The 5 Best Hatchbacks of 2018 (And 1 That Blows Them All Away)
Hatchbacks seem to be making a comeback and for good reason. They are fun to drive, very versatile, and they look good. We are proud to present you with the 5 best hatchbacks of 2018.
In making our list we considered a few things, but as always, we placed performance at the tippy-top of the list.
The reason we always place performance above all else is that performance is all that matters. Some might argue with this but those people are wrong.
Placing anything above performance when it comes to cars is the same as placing looks above taste when eating food. That’s like saying: “I paid a shitton for this wedding cake and it looks amazing but it tastes like old goat cheese”.
Why would anyone do this?
I don’t know and I don’t care. You’re here because you want to know what the best hatchbacks for 2018 are and how much they cost. So I made a list of the top 5 and ranked them by price from low to very high.
Best Hatchbacks of 2018 (By Price)
- Subaru Impreza (From $18,500)
- Ford Fiesta ST (From $22,000)
- Volkswagen Golf R (From $39,785)
- Ford Focus RS (From $41,100)
- Audi RS7 (From $113,900)
Before we go into each car I am very well aware that there a bunch of hatchbacks out there. I’m also aware that some of the best hatchbacks aren’t available in the U.S. (like the Audi RS3 hot hatch).
But, this list represents a few things.
The first is that it’s comprehensive in terms of pricing. It encompasses very affordable and not so very affordable.
Secondly, these are all hatchbacks and not station wagons, which is an entirely different set of cars apparently.
And third, it looks at performance differently across the lineup. From everyday driveability and reliability to pavement destroying.
Hatchback vs Station Wagons
A very confusing thing for most consumers is the differences between station wagons and hatchbacks. They can be very hard to tell apart.
So, here are the similarities:
- Both are “Two-Box” design configurations, which means they have a shared volume for passengers and cargo.
- They both have a rear door hinged at the roofline, instead of below the window like a sedan.
And here’s what makes a station wagon different than a hatchback:
- Wagons are usually longer and more likely to have a “D-pillar”.
- The rear door is usually more vertical.
- Rear suspension is designed for an increased load.
- Use of a multi-part rear door design that extends to the bumper.
Examples of station wagons include the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, Audi RS6, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon.
You might notice a lack of American auto-makers in this list of station wagons.
Well, that’s because, by-and-large, Americans hate station wagons more than they hate Al-Queda. It’s weird too because they make great cars, which you can read about in my rant: SUV vs Crossover – What’s the Difference?
Now that we are good one what sets a hatchback apart from a station wagon it’s time to look at the 5 best hatchbacks of 2018.
5.Best Hatchback Under $20K – Subaru Impreza
Why it made the list:
- Standard all-wheel-drive
- Great safety features
- Very nice standard options
The Subaru Impreza has been around since 1993 and has gone through four generations since that time.
Currently, the Impreza is in its fifth generation and the changes over time have made this car far more than what it’s ever been.
Safety, practicality, and utility have always been at the heart of the Impreza and the newest generation builds on an already good platform by keeping its goals clear.
And while this might not be the best hatchback for rally-racing, the car is a high performer in other areas, namely safety.
That’s right, the Subaru Impreza is loaded with some very impressive standard safety features which include:
- EyeSight Driver Assist – monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control and warns you when straying from your lane.
- Pre-Collision Braking – Will apply full braking force and can bring you to a complete stop in emergency braking.
- Subaru Starlink – Includes advanced automatic collision notification, roadside assistance, and stolen vehicle recovery.
- Blind Spot Detection
- LED Steering responsive headlights and high-beam assist
- Rear-view camera and reverse automatic braking
Those seeking technology will be pleasantly surprised too.
The Impreza comes standard with a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apply CarPlay connectivity.
All of this in a good looking, all-wheel-drive hatchback that seats four comfortably, has torque-vectoring, and a 152-hp 2.0 Boxer engine as standard.
Best of all it starts at less than $20,000 making it the cheapest, and one of the safest, hatchbacks you can buy.
4. Best Hatchback Under $30K – Ford Fiesta ST
Why it made the list:
- Turbocharged engine
- Sport-tuned suspension
- Fun to drive on every occasion
While the Fiesta ST might be a little small and maybe not as performance-focused as its big brother the Focus RS, it’s a pure hot hatch that’s fun to drive no matter what.
Powered by a 197-hp 1.6-Liter Turbocharged inline-four-cylinder and equipped with front-wheel-drive, this is a zippy little car that feels more like a go-cart on steroids than a hatchback.
A manual gearbox is the only option you get here, but don’t worry it’s extremely forgiving and user-friendly.
The fact that it is approachable to amateurs adds to the value of this car and makes it an affordable sports car experience for all skill levels.
Standard brake-based torque vectoring allow it to swiftly tackle corners with confidence and really promotes reckless driving and that’s something we just love.
It comes standard with 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with optional NAV, but the real deal option you want is the heated Recaro sport seats.
The Recaro seats along with optional Black 17-inch wheels and red brake calipers make this car a sporty looking, fun-to-drive and still insanely affordable car that everyone would enjoy.
3. Best Hatchback Under $40K – Volkswagen Golf R
Why it made the list:
- Performance focused
- Fantastic driving dynamics
- Blends performance and practicality
Powered by a 292-hp turbocharged inline 2.0-Liter four-cylinder the Golf R is the best hatchback for anyone who wants a sporty, fun, practical car.
It’s not too loud on the outside or on the inside, but its styling is handsome and it’s interior boast some very high-quality goods.
Standard features include satellite radio, NAV, Bluetooth connectivity, heated seats, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.
More importantly is the standard all-wheel-drive, sport-tuned suspension, and adaptive dampers.
Some luxurious features come with the Golf R as well placing it high in the spectrum of Volkswagens offerings and makes it a much better bang-for-the-buck than the Audi A3 on which it shares a platform and motor.
The manual gearbox might not be as quick as the automatic, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in engagement.
This is a fun, very nice, and well-equipped hatchback that’s comfortable for drivers and passengers alike.
Because of its size, it’s perfect for commuting and daily driving while still providing ample space for storage and transport and tons of performance.
In fact, the Golf R is the alternative for adults looking for performance in a daily driver without looking like one of those high-school kids with a gigantic spoiler on their trunk.
2. Best Hatchback Under $50K – Ford Focus RS
Why it made the list:
- Rally-driving dynamics
- Fantastic acceleration
- Drift Mode
Ford has officially ended the production on this performance minded hatchback which is par-for-the-course with Ford.
See, Ford has a habit of making something good and then discontinuing it in favor of a mass-produced, shitty vehicle.
The weird thing is that the Ford Focus is one of the best selling cars of all time so continuing with this trim makes easy sense, but whatever.
Let’s be happy we got it in the first place.
What is the Ford Focus RS you ask?
Well, It’s an all-wheel-drive rally car with blinkers and a back seat.
Stiff ride, aggressive styling, and a beautiful exhaust note make this thing a lot more visceral than our other options.
It rockets from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds thanks to its wonderful 350-hp turbocharged four-cylinder.
A manual gearbox is the only offering here and it comes standard with torque vectoring all-wheel-drive and a “Drift Mode” option that allows you to drive like a total degenerate.
Standard options include RS driving modes with adjustable suspension and stability control, sport steering wheel, 8.0-inch “Sync 3” touchscreen infotainment system, and dual-zone auto climate control.
This a fun car that is pure to form and performance focused through-and-through but it might not be for those seeking a comfortable and cushy drive to work.
However, it is definitely the best hatchback for hooligans looking to act-the-fool and cut loose once in a while.
1. The Best Hatchback – Audi RS7
Why it tops the list:
- Absolutely insane performance
- Twin-Turbo V8
- Unmatched luxury
Marketed as a “Sportback” the Audi RS7 is the largest car on this list, the most expensive, and the most irresponsible.
The fact that a car like this exists speaks to the hedonistic society we live in today.
Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 the Audi RS7 cranks out an incredible 560-hp.
But wait, there’s more!
Opt-in for the “Performance” package and you get 605-hp. That’s right, you get enough power to launch yourself to the moon. If you want to know more about what it’s like read our review of the Audi RS7 Performance.
Engage launch control, say a quick prayer, slam the gas pedal down and listen to that exhaust scream as you pass into a different dimension.
That delicious V8 is married to a sport-tuned automatic 8-speed transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive which is good for a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds. 0-100 comes in just 7.3 seconds making this hatchback the best hatchback for inducing a spiritual experience.
Absolutely insane performance in a car that weighs roughly 4,500 pounds. And it looks amazing too, with 20-inch wheels, honeycomb stitched sport-bucket seats, Alcantara roof-liner and flat-bottom steering wheel.
Audi’s digital dashboard is the absolute bee’s knees and looks and feels incredible while you’re driving.
The Audi RS7 is a brutal performance machine shrouded in enough luxury to turn heads of those driving even the most venerable luxury cars and it is by far the best hatchback ever made by human hands.
The Best Hatchbacks Wrap-Up
Whether you’re seeking an affordable daily driver with practicality, or whether you desire a pure performance monster, these are the 5 best hatchbacks you can buy today.
Remember, this list is how I see things. Maybe none of the cars on this list are the hatchback you’ve been dreaming of and that’s okay.
To me, this list represents the best across a spectrum in the segment that spans safety to performance and luxury.
And now that you know the difference between station wagons and hatchbacks you can be properly armed in your search for your the best hatchback for you.
But, maybe you still want to keep your options open, and if that’s the case, check out my post: Best Four Door Sports Cars to find something that’s right for you.
If you have found the hatchback you’ve been looking for then be sure to check out our guide: All of the Best Times to Buy a Car to ensure you get the best deal.