Best hatchbacks


X-Small hatchbacks

If you want a tidy, fuel-efficient car that's easy to park and has room for a few friends and all your stuff, it's hard to beat a little hatchback. The diminutive size of these models belies their impressive versatility.
Not enough vehicles yet to rank
2020 Mitsubishi Mirage
Redesigned in 2014

Mitsubishi Mirage

MSRP
$13,995 - $17,295
Edmunds Rating
5.7 out of 10
Combined MPG
36 - 39



Small hatchbacks

Small hatchbacks range from practical economy cars to entry-level luxury vehicles, offering a range of features and price points. Many are variants of small sedans with a healthy dose of added cargo space.
1
Redesigned in 2019

Hyundai Veloster

MSRP
$18,800 - $28,350
Edmunds Rating
8.3 out of 10
Combined MPG
25 - 30
2
Redesigned in 2014

Kia Forte

MSRP
$18,300 - $26,100
Edmunds Rating
8.1 out of 10
Combined MPG
25 - 28
3
Redesigned in 2016

Honda Civic

MSRP
$21,650 - $36,995
Edmunds Rating
8.0 out of 10
Combined MPG
25 - 34



Edmunds' experts test 200 vehicles per year on our test track. We also test them using a 115-mile real-world test loop of city streets, freeways and winding canyons. The data we gather results in our ratings. They’re based on 30-plus scores that cover performance, comfort, interior, technology, utility and value.



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Video reviews

Honda Civic Type R vs. Hyundai Veloster N: 2019 Hot Hatchback Battle

Honda Civic Type R vs. Hyundai Veloster N: 2019 Hot Hatchback Battle

CARLOS LAGO: While it's not going to win any beauty pageants, the Honda Civic Type R is the de facto hot hatch. It's a blast to drive, with really engaging handling and pleasing road manners. KURT NIEBUHR: But what's its biggest competitor? How about the Hyundai Veloster N. It's Hyundai's first proper hot hatch for the USA, and I think it's up for the challenge. The question is, which one's worth your money? That's what we're going to find out. But before we get started, don't forget to click Like, Subscribe, and make sure to visit Edmunds to find your perfect car. OK, OK. So these cars don't line up quite so perfectly. Yeah, they're both high performance hatchbacks. Both have 2-liter, turbo-charged, four-cylinder engines, six-speed manual transmissions, automatic rev matching, and they both seat four people. There are differences, though, and big ones, too. For example, the Veloster has three doors. The Civic has three exhaust pipes. Price is a bigger concern. The Honda costs $6,700 more than the Veloster as equipped. And that's assuming you can find one of these at MSRP. It's also more powerful, even when the Veloster N is equipped with its performance back, like this one is. So the question really is, is the Honda's higher price worth the extra dough? First up, instrumented performance testing at the Edmunds test track. With a superior power-to-weight ratio, the Civic is unsurprisingly faster than the philosopher in a straight line. This particular Type-R, though, was a few tenths slower than the last one we tested. It had noticeable intervention that prevented quick up shifts. We suspected this was due to reliability concerns. After all, what good is 3/10 off your 0 to 60 time if you don't have a transmission to drive home with. Launching the Veloster N is tricky. The tires have a lot of grip when warm, and it's difficult to find the sweet spot between bogging the engine and excessive tire spin. On the upside, you could shift the six-speed transmission as quickly as you like. Both cars need to shift to third gear to reach 60 miles an hour, which worsens their 0 to 60 time and makes it less indicative of overall acceleration. Look at the quarter mile, though, and you see the Civic is much faster. The Civic consistently stops shorter than the Veloster during testing, with a nine-foot difference between the two best performances from these cars. Both vehicles are stable and predictable under simulated panic stops. Neither car exhibited odor or fade during testing, indicating they'll withstand normal use on a race track. It's worth noting that the lateral G-averages were the same regardless of stability control, showing that both car's stability control systems are tuned for high-performance driving. CARLOS LAGO: So as expected, the Honda Civic outperformed the handover lost her hand at the test track. But will those results translate to the racetrack? KURT NIEBUHR: Now, because we're at a race track, you'll probably hear some cars flying by. We spent all morning lapping these two cars and destroying their tires in the process. CARLOS LAGO: Much like you, we aren't pro racing drivers. And if you Google around, you'll find fast lap times for at least one of these vehicles. What we're actually interested in, though, is the difference in lap time that we've got from these two cars. And again, the faster car is the Civic Type R. KURT NIEBUHR: So if that's all you came here for, there's your answer. CARLOS LAGO: Now for the rest of you who care about how these actually drive from behind the wheel, that's what really get into next. KURT NIEBUHR: So Carlos, this car's fast. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, boy howdy. I mean, of course, it's the more powerful car here. It's the more fundamentally designed vehicle here, and the more expensive car, too, so no surprise. But man, you get going real quick in this. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, it's almost hard to drive this car. It takes a couple laps, simply because you have to get used to how fast it is. CARLOS LAGO: But beyond the speed this car feels special. It doesn't feel like a tarted up Civic. It feels like a special version of a car that has some resemblance to a Civic. Some of that's going to be in the engine, and that's going to be in the chassis, some of that's going to be in the decorative stuff here, like the production number right behind the shifter-- the metal shifter, the red interior accents. All that stuff kind of speaks to how significant of a car this is. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, I feel that a base Civic is at such a high level that it allowed Honda to focus more on the little special bits and pieces like that. CARLOS LAGO: You get this suspension that feels really sophisticated in the sense that it's really comfortable on the road. This doesn't punish you like so many firms sports cars do. This is a genuinely daily drivable car. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, and you could drive it in the plus R mode that we're in right now, and it wouldn't be over the top. We're driving on a really bumpy course surface, and it still rides really well. CARLOS LAGO: When the car is smooth and controlled at high speed, you are concerned about how it's moving around. And that allows you to go even faster. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: It allows you to go harder into braking zones, not be worried about, oh, can I maintain this speed through this corner here. There's a couple hairy corners on this track that this car feels totally fine in. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, but it is, after all, a front-wheel drive car. CARLOS LAGO: Yes. KURT NIEBUHR: And what I found that I had to do was really manage the power application coming out of even medium speed corners the car will light the inside front tire up, and it's cool, but it's slow. CARLOS LAGO: We have a ton of torque, and we have front-wheel drive car, so you have to drive these things responsibly. When you do it, it rewards you. I would go as far to say that this thing drives as good as its design is silly. KURT NIEBUHR: Absolutely. Absolutely. CARLOS LAGO: We've got three exhaust tips. That's very silly. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: This thing drives that well. On the downside, engine sound. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, it's actually hard to drive this car at the limit simply because when you're wearing a helmet, it's almost silent on the inside, even in plus R mode when it does get a little bit more race-y, this is still not much louder than a basic Civic. CARLOS LAGO: You have to watch the tac. I caught myself frequently balancing off the limiter just because I didn't realize it because the sounds not there. I love these seats. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah. CARLOS LAGO: Bucket seats are tricky. When I get in and out of this car, I have to put the seat back in order to comfortably exit it because these thigh bolsters make getting in and out difficult. But on the road just commuting in this thing, they're wonderful. KURT NIEBUHR: They're also very breathable seats. This car is so comfortable on the road. This is the car I want to drive home. CARLOS LAGO: It's the little things. That get the shifter right. They get the clutch engagement right. The steering feedback isn't quite as there as the Veloster, but the effort is good. KURT NIEBUHR: Also, that the brake pedal on this car really deserves special mention. It's high, it's firm, but it's never touchy. It's exactly where you want it to be on the street. It's exactly where you want it to be on the track, and it adds confidence. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, I think my only real demerits on this car are engine sound, rev matching isn't as aggressive as I would like it to be as somebody who uses rev matching, and shame on me, and blah, blah, blah. I can read the YouTube comments now. And it has three exhaust tips. So the overall design is just so cartoonish, the opposite of how the car drives. It's an absolute standout. KURT NIEBUHR: And it's fast. CARLOS LAGO: It rips. It rips. It rips but it's stable. Like through this high speed section here, you feel like you can carry so much speed through this blind complex of corners. And this is a hairy corner at full speed. KURT NIEBUHR: It is. So that's thumbs up from you? CARLOS LAGO: I'd say two. Well, maybe a thumb up and a half for-- I hate to keep coming down on the design, but-- KURT NIEBUHR: I would have to say that, even though I like driving both cars, this is the car I would want to drive home. CARLOS LAGO: I agree. KURT NIEBUHR: All right, so why don't we go hop in the Veloster? CARLOS LAGO: I think we should. KURT NIEBUHR: I'm really surprised that we're even driving a 2019 Hyundai Veloster. And it's because when the Veloster first came out, it was such a unique and interesting vehicle, but it wasn't that good to drive. I expected it to just kind of come out for a couple of years then Hyundai go, whoops, and never build a second one. But I'm really impressed that they came back and they built an all new Hyundai Veloster. And you know what? I like it. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, it's neat that not only has a mainstream automaker decided to make a three-door hatchback, they've also made this N version, which is a really well done $30,000 hot hatch. Yeah, they've transformed the standard Veloster into a very enjoyable car doing the usual hot hatch tricks. You know, really stiff suspension, turbo motor that's really powerful, and they've executed a really fun to drive car for the money. KURT NIEBUHR: Yeah, and not only that, but in the process they've given this car so much personality. It's scrappy. CARLOS LAGO: Both of these cars-- the Civic and the Veloster-- are slow cars made fast. This definitely feels like a slow car made fast. KURT NIEBUHR: Absolutely. CARLOS LAGO: You still have the Veloster interior trappings-- this plastic is pretty stiff and firm, not very good to look at. The shifter-- it works, but it still feels like it has the original Veloster trappings going on with it. On the other hand though, the trick bits are really trick, right? This engine makes good power, has good throttle response, it's very vocal, a lot more so than the Civic, and that means when you're hitting red line you can actually hear it happening. And I'm not staring at the tac in this car like I have to in the Type R. The rev matching works really well, and that's one thing I really like, as somebody who likes using rev matching. I know a lot of people out there who don't, but I like the fact that I can just trust it every single time. In the Civic, I don't. KURT NIEBUHR: And there is something else that the Veloster has that I wish the Civic had, and that's the ability to really go in and adjust every electronic setting. So you can change the way the car rev matches. You can change the limited slip settings. You can change the suspension settings, the throttle mapping, the exhaust settings. Everything can be customized. CARLOS LAGO: And then we have to talk about the parts where this falters a little bit versus the Civic. This car feels fast. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes. CARLOS LAGO: But the data shows it is not relative to the Civic. KURT NIEBUHR: That is true, and I think if you drove them in isolation, you would swear they're just as fast, especially with how involving it is to drive the Veloster N. It's a very exciting car to drive. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah, but when you look at the data, when you look at the lap times, when look at cornering speeds driving the two back to back, it's very apparent that the Civic is that much faster. And, of course, it's a more expensive car. No duh. It's more powerful, and so on and so forth. But I think that really isn't a discredit to the Veloster. I think it's part of the driving satisfaction. The Veloster decided to go with mechanically adjust-- electronically controlled mechanical flap in the exhaust that helps it make that pop. There's certainly a mode that switches on when you do that. The Civic, they've opted to go with a non-electronically adjustable thing. It's just those three pipes that work with different kind of back pressure to make it sound the way it does. That's nice on the road because it doesn't drone, but you don't get that excitement on the track that this thing has. KURT NIEBUHR: And I hate to bring in the way a car looks because that's so subjective. The Veloster drives like the Civic looks. The Civic drives like the Veloster. CARLOS LAGO: Exactly. But this is a ton of fun. I can't say that enough. Steering is really well weighted. Good feedback through it. Brakes are powerful. Everything here-- all the touch points. They've done their homework in making of Veloster N. KURT NIEBUHR: I actually prefer the feedback that comes through the wheel and in the Veloster than I do through the Civic. And that may be a function of how sophisticated and smooth everything is in that Civic. But I really like it in this car. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah I would not feel bad about driving this car daily. KURT NIEBUHR: Not at all. CARLOS LAGO: Yeah. As we come around this flat, skid pad like area-- both of these cars have a ton of power going into the front wheels, and under steer fighting it, especially when you're trying to power out is always an issue. What happened when you were doing that? KURT NIEBUHR: I found myself having to be very, very patient. Even though the limited slip is very sophisticated in this car, you have to wait because it's so easy to overwhelm the fronts on this car. And it's easy to get into a corner a little bit too quickly. And it's easy to get out of the corner a little bit too quickly. And front wheel drive cars are so dependent on the front tires. If you overcook them, you've lost them for a lap and you have to cool them down. CARLOS LAGO: Absolutely, or as we found, you can shoot chunks right off of them. KURT NIEBUHR: Yes, you can. CARLOS LAGO: What is amazing about both of these cars-- the Civic Type R is a very torque-y front drive car. No torques here. This is a very torque-y front wheel drive car, as well. No torques here. So verdict on the Veloster N? Thumb up. One thumb. KURT NIEBUHR: So, who wins? Actually, all of us win because both are fantastic hot hatches. They're so fun to drive. CARLOS LAGO: But the question we set out to answer is, is the Civic Type R's additional price worth it? Yes. KURT NIEBUHR: Absolutely, yes. CARLOS LAGO: From the moment that you sit in it, it feels very special. And then you start driving the car and it's so fast and it's comfortable and it's compliant, and it's really fast. Honda's made a great hot hatchback, and that doesn't mean the Veloster N is a bad car. If you can only swing 30 grand, you're going to have a lot of fun with this thing. Hyundai's turned the Veloster into something that's genuinely fun to drive, and still is really functional as a daily driver, too. Problem is, the Veloster N just can't hold a candle to how special the Civic Type R is to drive. And that's why the Civic wins this comparison. Now for more information on vehicles like these and for all your car shopping needs, be sure to visit Edmunds.com.

When it comes to performance, the Honda Civic Type R is the hottest of the hot hatchbacks. Meanwhile, the latest newcomer to the scene is the Hyundai Veloster N. The Hyundai costs much less and isn't as powerful, but is the Honda's additional performance worth the extra money? That's the question this Honda Civic Type R vs. Hyundai Veloster N comparison test seeks to answer.

FAQ

What are the best hatchbacks on the market?
Shoppers looking for a car that's big on practicality and frugal on gas should check out or top-rated extra-small hatchback, the Mitsubishi Mirage. Its amazing versatility and park-anywhere footprint make it a top pick. For a little bit more space and a little bit more fun, our top-rated small hatchback is Hyundai Veloster. With some sportier engine options, this car can be both useful and entertaining. Learn more
What is the top-rated hatchback for 2019?
The redesigned Hyundai Veloster was introduced in 2019, and became our top-rated hatchback for its fun-to-drive character, unique design, and useful cargo space. With multiple powertrain and trim options, including the aggressive Veloster N, it offers plenty of choices for buyers. The Honda Fit also remained a top-rated hatchback for the year because of its incredible cargo versatility. Learn more
What is the top-rated hatchback for 2018?
In 2018, our top-rated hatchback picks were the Honda Fit and Kia Forte. The extra-small Fit offers both standard active safety features and an adaptable cabin capable of storing a surprising amount of cargo. The Kia Forte offers a larger trunk space with the second row in place, lots of technology and comfort features, and more powerful engine options. Learn more
What are the best used hatchbacks to buy?
Look for "CPO" or certified pre-owned vehicles if you're shopping for used hatchbacks. Among lightly used extra-small hatchbacks likely to be available via CPO programs, we like the Honda Fit. If you need a little more passenger space, the Kia Forte is a good choice. Learn more

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