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Hatchbacks are making a comeback

FILE - In this Jan. 11 2010 file pho2011 Ford Fiestis displayed North American International AuShow Detroit. Ford posted its

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2010 file photo, a 2011 Ford Fiesta is displayed at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit. Ford posted its best first-quarter profit in 13 years, as its new, more fuel-efficient vehicles reached showrooms during a surge in gasoline prices. New arrivals such as the Ford Explorer and Fiesta small car are selling well. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, file)

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Updated: October 16, 2011 12:18AM

Hatchbacks are back.

The hatchback — a car with a top-hinged rear door, or hatch, instead of a separate trunk — has for years been held in such low esteem by buyers that automakers invented euphemisms to describe them, if they offered them at all. Now, they’re making a comeback, driven by a push for roomy, fuel-efficient alternatives to crossovers or bigger cars.

Sales of hatchbacks of all brands rose 63 percent from the 2006 to the 2010 model years, says Ford Motor, citing data from Ward’s Automotive. By comparison, total cars sales fell 21 percent in that period.

Ford officials say 43 percent of buyers opt for hatchback versions of its Focus compact, instead of the sedan. Its smaller Fiesta hatchback is hot, too.

Hyundai expects 40 percent of sales of the new version of its Accent subcompact, which just arrived in showrooms, to be hatchbacks.

Chevrolet’s new smallest car, the Sonic, will come in a hatch version. Kia says its recently introduced Forte hatchback is beating expectations.

Among electrified models, the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric and Toyota Prius hybrid are hatchbacks.

Gannett News Service

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