Author: Steve Allen |

What are least expensive hatchbacks and wagons for 2015? Here is rating.

A hatchback is a car body configuration with a rear door that swings upward to provide access to a cargo area. Hatchbacks may feature fold-down second row seating, where the interior can be flexibly reconfigured to prioritize passenger vs. cargo volume. Hatchbacks may feature two- or three-box design.

While early examples of the body configuration can be traced to the 1930s, the Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the term itself to 1970. The hatchback body style has been marketed worldwide on cars ranging in size from superminis to small family cars, as well as executive cars and some sports cars.

Station wagon and wagon are the common names in American, Canadian, New Zealand , Australian and African, while estate car and estate are common in the rest of the English-speaking world. Both names harken to the car’s role as a shuttle, with storage space for baggage, between country estates and train stations.

Both station wagons and hatchbacks typically share a two-box design configuration, with one shared, flexible, interior volume for passengers and cargo — and a rear door for cargo access.

10. Kia Soul — $15,690

2016 Kia Soul © Kia Motors Corporation

2016 Kia Soul © Kia Motors Corporation

The extremely popular Soul ups its “wow” factor for the 2016 model year with a host of new style and convenience features, some of which actually debuted on the K900 luxury sedan. In addition, owners can further express their unique individualism through a new Designer Collection that plays up the Soul’s fun-loving attitude with a two-tone paint scheme.

Three unique trim levels (Base, Plus, and Exclaim) remain, and each one adds new features for the 2016 model year. Alloy wheels now come standard across all models. Meanwhile, Base models equipped with the Convenience Package add a 4.3-inch color touchscreen, SiriusXM®2 satellite radio, and integrated Rear Camera Display3.

The standard features list grows for the Plus model, which now gets gloss black bumper “tusks,” fog lights, and integrated Rear Camera Display3. A new Designer Collection package, inspired by its all-electric sibling, brings new style with two visually striking two-toned color combinations: white with a red roof, or red with a black roof. In addition, the Designer Collection also adds 18-inch alloy wheels with black spokes, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob. The Exclaim now comes standard with leather-trimmed seats. Also new to Exclaim is the Premium Package, which elevates the driving experience with desirable convenience features including Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS)1 and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)1, both of which are new to the Soul. The camera-based LDWS helps to monitor the Soul’s position and provides visual and auditory warnings to the driver when the vehicle begins to drift too close to the lane markers. Other creature comforts that come as part of the Premium Package include navigation4, an upgraded Infinity®5audio system, string-LED front speaker surround mood lighting, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front driver and passenger seats, seat heaters for all four outboard positions, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, and a leather-wrapped gearshift knob.

9. Kia Rio — $15,495

2016 Kia Rio © Kia Motors Corporation

2016 Kia Rio © Kia Motors Corporation

“The Rio signifies everything the Kia brand has evolved into since coming to the U.S. market more than 20 years ago,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning. “And like the brand, the Rio has grown up as it enters the 2016 model year. Its sophisticated design has been refreshed and both models continue to offer a long list of standard features, making the Sedan and 5-Door standouts in an otherwise pedestrian subcompact segment.”

Most visible of the Rio’s updates are the new-for-2016 front and rear fascias. Designed to add visual width and stronger presence, the revised grille insert incorporates the now-familiar geometric pattern found on other Kia vehicles such as Optima and Soul. New fog light surrounds include strong horizontal satin-finish bezels that house projector lenses. The lights have been repositioned inward for a more aggressive appearance. Likewise, the lower front valance integrates strong horizontal planes that echo a similar treatment at the rear. The rear reflectors have been redesigned and repositioned to the far corners of the car, and the Rio’s color palette has been enhanced with two new colors: Urban Blue and Digital Yellow.

Inside, the enhancements continue with the increased use of high-density foam in the A- and B-pillars for reduced NVH, new technology features, premium touch points and available two-tone Designer Package (EX only). Subtle changes include satin-finish bezels around the air vents, and a new piano black center console surround wraps the audio system and ancillary controls. The EX Designer Package includes unique black cloth with gray leatherette trim with gray stitching. Gray padded door panel inserts, unique gray stitching on steering wheel, center console armrest and shifter boot all contribute to a sporty, premium-feeling interior.

8. Toyota Yaris — $14,895

2015 Toyota Yaris © Toyota Motor Corporation

2015 Toyota Yaris © Toyota Motor Corporation

The Yaris was designed in Toyota’s ED2 design studio in the South of France. Toyota also builds the new Yaris in France, giving this little car a bit of international intrigue. With its low windshield angle, short overhangs and wheels pushed out to the corners, the Yaris looks ready to pounce on the road, but beneath the crisp lines is a smooth-riding machine. The horizontal chrome grille trim and large grille opening create a sporty face and a line to other Toyota cars.

European cities are known for some narrow streets, where, when you see a home that’s got “old world charm,” it might mean it was built 400 years ago! The considerably more modern Yaris easily navigates such historic paths and those closer to home quite adroitly thanks to a class-leading 31.5-ft. turning circle (3-door model).

The bold look of the Yaris also brings a new, more vibrant attitude in tune with the car’s customers. The choice of 3-door and 5-door body styles remains an exclusive in the segment. Behind the rear seats, there’s up to 15.6 cu. ft. of carrying space (in the five-door model), which increases significantly when the seatbacks are lowered.

7. Hyundai Accent — $14,745

2016 Hyundai Accent © Hyundai Motor Company

2016 Hyundai Accent © Hyundai Motor Company

For the 2016 model year, Accent gets minor changes, including more consistent trim-level naming and some packaging updates.

Accent Sedan and Accent Hatchback are the vehicle’s two distinct models. For naming consistency, Accent GLS and Accent GS have been renamed to Accent SE Sedan and Accent SE Hatchback, respectively, for the 2016 model year. Accent Hatchback continues to offer a Sport trim, with sportier visual cues and driving dynamics over the SE trim.

Since launch, Accent’s product success has garnered attention from automotive and industry experts, being awarded various coveted awards and accolades. Last month, for the second year in a row, Accent earned the highest honor in the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) for the small-car segment. In 2014, Accent also received “Most Appealing Small Car” in the J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study. This marked the first time a nameplate has ranked highest among non-premium brands in both APEAL and IQS in the same year.

6. Chevrolet Sonic — $14,345

2016 Chevrolet Sonic hatchback © General Motors

2016 Chevrolet Sonic hatchback © General Motors

Chevrolet Sonic continues to bring new customers to Chevrolet every day with its youthful design, efficiency and the latest connectivity features.

Sonic remains on the leading edge of technology in its segment, offering OnStar with 4G LTE and a standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the car is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.

Sonic customers can choose between two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback in LS, LT, LTZ and RS models.

Sonic RS sedan and a Dusk Package for LTZ sedan provide options for high-style, performance-oriented features. The RS sedan delivers all of the performance-oriented features of the hatchback, while the Dusk package brings a higher level of sophistication with distinctive exterior features and premium interior appointments.

5. Nissan Versa Note — $14,180

2016 Nissan Versa Note © Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

2016 Nissan Versa Note © Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

The companion vehicle to the popular Versa sedan, Versa Note celebrates the unique qualities of its 5-door hatchback design. It shares its advanced platform and drivetrain with the Versa sedan, yet Versa Note has its own distinctive look and feel inside and out.

As Versa Note enters its third year of production for 2016, it adds two new exterior colors, Cayenne Red and Gun Metallic, and greatly enhanced standard content for the Versa Note SV grade – including NissanConnectSM with Mobile Apps, 5.0-inch color display, Streaming audio via Bluetooth®, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM® subscription required, sold separately), RearView Monitor and Divide-N-Hide® Adjustable Floor.

The 2016 Versa Note is offered in a range of five well-equipped models: S, S Plus, SV, SR and SL. Each is powered by a 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine. Versa Note S features a 5-speed manual transmission. The S Plus, SV, SR and SL models are equipped with a next-generation Nissan Xtronic transmission, helping them achieve 40 miles per gallon highway fuel economy.

4. Ford Fiesta — $14,090

2016 Ford Fiesta ST © Ford Motor Company

2016 Ford Fiesta ST © Ford Motor Company

The 2016 Ford Fiesta ST delivers everything customers could want in compact car performance. Drivers can relish in a precision sport-tuned suspension and braking system, electronic Torque Vectoring Control to reduce understeer, and three-mode electronic stability control.

Motivation comes courtesy of a 1.6-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine with standard six-speed manual transmission. “This is a rewarding car to rev,” notes Mark Roberts, Ford Fiesta calibration supervisor. “With 177 lb.-ft. of torque available from just 1,600 rpm and 202 lb.-ft. by 3,500 rpm, Fiesta ST gives the performance and feel of an engine twice its size. There’s no waiting at all for the power to just push you back in your seat.”
Complementing the performance is an aggressive, sporty design, unique ST high-mounted rear spoiler, interior trim accents, leather shift knob and ST sport cloth seats for that race car feel.

Customers who buy a new Fiesta ST get a complimentary day of performance driving instruction from ST Octane Academy at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

 3. Smart Fortwo — $13,270

Smart Fortwo © Daimler AG

Smart Fortwo © Daimler AG

The Smart Fortwo is a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-seater, 2-door hatchback city car manufactured and marketed by the Smart division of Daimler AG, introduced in 1998, now in its third generation. Marketed in 46 countries—in Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia and Europe—production of the Fortwo had surpassed 1.7 million units by early 2015.

The Fortwo is noted for its 2.69 meter overall length, high H-point seating, offset passenger and driver seats (in the first and second generation, the passenger seat is 15 centimetres further rearward than the driver’s), automated manual transmission (1st and 2nd generation), De Dion tube rear suspension, low CO2 emissions (119 grams per kilometre, North America, 1.0 Liter), two-part rear hatch, interchangeable plastic body panels and prominent steel hemispherical safety-cell, which is marketed as the Tridion cell and is often provided in a contrasting color to the vehicle’s body panels.

2. Mitsubishi Mirage — $12,995

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage © Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

2015 Mitsubishi Mirage © Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Achieving a lofty EPA fuel mileage rating of up to 37 mpg city/44 mpg highway, the 2015 Mitsubishi Mirage is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid gasoline vehicle available in America today with a combined fuel economy of 40 mpg.

Add into the mix the 2015 Mirage’s plentiful standard equipment package, welcome available upscale features, and very affordable pricing, and Mitsubishi Motors’ 5-door subcompact makes the ideal new car for a wide array of automotive consumers – first-time drivers, retirees, short-hop urban dwellers who live/work in the city or those with marathon commutes.

Along with its low price and high EPA-rated fuel economy, both the entry-level 2015 Mirage DE and the upscale Mirage ES boast an extraordinary level of features and accessories in their standard equipment packages.

Among the items included on the DE trim level are a sensational 4 speaker 140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with USB input; automatic climate control; upscale-looking rich high-gloss piano black center console trim; stylish rear spoiler; keyless entry with panic alarm; tilt steering; power windows with driver’s side auto-up/down; variable intermittent wipers; convenient split folding rear seat; rear seat heater ducts; body-colored power side mirrors, door handles and tailgate handle; plus many other welcome features.

1. Chevrolet Spark — $12,270

2016 Chevrolet Spark © General Motors

2016 Chevrolet Spark © General Motors

The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Spark is a completely redesigned version of itself, strengthening its exceptional reputation as a mini-car with a great deal to offer. From new available safety features that help protect those inside to a more efficient powertrain, the Spark gives customers features and technology that aren’t typically offered in its segment.

The Spark is sold in more than 40 markets around the world, with global sales of more than 1 million.

“Chevrolet is fast becoming one of the world’s most important mini- and small-car manufacturers, offering customers around the globe a new road to the refinement, efficiency and connectivity features that resonate with them,” says Alan Batey, president, GM North America.

The new Spark has a sleeker appearance, thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase, and an overall height that’s about 1.6 inches (40 mm) lower than the previous model. The lower profile reduces aerodynamic drag to help improve efficiency and interior changes maintain the Spark’s traditionally generous headroom.

It is also built on an all-new, more robust architecture that serves as the foundation for its more sophisticated driving experience. The stronger body structure enables engineers to tune ride and handling more precisely, for greater feelings of control and refinement, while fostering a quieter ride.

“At its core, the new Spark is still the fun, agile urban car that made the first-generation model so popular, but it delivers that fun driving experience with greater sophistication,” said Sam Basile, executive chief engineer. “And while it’s a truly global car, it is targeted for more developed vehicle markets, allowing engineers to focus more precisely on the materials and technologies that resonate with customers in those markets.”