Hatchbacks at the 2024 Chicago Auto Show

Hatchbacks have a long history in Europe and Asia and are quickly gaining favor (once again) here in the United States -- probably riding on the heels of today’s crossover craze. Traditionally, hatchbacks have four-doors and a large "fifth" door in the back that takes the place of a trunk (hence the name hatchback). There’s also a segment of hatchbacks that have just two or three (Hyundai Veloster) side doors that are often also considered sporty coupes.

Hatchbacks first garnered favor in the U.S. in the 1970s when a fuel crisis forced automakers to quickly downsize and spurred sales of inexpensive, small hatchbacks from the Japanese market. As fuel prices stabilized, buyers turned back to more traditional sedans and wagons simply because most hatchbacks were economy models that didn't meet the needs of American buyers -- think Ford Pinto or Chevrolet Citation.

Still, hatchbacks have always had a place in the U.S. market. There was the original "hot hatch," the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI, that fostered a host of copycats in a class that is still very popular today. And a new craze of large, and sometimes luxurious hatches, that blend coupe-like styling with wagon-like versatility.

You can find the following Hatchbacks on display at the 2024 Chicago Auto Show or at the Vehicles on Display section of the auto show Web site.