The Best Hatchbacks For Your Money

Toyota Prius

It's no surprise you're in the market for a hatchback. They are extremely versatile cars. The best hatchbacks combine comfort, good looks, ample cargo space and value. Whether you're just starting out or raising a growing family, a hatchback can be the perfect vehicle.

How do you choose the hatchback that's right for you? To help you make just the right choice, we looked at base price, the NHTSA overall safety ratings, and the EPA's official combined fuel economy (MPG) results. We also examined cargo capacity, which is based on the manufacturer's specs.

Under $25k

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

The car that jump-started the "hybrid" revolution, the Toyota Prius is relatively expensive when compared to traditional hatchbacks, but it's especially roomy and reliable, and it gets awesome gas mileage. The Prius offers a smooth ride, though with sluggish acceleration. With comfortable seating for four plus space for two dogs and groceries, the Prius is a great choice for a family car.

Safety Rating: 4 of 5

Fuel Economy: 50 combined

Cargo capacity: 21.6 cubic feet

Under $20k

Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 is an affordable and stylish hatchback. It looks sporty, handles well, offers decent acceleration for a hatchback, and has an attractive, high-tech interior. Seating is a bit cramped in the rear, but cargo space is solid. The Mazda 3 is known for its safety and reliability.

Safety Rating: 5 of 5

Fuel Economy: 33 combined

Cargo capacity: 20.2 cubic feet


Volkswagen Golf

​Volkswagen Golf

An affordable and well-made hatchback, the Volkswagen Golf combines good gas mileage and comfortable seating, with a stylish, well-made interior. It's a high-quality family car that offers great handling and a smooth drive, all with acceptable cargo capacity.

Safety Rating: not rated

Fuel Economy: 30 combined

Cargo capacity: 13.7 cubic feet

Fiat 500

Fiat 500

Many love the distinct, European look of the Fiat 500. The cargo space is quite small, and the car is probably best suited for city driving, not long hauls. It does, however, offer good performance, superior handling, and better than average fuel economy. It's also a fun ride.

Safety Rating: 4 of 5

Fuel Economy: 30 combined

Cargo capacity: 9.5 cubic feet

About $15k

Honda Fit

Honda Fit

The Honda Fit combines Honda reliability, excellent gas mileage, and decent cargo room with a great price. The rear seat is tight, and the engine can be noisy at high speeds, but the interior is attractive, and visibility is quite good.

Safety Rating: 5 of 5

Fuel Economy: 35 combined

Cargo capacity: 16.6 cubic feet


Kia Soul

Kia Soul

The funky Kia Soul is affordable, safe and delivers relatively huge cargo space. It's a great car for a young couple. That said, fuel economy is not great and acceleration is not impressive. The interior looks as fun and modern as the exterior.

Safety Rating: 5 of 5

Fuel Economy: 26 combined

Cargo capacity: 24.2 cubic feet

Under 15k

Chevrolet Sonic

Chevrolet Sonic

The Chevy Sonic is affordable, has a good-sized hatch, good fuel economy, and a sleek interior with a MINI Cooper-like gauge cluster. Acceleration is decent and there are plenty of optional entertainment and safety features available, including heated seats, rearview camera and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Safety Rating: 5 of 5

Fuel Economy: 30 combined

Cargo capacity: 19.0 cubic feet

Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

The small, zippy Ford Fiesta is one of the few brand new cars with a base model under $15,000. Solid handling, a smooth ride, and decent fuel economy make this one of the best hatchbacks available, particularly those who are looking for a hatchback at a low price. The Fiesta's attractive styling and interior controls make this a popular choice.

Safety Rating: 4 of 5 (note: side crash test received only 2 of 5)

Fuel Economy: 29 combined

Cargo capacity: 14.9 cubic feet


Shopping Tools for Finding the Best Used Hatchbacks

LendingTree offers tools to help you find the auto loan that's best for you. You can compare loans, learn about refinancing your loan, and learn how your credit history can help you get a better loan. Of course, not everyone is in the market for a new car. LendingTree Autos can help you find the right car for you, whether new or used. Some of the best hatchbacks on the market are pre-owned. Many are available for under $10,000, and even under $5,000. I found several for sale near me.

Under 10k

This 2007 MINI Cooper S hardtop is available for $9,999. It has 90,000 miles. The MINI offers smooth acceleration and great handling. Its classic European styling is quite appealing. This particular model has front and side airbags, accessible controls, and offers good gas mileage.

This 2010 Nissan Versa has just over 50,000 miles. It sports comfortable seating in both the front and rear, and plenty of cargo space. It also has front and side airbags.

Under 5k

If you have less than $5,000 to spend, you may not get the best hatchback but there are several vehicles available.

This 2003 Pontiac Vibe GT has over 114,000 miles. But, it has plenty of room, ABS brakes, driver and passenger airbags. This 2004 Hyundai Elantra GT, for example, comes with a 12-month warranty, driver and front passenger airbags, and leather upholstery.

With the right tools, finding the best hatchback is a snap.

Picture of Toyota Prius courtesy of PertiDish38, used under CC license.

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