12 Most Handsome Hatchbacks Ever Built

Jeff Perez
28 June 2013


Here in the good ole’ U.S. of A., we’re not partial to favor the hatchback market (not to be confused with “fastbacks” like the Mustang). It’s sort of a love/hate relationship with the quirky little cars. But elsewhere in the world, hatchbacks have been embraced since the dawn of time. And they’ve quickly grown to become a staple in the European market.

Looking to the past, as well as at our current range of hatchbacks, there are lot of fetching options. We were curious though, what are some of the prettiest hatchbacks of all time?

12. AMC Gremlin

Go ahead, laugh it up. But take a look back at the American hatchback industry in the early 1970s and you’ll see that the Gremlin was a bold and radical design compared to the mostly tame Pinto and Vega. Also, it didn’t explode as much. Designed by AMC engineer Bob Nixon, the Gremlin sat on a shortened Hornet platform and boasted a Kammback-type tail.

11. Toyota AE86

Today, we mostly associate the Corolla with the efficient, best selling sedan, but back in the mid-80s, it was a different story. The AE86 was a gorgeous box of Japanese hatch and it even inspired the Scion FR-S that we know and love today.

10. Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The first newcomer on our list travels to us from the far east. Hyundai introduced the Veloster in 2011, with the hopped-up Veloster turbo coming only a year later. The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 201-hp does come with a bit of giddy-up, but it’s that unique wedge-back shape and the lovable three-door layout that really keeps us interested.


In 1965, MG along with Pininfarina were credited with producing the world’s “first volume-production sportscar so equipped [with a hatchback].” The revolutionary new designed lasted for 15 years before the GT was taken off the market for good.

8. Volkswagen Beetle

Everyone’s favorite bug is also one of our favorite hatchbacks of all time (note: we understand the original was not actually a true “hatchback”). Developed back in 1938, the Beetle was considered by some as the blueprint for some of the modern hatchbacks we see today. Although, that rounded bubble shape would leave some in disagreement.

Today, the Beetle lives on with a handsome new set of lines courtesy of Volkswagen, and a range of new engines. Still, that shape is what gets you.

7. Citroen DS3 Racing

In 2010, French automaker Citroen revealed their performance-inspired DS3 at the Geneva Motor Show. The well-equipped hot-hatch comes with 207-horses and a choice of two color combinations: white with grey racing stripes, or grey with orange racing stripes. Take that, subtlety.

6. Audi A1 Clubsport Quattro

It was like a breath of fresh air when Audi unveiled its A1 Clubsport Quattro to some unsuspecting fanboys at Worthersee back in 2011. The all-wheel-drive, 500-hp concept came equipped with classic Quattro lines complete with a set of high-spoke racing wheels, a two-tone persona and a rear wing that seemed to go on for days. It get’s us all hot just talking about it.

5. Fiat 500 Nuovo

In 1957 when Fiat launched the original 500 Nuovo, it was the darnedest, most adorable little hatch anyone ever did see. Beady little headlights, tiny little mirrors, a shiny mustache grille- what’s not to love?

Now we won’t say the current generation of 500 is really a bad looking car, per se, but can you really compare it to the original? I think not.

4. Volkswagen GTI MK1

The one that started it all; the GTI MK1. For seven generations, the Volkswagen Golf /GTI has been one of the most highly-praised cars on the planet, and for good reason. But VW never would have been where they are today if it weren’t for this handsome little box of goodness.

3. Volvo C30 Polestar

That’s right, a Volvo, and a damn fine looking one at that. The C30 Polestar was Volvo’s 250-horsepower response to the haters of the world. Shaking off its safe and boring personality, the Swedes went for something a little more brash- and brash it was.

The 250-hp, hotted-up hatch came to us from across the Swedish pond with all-wheel-drive and an insane full-suede dash, but only for a short while. Also, baby blue is standard, which is pretty gnarly.

2. Vauxhall/Opel Astra VXR

Easily, the Astra VXR is one of the most underrated hot hatches we’ve seen in recent history. Granted, if this were a list of the “12 most performance-driven hot hatches ever built,” then maybe it might not have made the cut (although it’s no slouch).

Based on looks alone, someone at Vauxhall/Opel deserves a raise. Smooth sweeping lines, a handsome set of wheels, and a rear-end that makes the Kardashians jealous. The thing is a supermodel of the hatchback world.

1. Lancia Delta HF Integrale

If you didn’t think this hot hatch was going to be at the top of our list, you’re a fool. This is the best hatchback ever made, bar none. Aside from performance, there was just something so stunning about the Delta HF Integrale (more specifically the Evo II pictured here), and in reality, most of the Lancia lineup at the time.

That signature shape paved the way for a European Car of the Year award in 1980 and world-renowned notoriety from then on. Looking back on the Lancia lineup today, we find mostly disappointment with the current Delta. We should be thankful then that there are a few good folks out there who have preserved this classic hatch for us to continue to gawk over.

Did we miss any? Let us know.

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