• May 11, 2008
Over in Europe, midsize cars like the Opel Vectra, Renault Laguna and Ford Mondeo have long been offered in multiple body configurations including four-door sedans, station wagons and, of course, five-door hatchbacks. Unlike Americans, who for some reason are averse to a fifth body opening unless the vehicle rides 4 to 6 inches higher than it should, Europeans have always appreciated the extra utility. The Opel Vectra is being replaced this summer by the redesigned and renamed Insignia, but so far we've only seen photos (either spy pics or official GM shots) of the four-door sedan that will likely land here later next year as the next Saturn Aura. A sharp-eyed photographer, however, has captured what may be the first shots of the new hatchback Insignia. The five-door version doesn't look radically different from the sedan, the main variance being the shorter rear deck that's attached to the rear glass. Will the hatchback arrive as an Aura at Saturn dealers? Highly improbable, but then so was the Astra, so anything is possible. We more likely might just get a wagon version that we haven't yet seen.
[Source: Winding Road]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Are we possibly seeing the basic shape of the new 9-5? I've read that it might be a hatch back and its based off the same platform as this car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I, for one, have always loved slick 3-door coupes, and 5-door hatchback sedans. I almost bought a 5-door Mazda 6, but that brings me to my main point.

      the number of doors is not the only consideration. A car must be the complete package, and compelling as a whole. If it is not, then the number of doors doesn't matter.

      The question should be... how many truly compelling 5-door sedans have been offered to the American buying public? Very few, and before people start mentioning Saabs and the like, those are an acquired taste, and don't even really try to be mainstream.

      This "Americans don't like hatchbacks" thing just reeks to me of mis-interpretation of the trends.

      SUVS are hugely popular, and minivans before that. BOTH have hatchbacks, and are perrenially favorites because of their practicality.

      Obviously the rear hatch door is not a disqualifying factor, something else is.

      Maybe "hatchback" refers to cars that have been too small, too rickety, and too cramped in the past. That doesn't mean it still is.

      The Mini is smaller, just as cramped, but well built, attractive, and quite popular.

      The 5-door wannabe wagon seems to be selling in the economy market right now, why else would subaru have ruined the already iffy looks of the Impreza if they didn't see a trend toward that, started by the Mazda 3.

      As I said, the number of doors doesn't matter as much as the overall package being something people WANT, from power, to options, colors, looks, seating space, everything. Even drivetrain layout to some of the more enthusiast buyers.

      If Mazda 6 5-door had been real AWD, or RWD.... I would probably be driving one now. Even the Faux-Wheel-Drive Mazdaspeed 6, an exemplary car in itself, didn't have a 5-door body-style option. Thus disqualified for me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Or (less likely but more interesting) will the WAGON come to Saturn dealers, getting Saturn on my list of possibles. My beastie's travel kennel wouldn't fit under that hatch with the rear seats up, so it's barely better than the sedan to me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Homer Simpson called - he wants his proportions back!

        I certainly hope the dude driving is a leprechaun. This thing has the same dopey proportions as the 500/Taurus. Looks to me like the roof and belt line need to be lowered about 50-75mm. The wheel openings are too small for such a big car. BMW gets away with the small openings because the car is shrink-wrapped to the chassis. This thing looks inflated with the same size openings.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A lot of the capacity for a hatch or wagon depends on the floor height. Of my two Saabs, my 1997 900 allows for more cargo height than my 2006 9-3 SportCombi and the larger opening area makes it easier to put larger things in and take them out. Hatchbacks tend to be more aerodynamic so I like them for that, plus they're not "stationwagons".
        • 6 Years Ago
        Stupid comments system. The only way to notify someone you've replied to their comment is to click the timestamp on their comment... but if they're not the original commenter in a subthread your comment gets placed somewhere random. BROKEN. BROKEN. BROKEN.

        It's hardly fair to compare a Trollhattan Truck to ... well, anything. A friend of mine in college had one, and we carried a loveseat in the back at one point. I don't think we got the hatch closed over that one, but it did fit in. The current Sportkombi suffers from GMification compared to the quirky but iconic 900s.

        While I don't doubt I could get Trudy's travel kennel into the Insignia hatch, I'd bet money that the hatch wouldn't close unless at least one seat was folded down and the kennel was resting on the folded seatback.

        And I LIKE the shape of a well-designed wagon, and might buy one even if I didn't have a big dog.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm liking the US getting some of the formerly "Europe Only" cars.

        http://www.caroftheday.org
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here we go again with that unjustified comment about Americans being "averse" to hatchbacks. That's a bunch of BS. Sure, Americans are averse to stupid ugly hatchbacks, that typically originate in Europe, but hatchbacks in general are very desirable. I have NEVER heard anyone state that they wouldn't drive a hatchback. The hatches on 350Zs have never hurt sales, nor on the previous generations of the Honda Civics and Accords. I'm just trying to think of a manufacturer that makes a hatchback that's not a hot-seller that would cause Autoblog and other entities to make such ridiculous statements. I can't think of any failed attractive hatchbacks.

      If it's the sawed off backend of the BMW Z cars are Mercedes hatches, sure, those are losers. But make it streamlined as this Opel, and it's a winner.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Isn't that Insignia hatch "der cousin" of the Passat CC.....
      • 6 Years Ago
      No thanks. The rear end looks so unattractively bloated. I'd rather they bring us over a wagon version rather than this. Especially if they can make it as attractive as the the rest of the car and the new Mazda 6 wagon.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Very pretty hind end on that sedan.

      I wonder if Americans are maybe ready to accept hatchbacks again. I think they got a bad name in the gas-starved '70s, when people paid up for cheezy, ugly hatches like the Datsun B210.

      But those days are far behind us. And hatchbacks are totally practical (I once moved a full-size sofa 180 miles in the back of my sister's '87 Saab 900).

      Time for a comeback?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Unlike Americans, who for some reason are averse to a fifth body opening unless the vehicle rides 4 to 6 inches higher than it should..."

      That crystallizes the SUV craze/stupidity perfectly.

      On the other hand, this 5-door doesn't look nearly as good as the sedan photos I've seen far. Perhaps that's because this is mule and not fully trimmed out, but still, it looks more like a Camry hatchback. I think it's the Euro standard pedestrian-friendly front hood.

      UH2L
      http://www.thingsivenoticed.com

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