Hatchbacks and Wagons Are in Full Effect at New York Auto Show

As Americans continue to downsize from full- and midsize SUVs to smaller crossover utility vehicles and regular cars, auto manufacturers are hoping to sell more hatchbacks and wagons, vehicle types that combine the practicality of a large storage area with the fuel economy of a typical sedan. Americans have been notoriously resistant to hatchbacks and wagons, and I’ve done my fair share of bitching about it, but there are plenty of new 3- and 5-doors being released on our shores over the next year that are looking to chisel away at that resistance. Here are the wagons and hatchbacks that debuted at this year’s New York Auto Show:

2014 Volvo V60

Volvo V70 Front 2 Hi Res

If Volvo had not been so synonymous with “safety,” it would instead be best known for its station wagons. Ever since 2011, however, due to dwindling sales, Volvo has not sold a wagon in the US, instead focusing its marketing efforts on the XC60 CUV. That changes in early 2014, when the V60 (based on the S60 sedan) is released. The announcement was foreshadowed by the newly unveiled R-Design packages for the XC60, V60, and S60; the R-Design includes a rear diffuser, new wheels, and chrome exhaust pipes, while a Polestar option adds 25hp in addition to other performance upgrades. No other information about the American V60 was discussed, but engines will most likely mirror the S60’s turbocharged 5- and 6-cylinder choices.

Photos courtesy of Volvo.

2015 Volkswagen Golf/GTI

Volkswagen GTI MkVII Front

The seventh generation of Volkswagen’s beloved hot hatchback and its more sedate baby brother will finally be released in America as a 2015 model, although when that will actually happen has yet to be finalized. The Golf gets a smaller, lighter 1.8L turbo-4 to replace the old 2.5 4-cylinder, which means an identical 170hp and marginally higher 184 lb/ft of torque; the replacement is a bit lighter than the old engine, and also more fuel efficient. The TDI diesel also gets a 10hp bump and reduced emissions. Upgrading to the GTI trim comes with all the usual goodies like plaid seats and specially tuned suspension, as well as the fabulous 2.0T engine, which receives a mild hp bump to 210 but a 29% increase in torque to 258 lb/ft. The already-impressive interior gets an aluminum-accented makeover in the TDI, while the base and GTI get glossy black surfaces. The MkVII rides on the new MQB architecture that utilizes high-strength steel to lower weight even as the Golf grows in size.

All photos courtesy of Volkswagen



Audi A3 Sportback E-Tron

Audi A3 e-tron

Audi is aggressively expanding its slow-selling compact A3 line, from the standard A3 sedan and its high-performance S3 upgrade, to the E-Tron Sportback hatch. The 5-door E-Tron utilizes a plug-in hybrid system that, in concept form, produces 204hp and 258 lb/ft of torque (I guess Volkswagen just really likes that exact number, for some reason). The car shown here is technically a concept, although Audi did confirm this week that a production version will be sold in America sometime in the future.

Photo courtesy of Audi.

Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi Mirage Ext

It’s no secret that Mitsubishi needs a turnaround, and the company is banking on the subcompact Mirage to help boost sales. Following a rename from the Colt in foreign markets, the Mirage has been on sales overseas since last year. Mitsubishi claims the diminutive 5-door will earn a combined fuel consumption of 40mpg pending EPA review, which would make it the most fuel-efficient gasoline non-hybrid in America. That rating will likely come at a price performance-wise, as the most powerful version elsewhere only generates 77hp. Mitsubishi will need to bump the power ratings unless it wants to follow in the Smart fortwo’s failed footsteps.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi.


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About Cameron Rogers

Cameron Rogers is the founder and lead writer at Downshift Autos, the only automotive blog on the Internet*. Born in the back of an AMC Gremlin, Cameron vowed to never let this extraordinarily embarrassing detail define him, so help him God. He drives a GTI but absolutely will not shut up about it if somebody asks. He will not hesitate to let people know that no, they shouldn't get a Porsche 911 when a Morgan 3 Wheeler is so obviously the superior choice. He is obsessed with the seats of a Carrera GT and the steering wheel of a Fisker Karma. He once sat in the driver's seat of a Tesla Model S, his greatest accomplishment to date. He is just now realizing that writing an autobiography, however miniscule, in the third person is odd and unnerving. *As of this writing, Cameron has been informed that there are, in fact, many websites and blogs centered around cars and car culture. He regrets his grievous error.

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