Hatchbacks are some of one our favorite picks of all the car models out there. When you compare a sedan to a hatchback, you will find the latter is more spacious and it has a better fuel economy.

But then again, you hear people say Hatchbacks are “Cars for losers” – well, those people are entitled to their own opinion. We are about to dispel the lies and stigmatization.  Look around – tell me if you will not spot a hatchback. There is a reason hatchbacks have become so popular over the years.

In case you are looking for a compact hatchback, below are our top picks.

Mazda 3

Mazda 3In its class/price range, the Mazda 3 is friendly, economical and fun to drive. It is one of the cars with an efficient fuel economy.  If you are on a fairly limited budget, the Mazda 3 is the right fit for you.

It boasts a 2.0 liter engine, which is adequate for a car with a 5 speed manual transmission. It comes with two engine options: 2.3 liter and 2.0 liter engine. 

Also, it has a manual transmission.

The Mazda 3 is a reliable car with a great handling, powerful torque and an efficient MPG. It is not as fast as other models in its category, but you can bet it will serve you well if you maintain it.  The driving experience with the Mazda is exciting – you can’t compare it to it’s competitors the Civic and Corolla.

While its interior isn’t pleasing to all because some people find it small, it is stylish and comfortable.  Plus, the many unique features and functions fitted on this car will marvel you.

The Mazda 3 rivals models like the FRS, WRX, and GTI.  In this price range, it is hard to find a reliable car that clocks high mileage, with a stylish interior, and a solid build-quality.

Pros:

  • Reliable.
  • Fun to drive.
  • Superb gas mileage.
  • Nice-looking interior.

Cons:

  • paint comes off easily.
  • Rust issues.

Volkswagen Golf

VW Golf has served the family hatchback car enthusiasts for forty years. Founded in 1976 in Australia – the Golf is now its 7th generation.

If you are looking to get a Golf, you could with the GTI MK6 – the 6th generation model, and of the hottest hatchbacks out there.  You could also go with the newest generation – GTI MK7. Both models offer a fun, sophisticated driving experience.

GTI MK6

The Golf Mk6 is the 6th generation model, introduced in 2009.

comes in an aerodynamic design, with its cabin more streamlined compared to the Golf Mk5.

 

It’s one of the cars with efficient fuel economy.

Golf Mk7

  • Generation: 7th
  • Weight: 100 kg lighter than its predecessor.
  • Pricey: stylish, superior cabin, sophisticated driving experience.
  • Engine: 2010 model has a 2.5l (gasoline) engine; reliable for VW model.
  • Mention different Golf prices.

Pros

Cons

Toyota Auris

“So, you want to buy a Toyota Auris, why not get a more upgraded car?”

It is not unheard of to hear someone utter that statement when you are conversing about your interests to buy a car.

But what do people who drive Toyota Auris love about this breed?

Petrol options used 1.3-litre and 1.6-litre engines while diesel used 1.4 litre. Recent models, as from 2018 run on 1.2 turbo engine or…

The Toyota Yaris looks virtually the same as the Toyota Vitz except for some key subtle differences.  For instance, Toyota Yaris has a fuel consumption of 13.8Km/L while Toyota Vitz consumes 20.9Km/L.  While the Yaris has 106 HP engine power, the Vitz gets a 94 HP engine performance. Another key difference is that the Yaris is assembled differently from the Vitz. The Yaris sources its parts from Japan but it’s assembled in Thailand.

Toyota Auris has used several engine lines ups since its introduction. Earlier models had different engine options.  Auris comes with different engines with every generation.

2019-present models:

  • 0 liter petrol engine.
  • 5L 6MT (111 HP) petrol engine.
  • 5L Hybrid engine.

2017-2019 models:

  • 3 L 4AT (85 HP).
  • 3 5MT (85 HP).
  • 5 4AT (109 HP).
  • 5L 5MT (109 HP).

2014-2017 models:

  • 3L Dual VVT-i6MT (99 HP).
  • 3L Dual VVT-I CVT (99 Hp).
  • 5L VVT- 4AT (106 HP).
  • 5L VVT- 5 M5T (106 HP).

For recent generations, the engines are linked to a 4-speed automatic transmission or five-speed manual transmission.

While this hatchback is feel small, its interior is spacious enough. Even if you are a heavy, six inches tall driver, you will fit in there alright. There is decent legroom and headroom for all passengers.  Also, the boot opens up to give roomy cargo space.

Plus, with additional features like power lock doors and windows, satellite radio, and advanced safety features, the Toyota Yaris stands out as a reliable hatchback.

Pros:

  • Powerful engine.
  • Excellent fuel economy.
  • Front-wheel drive.

Cons:

Mercedes Benz A-Class

Mercedes Benz A-Class is yet another small hatchback you’ll see on Kenyan roads. With stability control, driver-fatigue sensor, and up to seven air bags, it’s one of the safest cars to drive. On top of that, this 5-seater is stylish. No doubt if you’re behind the wheels, you’ll turn heads out there in the streets.

But how does it perform on the road?

It is not exactly built for performance, so it’s not a fast car. You’ll hear some complain about performance but mostly there are people expecting a lot from the A-Class.

Its interior isn’t the most spacious. It can feel cramped because of the low-roofline. Cars like the Audi 3 or BMW-1 Series have a spacious interior. Also, it has a small boot. Despite the interior feeling cramped and small boot, the stylish interior will impress you.

Some will say the A-class has a sluggish engine but it makes up for that by having a decent MPG. It’s economical on fuel economy, ranging about 30-50 mpg. Also, it comes with several engine options:

  • 6L turbo with 102 horsepower; 122 horsepower; and 156 horsepower.
  • 0L engine (210 horsepower or 218 horsepower).
  • 5L diesel engine, 90 horsepower.
  • 1L diesel engine, 177 horsepower.

Pros:

  • Beautiful interior.
  • Fitted with plenty of standard equipment.
  • Smooth gearbox.
  • Excellent mpg.
  • Standard safety features.

Cons

  • Expensive spare parts.
  • Rivals with more affordable and exciting cars to drive.

Audi 3

Audi 3 is a German engineering hatchback – small, cozy, and beautiful. It has been in the market since 1996.  It packs enough performance and delivers a smooth ride.

The hatchback style Audi comes either as a 3-door or a 5-door style. You can choose from either petrol engine models or diesel engine models.

Petrol engine:

  • 0L 3-cylider engine (turbo 30 TFSI). Get from 0-62 mpg in 10 seconds. This engine connects to a 6-speed manual gear box.
  • 5L 35 TFSI engine. Accelerate from 0-62 mpg in 8 seconds.

Diesel engine:

  • 0L (four-cylinder) engine – 35 TDI. Also a Four-wheel drive with automatic gear box.

The diesel engine feels punchier than the 35 TFSI engine.

Its interior is spacious – there is enough room for up to four passengers. The front and rear have a decent length of headroom and legroom.  However, the passenger who gets to sit in the middle seat may not feel as comfortable on long trips.

The boot space is spacious with a wide opening. Compared to the A-Class, the Audi has spacious boot with a volume of 380 liters. Moreover, the rear seats can be folded to create more room, up to three times more.

It comes with standard safety features like 16-inch allow wheels,…

Pros

  • Variety of engines.
  • Spacious interior and boot space.
  • Upgraded dashboard.
  • Standard safety equipment features.

Cons

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a car you can drive for long with little maintenance. If you are looking for a family car, you get good value with the Honda Civic. Made for the European and Northern American initially, the Honda Civic has been around since 1972.

Although a popular model, we’ve not seen this car in the Kenyan market for around seven years. That’s because the car wasn’t being sold in Japan between 2010 and 2017. This model was available as from 2018.

Like most hatchbacks, you can choose between two engine options (models from 2015-present).

  • 5 Litre 15B turbo petrol engine.
  • 5 Litre L15C Petrol engine.

The engines link to a CVT transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission.

Honda Civic Hatchback generations:

It’s super roomy – there is enough room for everyone.

Honda Fit

Some people will ask, “What do people see in a Honda Fit?”

Well, my answer would be, “if you have to ask, then you haven’t tried the Honda Fit”.

For a small car, the Honda Fit offers great utility and reliability.  It’s the best utility car, combining the benefits of small cars with some goodies of big cars.

Although it is not the fastest car, it is fun to drive. In particular, if you want a car to cruise around the city, you won’t complain if you get to drive the Honda Fit. Honda Fit enthusiasts like that this car is easy on the gas. For someone who lives in the city, the gas mileage is decent. We can’t say the Honda Fit is under-powered here.

Also, you’ll love its roomy, stylish interior. It’s spacious; it’s almost like a mini-van. The driver gets enough legroom and headspace. Here, the Honda Fit outshines some cars like the Mazda Demio, Toyota Yaris or Toyota Vitz.

The Honda Fit rivals with cars like the Mazda, Toyota vitz, and Nissan Tiida.

It comes with two engine options:

  • 3L L13A14 engine.
  • 5L L13 A14 engine.

All engines connect to either a 5-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission. A 5-speed manual transmission gives the Honda a smooth, fun ride.  Also, the driver great visibility as

Its spacious boot can accommodate all your cargo. And if you want more space, the rear seats can be folded to free up space.  Its spare parts are not hard to find in Nairobi.

For instance, the 2011 Honda fit comes in the following models:

  • Honda Fit 13G – 1300cc engine.
  • Honda Fit 15G – 1500cc engine.
  • Honda Fit RS – 1500 cc engine.

The Honda Fit generation includes models like:

Pros:

  • 5-door hatchback.
  • Spacious interior.
  • Superb fuel economy.
  • Spacious boot.
  • Reliable on the road.
  • FWD drive.

Cons

  • Not enough power horse.
  • Noisy cabin.

Toyota Vitz

Toyota Vitz is a Japan exclusive model, strictly manufactured in Japan. It has been in the market since 1999 – and since then, it has released three generations.

  • First generation XP10: (1999 – 2005).
  • Second generation XP90: (2005 – 2010).
  • Third generation XP130: (released in 2011).

Of the three generations, you would be mostly interested with the 2011 Vitz. The 2011 model comes in three different engine options.

  • 0 L (1KR engine).
  • 3 Litre engine.
  • 5 Litre engine

Also, the 2011 Vitz has both 2WD and 4WD.

The engines link to an automatic CVT, 4 speed. Or a manual transmission – 5 speed.

Because it is a small car, a tall driver will find the leg room uncomfortable.

About the chassis,

The angular line and sporty layout gives the Toyota Vitz a unique look. It combines a roomy interior with excellent ergonomics.

Foldable rear seats;

It has the same powertrain as that of Toyota Prius. 1.8L engine.

Toyota Corolla replaced this model in 2019.

Pros

  • Easy-to-drive.
  • Low-running costs.
  • Standard equipment.
  • Reliable fuel economy.
  • Low-cost maintenance.

Cons

  • Unexciting to drive.
  • Low ground clearance.

Mazda Demio

The Mazda Demio is a super compact car that has been in the market since 1996. It’s a 5-door hatchback, and super light weight. Being a lightweight vehicle, it’s well optimized for performance.  Also, the Mazda Demio has been praised as a car with a super handling and a tight turning radius. It is one of the cars out there that needs little maintenance.

I think criticism is the real reason most people shy away from riding the Mazda Demio, especially men. Some people legit feel the Mazda Demio is too tiny.

You’ll hear a woman on a date say, “Babe, will you be picking me up this ‘ka-thingy’.”

But if you don’t care what people say – you can go ahead and drive this car. You’ll be impressed with its efficient fuel consumption.  It will serve you well – if your goal is to get around the city.

Here are some specs for two Mazda Demio cars:

2012 Mazda Demio

  • 3rd
  • Fuel economy – 12.75 Km/l
  • 5-door compact.
  • 3L engine.
  • High collisions safety performance features.
  • Advance active safety mechanism.

2013 Mazda Demio

  • 3rd
  • Fuel economy 13.18 Km/l.
  • 5-door compact car.
  • 5L engine

Pros:

Cons: