB port on the base model.

If the ability to handle winter weather is important, the Subaru Impreza hatchback comes standard with all-wheel drive and costs less than $18,000. It is the only hatchback with standard all-wheel drive in this price range, though it is optional on the Nissan Juke, Mini Cooper Countryman and Toyota Matrix. Adding all-wheel drive to these models, however, increases their price to about $22,000 or more.

Hatchbacks $25,000 and More

Hatchbacks that cost more than $25,000 are a diverse group. The upscale Audi A3 has standard leather seats and dual-zone automatic climate control, and Bluetooth and power-adjustable front seats are optional. The Audi A3 has an optional turbocharged direct injection clean diesel engine that offers both great performance and fuel economy ratings of up to 42 mpg on the highway. The only other hatchback model with an available diesel engine is the Volkswagen Golf, which costs about $24,200.

While many hybrid, electric and diesel hatchbacks save you money at the pump, the cars themselves can be very expensive. The Lexus CT 200h, a luxury hybrid, costs about $32,000, though with a standard power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and optional infotainment system, it is one of the most well-equipped hybrid hatchbacks available.

One of the least expensive all-electric hatchbacks is the Nissan Leaf, which starts at $28,800. The Nissan Leaf comes with standard features like an on-board charger, heated front and rear seats, push-button start, Bluetooth, USB port and satellite radio. The Leaf’s starting price is low for an all-electric vehicle. The Ford Focus Electric, for example, starts at about $39,000, though it comes with more standard features, such as a navigation system.

Even if your budget doesn’t have room for a hatchback that costs $25,000 or more, you won’t be disappointed with models that cost less. They can come with tech features that most shoppers seek, have long warranties, get good gas mileage and have plenty of standard safety features.

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