Why have 2-door hatchbacks/liftbacks fallen out of favor?

NecroJoe

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Back in the day, if you wanted a 2-door hatch/liftback, there were a number of options available. Nowadays, I can't really think of many. The Mini, Nissan Z, Audi TT and the Hyundai Veloster. There was the Golf for a while, but it doesn't look like that's available anymore. Then you start getting into crossovers and SUVs like the Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, some could argue the Mazda MX-30


In 2001:
Mini
Audi TT
VW Beetle
VW Golf
Honda Civic
Nissan 350Z
Suzuki Swift
Ford Focus
Hyundai Accent
Jeep Wrangler
Mazda 323
Smart
Honda Insight
Mercury Cougar
Pontiac Firebird
Chevy Camaro
Toyota Celica
Scion tC
Mitsubishi Eclipse
Mercedes C and CL
Acura Integra
Hyundai Tiburon
Daewoo Lanos
 
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kalf

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kalf

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I personally never understood the use for most 2-door car with more than 2 seats. Especially with the prices of a new 4-door being practically the same as a 2-door. Maybe convertibles I understand, 'cause it would be a lot harder with more doors and sportscars I get it too.
But for a car I would daily drive, because of the ease of use/practicality I would never buy one new.
You either have a door that is to small to comfortably get someone or something in the back, or you get a door that is so massive you can hardly open it when parked next to another car.

That is purely my personal opinion of course :ROFLMAO: . But I think it's mostly about supply and demand and keeping costs low. When most people do end up buying the 4-door version, it's easier to just save the cost for tooling and development of a 2-door and simply scrap it.
 

kalf

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Another big part I think is the fact that apparently the current market seems to love crossovers and SUV's for some reason and that's where the money is for the car manufacturers. It looks like many car manufacturers don't feel like hatchbacks, saloons or station wagons are the way to go. And since the fuel consumption and emission regulations in many countries aren't a problem for EV's it's getting even easier to sell big SUV's and crossovers. They still need a bigger amount of energy 'cause they'll never be as efficient as a smaller car, but I guess prices for electricity will have to get x10 higher before the general crowd will get that or mind about it.
I prefer pretty much every decent station wagon over an SUV or crossover, but apparently people who like 2-door hatchbacks or station wagons are not a big enough part of the market to continue making them.
 

NecroJoe

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I personally never understood the use for most 2-door car with more than 2 seats. Especially with the prices of a new 4-door being practically the same as a 2-door. Maybe convertibles I understand, 'cause it would be a lot harder with more doors and sportscars I get it too.
But for a car I would daily drive, because of the ease of use/practicality I would never buy one new.
You either have a door that is to small to comfortably get someone or something in the back, or you get a door that is so massive you can hardly open it when parked next to another car.

I used to have a Mercury (sold as Ford elsewhere) Cougar. Man, I loved that car. I actually didn't find the longer doors hard to get out of in parking lots...in fact, I found it *easier* to get in and out, because the seat wasn't behind the framing of the door opening like it is in my current Mazda 3 hatch. With the seat in a comfortable position in my Mazda, to get out, I have to sort or pull myself forward to get around the door frame.

Mazda 4-door hatchback:
1664964794051.png


Mercury 2-door lift-back:
1664964907546.png




The back seats were adequate for occasional guests. My 50+ year old parents came out to visit, and we used my car. While "cozy", it was manageable. It certainly wouldn't be now, though, 15 years later, with them in their mid-to-upper 60s.

I might actually think that because people are holding off having kids for longer, that this would mean that car-buying adults are in a phase of their where they didn't need kid car seats for longer, and would help the 2-door market. But then in that 2-door market, there's hardly anymore liftbacks/hatchbacks.

1664964222728.png





That is purely my personal opinion of course :ROFLMAO: . But I think it's mostly about supply and demand and keeping costs low. When most people do end up buying the 4-door version, it's easier to just save the cost for tooling and development of a 2-door and simply scrap it.

Ahh, but *why* did the demand drop? I guess that's what I'm getting at. I assumed they stopped making them because they stopped selling...but why did we stop buying them, when they used to sell so seemingly well for so long?
 

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Matt2000

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Man, I miss the OG Puma and the Cougar, they still look good. Long live 3-door cars. I don't really know what a liftback is though, that's just a hatchback to me.

The only thing I will say is that cars are getting bigger and parking spaces (in Europe at least) aren't getting bigger, the big doors on a 3-door car would be a real issue now. The huge doors on my 2002 3-door Freelander are difficult enough, and so were the doors on my sister's 2003 3-door Mini. Obviously, the US had 2-door cars with huge doors back in the 1960s so spaces were suitable.

Oddly, they never made the front doors on a 3-door Discovery any bigger because screw back seat passengers. I would be fine with that idea on modern cars because, as the sticker says above, I hate people. I'm also on-board with the secret suicide door that the RX-8 had, the MX-30 has and lots of pickups have. Many people find them pointless, but it lets a car keep sporty or coupe styling while still technically being a 5-door. I've never seen any with opening windows, so the costs associated with those don't have to be taken into account like a 5-door.
 

NecroJoe

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I don't really know what a liftback is though, that's just a hatchback to me.

In the US, both are very often called "hatchback" if you see a car and need a word to describe it. But when people just hear "hatchback", they tend to only think of the "boxy" rears, like a shortened wagon. "Liftback" is used less frequently, but in my mind it is a hatchback that's more sloped, and there's a flat area of bodywork at the base of the glass, that looks like it could be a traditional trunk. There's likely no 'official' definition, and there's likely some models that sort of dance on the line between the two...but that's the division in my head.

Hatchback:
1664969238719.png

1664969353619.png

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Liftback:
1664969333425.png

1664969466734.png

1664969644141.png
 

DanRoM

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Those are coupés.
Something like the Mondeo five-door-not-estate would be a liftback. Or the cars that manufacturers insist on calling "4-door coupés", if their rear window is part of the trunk lid.
 

NecroJoe

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Those are coupés.
Something like the Mondeo five-door-not-estate would be a liftback. Or the cars that manufacturers insist on calling "4-door coupés", if their rear window is part of the trunk lid.

The "four door coupe' is just indicative of the sloping roofline, and doesn't define either a trunk lid or a "hatchback" for how the rear opens. Merc CLS, similar BMWs, Audi A5 4-door all have traditional trunks. The A7's rear window went up with the trunk lid, and wikipedia calls it a liftback.
 

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Always thought these were a bit weird.

Of course the reason 2-door hatches/liftbacks have disappeared is SUVs. They've replaced nearly every corner of the automotive market. Heck, they've killed the mini-van, which had killed the station wagon.
 

Matt2000

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In the US, both are very often called "hatchback" if you see a car and need a word to describe it. But when people just hear "hatchback", they tend to only think of the "boxy" rears, like a shortened wagon. "Liftback" is used less frequently, but in my mind it is a hatchback that's more sloped, and there's a flat area of bodywork at the base of the glass, that looks like it could be a traditional trunk.

Fair enough, must be a US thing as I consider all cars where the glass lifts up with the boot lid to be hatchbacks. Wikipedia still lists those cars under Hatchback too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Hatchbacks
 

NecroJoe

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Fair enough, must be a US thing as I consider all cars where the glass lifts up with the boot lid to be hatchbacks. Wikipedia still lists those cars under Hatchback too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Hatchbacks
The third car I remember my parents having as a kid was a 1983 Ford Escort in the late 80s. It was the 3-door, and while today I might be inclined to differentiate it as a liftback, Ford called it a "hatchback". Amusingly, Toyota called their similarly styled Tercel a "liftback" around the same time, though it is actually missing that little flat area at the base of the glass, so I'd be more inclined to call it a hatchback.

Ford:
ford-escort-3-door-hatchback-back-side-2-290714.jpg


Tercel
maxresdefault.jpg
 

NecroJoe

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If the 2005 Mustang had been a hatchback/liftback, I would have bought one. I just had a need to carry too many large, oddly shaped things (specifically task chairs) that would never fit in a coupe, or even a sedan, with a traditional trunk.
 

NecroJoe

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Couldn’t you get the Infiniti g35 in this configuration?
I would have thought so, too, and started writing a post with "Oh, right! Good call!" due to it sharing the platform with the Z, but no. They seem to have re-worked it quite a bit for the Infiniti, and it has a traditional trunk.

I couldn't tell if the photos of the trunk I was finding were the coupe or sedan, but found used listings of coupes that had included photos of the open trunk. https://www.jdpower.com/inventory/2...pokane-wa/jnkcv54e65m416991?dealercode=423125

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2023 Aston Martin Vantage is still a liftback/hatchback... I'll just have to get one of those, I guess.

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Though, this seems like a very impractical version of this trunk style, and it seems like it doesn't give any functional benefit from a traditional trunk...seems like an odd choice beyond tradition.
 
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