Hatchbacks have pretty much been hot sellers in Europe for a long time, but they've struggled to catch on here in the states because consumers viewed them as cheap and only good for those who needed a car but couldn't spend much (i.e., recent college grads). How times have changed. Hatchbacks have improved tremendously not just in terms of amenities and features but also in terms of real style that turns heads. 

Now, there are plenty of hatchbacks that look better than compact sedans. We've selected five that have been the beneficiaries of more adventurous styling than their four-door counterparts and also provide a greater degree of utility thanks to taller cargo compartments than trunked cars can offer. 

Chevy Cruze Hatchback

cruze hatchback

Yes, we know the Cruze Hatchback ($21,240 base MSRP) isn't for sale just yet, but it's coming soon as a 2017 model. The timing is perfect now that the Cruze sedan has gotten rave reviews. We just think the five-door version looks way better thanks to its contoured hatch door, notched roof spoiler, and racier looking taillights. It comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability and a capacious 47.2 cubic feet of cargo room. And it's probably one of the only cars we actually like in orange. 

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Mazda3 5-Door

mazda3

The Mazda3 5-Door ($18,545 base MSRP) is easily one of the tastiest hatches around thanks to a body that just happens to look both muscular and streamlined at the same time thanks to the well-executed Kodo ("soul of motion") design language that's pervaded the whole Mazda model line. It's so good-looking that it almost totally eclipses the sedan that looks a bit boring by comparison. Choose between a 155 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the i Sport, i Touring or i Grand Touring trims or the 184 hp 2.5-liter four in the s Touring or s Grand Touring models. Though a six-speed automatic is available, we think the only proper choice is the slick-shifting six-speed manual that capitalizes on one seriously great driving hatchback that looks good coming, going and standing totally still. 

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Ford Focus

focus

We must all too easily forget about the Ford Focus sedan since we pretty much don't see them anywhere except for rental car fleets. It's probably because the Focus hatchback ($19,015 base MSRP) is just gorgeous to look at regardless of whether it's the base SE or the top trim RS with its 350 horsepower and all-wheel drive. Just the right amount of sportiness in the sexy design, coupled with great interior room (44.8 cubic feet) makes this homegrown hatchback a brilliant buy that'll look great for years to come.

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Hyundai Elantra

elantra gt

Hyundai's new design language might not be as dramatic as the previous generation's, but we like it better because it adds sophistication to the mix thanks to a bit of a European touch. And that's no more evident than on the Elantra GT ($18,800 base MSRP), the five-door sibling to the more conservative Elantra sedan. The body curves and creases are more-or-less the same, but the new fascia is bolder thanks to the new four-bar ellipsoid grille. It's far better than the previous GT's maw. Inside there's now an available seven-inch, touch-screen-based infotainment system with Apple Siri integration, HD radio, and Bluelink that now has remote starting (with climate control) and Google-based destination search. 

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Subaru WRX 

wrx

We only list the WRX hatch because we miss it so damned much. Why Subaru decided not to bring the WRX back in five-door format is beyond us because it was just the best-looking street-legal rally car around. Too bad it died after the 2014 model year, never to be seen again. The car's 2.5-ilter four-cylinder turbo was good for 265 horsepower (WRX) and 305 horsepower (WRX STI) to all four wheels. It was good hooligan fun for grownups who refused to let go of their childhoods, and for good reason. Now, there's only a sedan available, to our everlasting sadness. 

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