Snap Judgment: Are Five Doors Better than Four?

Automobile Staff

At the Paris Motor Show, Chevrolet will display a hatchback complement to its Cruze sedan, which recently began production in Ohio. However, General Motors has reportedly no plans to sell the hatchback alongside the sedan in the United States. Is Chevrolet missing a big opportunity, or do Americans not care about hatches?

Although the Chevrolet Cruze has been on sale around the world prior to its 2010 on-sale date in the U.S., production just commenced in Lordstown, Ohio, replacing the Cobalt sedan and coupe. Our First Drive of the Cruze confirms that it's a contender against the stiff compact and midsize competition, but some automakers have recently extended an olive branch to enthusiasts deprived of European hatchbacks.

Chevrolet isn't the first manufacturer, or the most recent, to offer a variant on a four-door design. Audi's A7 "coupe" is a cleverly designed hatchback based on the A6 sedan. And Mercedes-Benz's CLS sedan's sloping rear roofline helped to define a new segment. Increasingly carlike crossovers, such as the Honda Accord Crosstour, help to blur the line even more between car, hatchback, and SUV.

Some hatchback sedans, however, are deemed un-marketable in the U.S. (think Audi A5 Sportback) and therefore left for other markets only. And then there are some models (think Ford Focus) whose lineup is bolstered, and even defined, by the hatchback variants.

We think the Cruze hatchback is a sleek and elegant skin of the cat. Is there an argument not to sell five-doors in the U.S., or are some automakers nervous to test the waters?

Today's Snap Judgment:

Are five doors better than four?

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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