Here at Shifting Lanes, we love us some hatchbacks. I’ve owned two, Greg currently owns one, and deep down we know Hansen desperately wants one. They offer more things to more people than just about any other segment of car. They’re small, practical and economical, but most of all they’re great fun to drive. My first Focus only had 140 horsepower, but that didn’t stop me from leaving Greg and his Taurus in a gynormous cloud of tire smoke. They’re a staple on roads across the civilized world.
Lucky for us there appears to be a hatchback boom happening here in the states. Ford is absolutely killing it with the Fiesta and Focus. Both come in high performance, turbocharged ST trim and the Focus even comes in ludicrous mode in the form of the RS. I have often wondered how long Ford’s chief rival, Chevrolet, could go without bringing a quality hatch to the market. Well they took their sweet ass time but finally in the fall of 2016 they will launch the Cruze hatchback. And here’s the surprising bit, it looks good. Not to say that Chevy is incapable of making a good looking car, but when you consider the Spark and the Sonic I was starting to wonder.
The Cruze hatchback will have all the tech gizmos that appear to be standard on modern cars including Wi-fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Power will come from a 1.4 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder producing 154 horsepower. Since they’re the hatchback newbies, I’ll offer Chevy one piece of advice: make a manual transmission option. Yes I understand there are people out there that don’t like to row their own gears and these people will need one of those new chic 29 speed automatics. However, a hatchback without a manual transmission option is borderline criminal. Part of a hatchback’s appeal is the fun. Manual transmissions are fun and thus they should be the option of choice to your more intelligent customers. I could go on a very long rant about the benefits of the manual transmission, however we don’t have the time.
Another good looking hatchback is always good news. What would be better news? Chevy throwing about 270 horsepower at it and making an hot version.