Top-Rated 2014 Hatchbacks:Performance & Design

Jeff Youngs | Jul 31, 2014

Annually for nearly 20 years, J.D. Power has conducted the Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study, asking verified owners of new cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans how gratifying their vehicles are to own, use, and drive. After owning their vehicle for at least 90 days, survey respondents are invited to answer questions to determine what they like and don't like about their vehicles.

Based on survey responses, J.D. Power generates Power Circle Ratings. The ratings are designed to summarize APEAL Study findings for car shoppers who haven't yet selected a new vehicle, providing insight into which makes and models are the most appealing, according to their owners.

Based on the J.D. Power 2014 APEAL Study, the following hatchback models receive a Power Circle Rating of 4 or 5 out of a possible 5 for overall appeal. They are listed below in alphabetical order.

2014 Audi A7

One of several 5-door luxury hatchbacks designed to provide the handling of a sport sedan combined with the practicality of a crossover SUV, the Audi A7 is offered in supercharged 3.0T, turbo-diesel TDI, performance S7, and high-performance RS7 variants.

2014 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

The 3 Series Gran Turismo, or GT, is a 5-door hatchback version of the 3 Series sedan, splitting the difference between the popular sedan and the available Sports Wagon. Buyers may choose between a turbocharged 4-cylinder or turbocharged 6-cylinder engine, each paired with standard all-wheel drive.

2014 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo

Similar in theme to the 3 Series GT, the BMW 5 Series GT offers more interior space and cargo room than a 5 Series sedan, combined with available all-wheel drive. Buyers may choose between a turbocharged 6-cylinder or a turbocharged 8-cylinder engine.

2014 Chevrolet Sonic

The Chevrolet Sonic 5-door provides style and practicality at an affordable price. New packages for 2014 provide access to a MyLink touch-screen radio, power sunroof, lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision warning system. A Sonic sedan is also available.

2014 Ford Fiesta

For 2014, Ford made significant upgrades to the Fiesta 5-door hatchback, including revised styling, new technologies, and an optional, turbocharged, 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine delivering more than 40 mpg. In addition to offering the 2014 Fiesta as a 5-door hatchback, Ford makes this car available as a 4-door sedan.

2014 Hyundai Accent

Competing against the Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta, the Hyundai Accent ranks higher for overall appeal than both in the Small Car category. The Accent 5-door is available in GS and SE trim levels, each upgraded for 2014 with added equipment and upgraded technology. A 4-door Accent sedan is also available.

2014 Kia Forte

Kia offers the 2014 Forte as a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, and a 5-door hatchback. Redesigned for 2014, the hatchback version is called the Forte5, and is available with a 173-horsepower 4-cylinder engine or a turbocharged, 201-horsepower 4-cylinder engine.

2014 Kia Soul

Technically classified as a multi-purpose vehicle, the Kia Soul is redesigned for 2014, adding size, space, and refinement in the process. Buyers may choose between three trim levels and two engines, and in 2015 Kia will add a new Soul EV (electric vehicle) to the lineup.

2014 Mazda 3

Redesigned for 2014, the Mazda 3 is available as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback. Two different fuel-efficient Skyactiv engines are offered, and the Mazda 3 is available in several levels of trim. Load one with all the extras and the price can top $30,000.

2014 Volkswagen GTI

In its final year before a complete redesign, the iconic Volkswagen GTI is offered only in a 5-door hatchback body style, and only in limited quantities. The redesigned 2015 GTI went on sale in the summer of 2014.

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