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The Hatchback: As Canadian as ketchup chips

Dec 08, 2017

Corolla iM Hatchback in Blue Parked by Roadside

These sporty rides come with a rear door or section that swings up, providing a wide opening into a spacious storage area — perfect for hauling the firewood, the cooler, and even a stash of Nanaimo bars and ketchup chips up to the cottage.

Canadians have long had a love affair with the versatile hatchback. On the market since the early 50’s, today’s hatchbacks like the Yaris, Prius, and Corolla iM count for over 25 percent of Toyota Canada’s passenger car sales. At this rate, not even Drake and Celine drinking double-doubles while skating the Rideau Canal could out-Canadian these cars.

Curious why they’re so popular up north? Here are three reasons why Canadians love their hatchbacks.

1. They’re versatile

“Canadians are drawn to cars that fit their lifestyles,” explains David Adams, CEO of Global Automakers of Canada. “A hatchback has a lot of versatility, and a lot of utility.”

Despite our global image as a nation of foresters and mountaineers, over 80% of Canadians live in cities. Drivers are looking for a vehicle that’s equally at home in downtown Calgary as it is on a road trip across the Rockies. Hatchbacks are sleek, streamlined, and easy to maneuver, and their shorter stature makes parallel parking on our busy city streets a breeze.

And like an igloo, a hatchback fits a surprising amount of space inside a small package. Just look at the Corolla iM Hatchback, which offers 20.8 cubic feet of cargo capacity. All this storage space comes in handy when embarking on our national summer pastime — 65 percent of Canadian households camp, compared to just 59 percent in the U.S.

2. They’ve got a smaller environmental footprint

In a country as breathtaking as Canada, preserving the natural environment is at the top of consumers’ minds. We’re less enamoured with SUV’s as our southern neighbours, and tend to opt for smaller cars with higher fuel efficiency. Hatchbacks allow drivers to shrink their environmental footprint, without shrinking their storage space.

A car's eco-friendliness is also an especially attractive feature for young people. A recent Autolist survey found that millennials are more likely to consider buying an eco-friendlier car over other factors like durability.

Corolla iM Hatchback with Trunk Open 1

3. They’re thrifty

Vehicle taxes and insurance costs run a little steeper in Canada, so drivers are looking to get the best bang for their buck.

“Canadians are looking for something that’s going to meet their needs in one vehicle, instead of having two or three vehicles like you’ll see in other countries,” notes Adams. “You’ll have a consumer that’s a little more pragmatic. Often they’ll choose a well-rounded model, like a hatchback.”

2018 Toyota Corolla iM In Spring Green

There’s also our higher gas prices to think about. Canada stretches 8,893 km from coast to coast. Thanks to their lower weights and smaller engines, hatchbacks tend to get much better mileage at the pump.

Now start the engine, and go see as much of this beautiful country as you can!