The most comfortable hatchbacks combine a versatile cabin with premium appointments, and while that may sound like the same formula used by upscale crossovers and SUVs, these 5-door cars have key driver advantages as compared to those bulkier choices. Enthusiasts, for instance, will find much improved dynamics in the hatchbacks, with some providing highly athletic “hot-hatch” variants. Alternatively, if fuel economy is more your thing, a few of these hatchbacks can top 40 mpg with the EPA by relying on electrified powertrains. It’s also worth noting that there are options here from actual luxury brands, including top names from Germany and Japan. As for the names of the vehicles themselves, they’re presented in alphabetical order.
2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The four-rings brand has been known to feature comfy cars in its day, and that’s a tradition clearly carried on by the 2017 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. But this compact entry is more than just one of the most comfortable hatchbacks in the country. As indicated by its “e-tron” name, it’s also a plug-in hybrid with a 16-mile EV driving range and a 364-mile hybrid driving range. Of course, the A3 Sportback e-tron sports a luxurious cabin, too, especially with its available heated and leather-surfaced front seats. Those thrones have 12-way adjustability, as well, including a 4-way lumbar-adjustment function. Further luxury cues on the Sportback menu range from a Bang & Olufsen audio to a 4G mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
2017 BMW i3
From a distance, the 2017 BMW i3—offered as an all-electric vehicle or with a gas-powered range-extender—shares a few notable characteristics with A3 Sportback e-tron: They’re both high-efficiency small cars from premium German brands, and they’re both among the nation’s most comfortable hatchbacks. The i3, however, stands out from just about everything else on the road with its futuristic exterior design. And that wraps around an equally dramatic interior that can coddle customers while maintaining the car’s green cred. For example, the supple leather used for its heated seats is tanned in a natural process that uses an extract of olive leaves. The open-pore Eucalyptus wood used for interior trim? That comes only from trees certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
2017 Chevrolet Cruze
Mainstream makers also have their share of the most comfortable hatchbacks, such as the 5-door edition of the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze. Indeed, the Cruze hatch, like a number of Bowtie-brand cars, is offered in a range-topping Premier trim with impressively premium amenities. Right up front, the leather appointed bucket seats deliver multi-stage heating, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel also is heated. Then, this mainstream compact car furnishes something missing on many luxury choices: heating for the outboard rear seats. Nor is that the only unexpected advantage here, as the Cruze Premier additionally comes with a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, 4G LTE connectivity, and smartphone-integration support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The MSRP for all that? An affordable $23,945.
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Honda has a brand-new contender for the most-comfortable hatchbacks list: the compact 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback. It marks the return of a popular body style and introduces fresh advances in luxury. The driver and front-seat passenger are particularly well taken care of, thanks to tri-stage heating elements in the bottom cushions and backs of their leather-trimmed seats—which boast perforated leather accents. Yet the rear-row occupants have it almost as good, since the outboard seats have dual-stage heating here, too. At the same time, the seats retain their ability to fold flat, for an overall cargo capacity of 46.2 cubic feet. Expect the sport seats in the upcoming Type R—the hottest Civic hatch ever—to also be plenty comfortable.
2017 Kia Soul
It should be obvious by now that the right seats set the tone for all of the most comfortable hatchbacks. Take the 2017 Kia Soul. Beneath its slightly surreal sheet metal, the Soul can serve up a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, an eight-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat, and heating and ventilation for both. Kia even has two different leather-wrapped steering-wheel options, one with heating and one with a D-shaped, racing-style design. In case you missed it, that one is standard with the Soul’s newly available 201-horsepower turbo engine. Oh, and the outboard rear seats also can be heated and supply individually adjustable headrests. Turning to the Soul’s hatchback capacity, that reaches 61.3 cubic feet—despite the car’s subcompact footprint.
2017 Lexus CT 200h
From its eye-catching spindle grille to elegant interior appointments, the 2017 Lexus CT 200h is all Lexus. So it’s no surprise to find it on our roster of most-comfortable hatchbacks. But you may not realize that, along with dynamic handling and available heated and ventilated leather seating, the CT 200h also showcases EPA grades of 43 mpg city/40 mpg highway/42 mpg combined. In fact, as compared to the average new vehicle, CT 200h drivers will save $2,500 in 5-year fuel costs. Lexus also offers an environmentally friendly, leather-free seat-surface alternative, called NuLuxe. Per Lexus, it “feels as supple as leather, yet, compared to leather… its manufacturing process generates far fewer CO2 and VOC emissions.”
2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class
Next, an interesting trend continues. Most comfortable hatchbacks from the “true” premium brands have alternative-fuel powertrains, and the 2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class is no exception. It’s a compact hatchback that has a maximum cargo rating of 54.4 cubic feet and—backed by an all-electric propulsion system—a maximum driving range of up to 87 miles on a single charge. Moreover, as the automaker itself points out, this is the “Mercedes-Benz of electric vehicles,” with Mercedes levels of luxury. With the available Interior Package for the car, that means leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a multi-function steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather. Other first-class cues in the B-Class interior include two real-wood accent themes: natural-grain eucalyptus and hand-polished black ash.
2017 Ford Focus
The 2017 Ford Focus team has at least of the most comfortable hatchbacks on the roster. The luxury pick would be the Focus Titanium, because that edition touts leather-trimmed and heated front bucket seats, plus an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s chair. Enthusiasts, though, will prefer the Focus ST hot hatch or the sizzling Focus RS, either of which can be upgraded to more athletically oriented seats from the experts at Recaro. They still allow the driver to benefit from leather surfaces and heating functionality, but also ensure the support needed for extreme driving maneuvers. Ensuring the ability to achieve those kinds of maneuvers: EcoBoost engines that can kick out 252 horsepower in the ST and 350 in the RS.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime
Nothing less than the “most technologically advanced, best equipped” Prius model ever, the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime joins our most-comfortable hatchbacks with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and an uplevel cabin. The Prime propulsion system leverages both an electric motor and a gas engine, for an EV driving range of 25 miles and an overall travel range of 640 miles. The car’s cockpit has seats trimmed in SofTex synthetic leather, a heated front row, an available heated steering wheel, and a variety of hybrid-specific comfort enhancers. One is a specially engineered heat pump that can warm the interior—with the gas engine turned off—in temperatures as low as 14 degrees. A 2-passenger second row optimizes comfort for back-seat occupants.
2017 Volkswagen Golf
Although it’s not quite the alpha dog of the most comfortable hatchbacks, the Wolfsburg Edition of the 2017 Volkswagen Golf—honoring the German town where the original Golf was first produced—does check in with a relatively premium cabin environment. Thus, the Wolfsburg packages bundles heated front seats, VW’s “V-Tex leatherette” seating surfaces, a panoramic sunroof, keyless access with pushbutton start, 16-inch “Dover” design alloy wheels, Wolfsburg floormats, and extra driver-assistance technology. More specifically, the car adds forward collision, automatic emergency braking, and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. Finally, the Golf has a pair of hi-po variants, and the GTI and Golf R have the requisite sport seats as part of its standard comfort content.