Hooniverse Asks- What's your favorite 5-Door Fastback?

The fastback 5-door (also confusingly referred to as a hatchback saloon in some overseas markets) has long been a staple in Europe and elsewhere, but here in ‘Merica, say “five-door” to most non-car folks and and you’ll likely be met with a blank stare. If the individual has any snippet of automotive data in their synaptic memory banks, they might respond with, “You mean, like a wagon?” or perhaps if they are tiny bit more car savvy, “You mean, like a GTI?” If you’re really unlucky, they might mention PT Cruiser. Sure, those all have four doors plus a rear hatch instead of a trunk, and 4+1 does equal 5. But somewhere in the middle ground between hatchback econoboxes, sporty-profile wagons and 4-door sedans lies the subject of today’s Hooniverse Asks inquiry: the Five-Door Fastback.

It’s currently fashionable to verbally barfalate over nearly all the 5-door fastbacks currently in production: Porsche’s Panamera, the Prius, and the current crop of “SUV crossover coupes,” (Venza, X6, Crosstour, ZDX). But they share much of their configuration, if not their breeding, with the departed 5-door fastbacks of the past: the Mazda 626, the Toyota Corona, and yes, even the infamous Scorpio and Sterling 827/Rover 800 to name just a few. Not all of them were winners, but they provided a very practical and often very attractive option that is largely gone from today’s automotive marketplace.
So, do you actually like any of the current offerings, or is there a 5-door fastback from the past that sets your tongue a-wagging?

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73 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's your favorite 5-Door Fastback?”

  1. P161911 Avatar

    Despite Top Gear's assessment I like the Rover SD-1, even though I have never seen one in the flesh.
    <img src="http://www.motorsport-sales.com/images/msport_sd1_11.jpg"width=500&gt;
    As far as one that I might consider buying, a Saab 9000 CSE Turbo 5-speed
    <img src="http://www.webmiscellany.net/saab/9k/hatch2.jpg"width=500&gt;
    (non-turbo model shown)

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      Rustyheaps.com is a blog I follow. The guy has a clean SD1 in stark white. I'm not big on white or even british cars in general but it is such a great looking car.

    2. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

      A few friends and I are actually currently considering prepping an SD-1 for a Lemons race. Probably a terrible idea, but that's what makes it fun.

    3. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      When I was a kid I was a big fan of the TWR Rover as well. I already wrote here my story of the first time I saw an SD1. To me it was an opulent bigger Polonez. I was also gaga about the Stratopolonez:
      <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/Stratopolonez4.jpg/500px-Stratopolonez4.jpg"&gt;

      1. Alff Avatar

        Ooh, good choice. Begs the question – where does the 4-door hatch leave off and the 4-door fastback begin?

      2. Lotte Avatar

        That's my "Bet you didn't know about this car" car. Obviously not with you lot 😉

  2. LTDScott Avatar

    The Mazda 6 hatchback is a serious contender for my next car.
    <img src="http://www.mazdapic.com/mazda/car/pictures/2010/10/mazda-6-hatchback-7.jpg"&gt;

  3. Alff Avatar

    I guess I'm typically American as this has been just about my least favorite configuration since the days of the Basher and the Coroda. I will concede that AMC looks pretty sweet.

  4. Alff Avatar

    I thumbs up'd you and then saw your April Fool's. Curses! I like the Panamera.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Yeah, actually, I do too. I just sold out for my April Fools joke.
      It is strange, right? Liking something that is so despised.

  5. oldcarjunkie Avatar

    Rover SD1 – V8, manual gearbox – what else do you need?

    1. BGW Avatar

      In the case of my friend, the American transplant to the UK who picked up a cheap used one because his US-Spec Xterra was a tad, um, obnoxious for the locals, a new oil pan, thanks to some unexpected cattle grating.
      Wait, that's not what you meant, was it?

  6. OA5599 Avatar

    <img src="http://www.autoweek.com/weekart/2003/0929/aztek4001.jpg&quot; width=500>
    Aztek had horrible final execution, but did have some good bones. It could have been a standout in capable hands.
    Best 5-door-almost-a-fastback award goes to the 86 Shelby GLHS.
    <img src="http://www.motoxdream.com/signature/glhs.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Hey, if you want to show love to a Turbo Mopar fastback, I give you the Shelby Lancer.
      <img src="http://www.sdac-chicago.org/images/dragracing/alex-macevicius-87-lancer-642x.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>

      1. ptschett Avatar

        I always liked the look of those cars, for reasons I can't really justify. I think it's the front end, since I also like the early Fox Mustang and the LTD of the same era.

    2. ptschett Avatar


      1. Alff Avatar

        Hey, now, let's not get personal.

        1. ptschett Avatar

          That's what she said. 🙁

          1. Alff Avatar

            Don't feel bad. She told me the same thing.

  7. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Aww, man. And there I was all prepared to give a response along the lines of "You can't give a thumbs-down to personal preference, because it's – you know – personal" and then you had to hit me with a 4/1.
    I hate 4/1.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Happy 4/1. Sucka.

      1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

        Back atcha.
        Signed, the Eternal Straightman

  8. JoeDunlap Avatar

    Well, as Ive never seen one I really cared for, I'll have to go with one of the strangest. Renault R-16

  9. blkmajik Avatar

    1981 AMC Eagle SX/4 and its AWD 6cyl goodness, vacuum line nest and all!

    1. blkmajik Avatar

      err… not the sx4, thats a 2+1. The standard Eagle is the 4+1. i blame my laps on lack of coffee 🙂
      [img ]http://memimage.cardomain.com/member_images/9/web/3177000-3177999/3177575_2_full.jpg[/img]

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Courtesy Embed:
        <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2711/1501/31775750002_large.jpg&quot; width="500">
        …although I'd call that more of a sportswagon. The VAM Lerma is the same basic car with more of a fastback body shape:
        <img src="http://hooniverse.info/wp-content/gallery/vam-lerma/4-door-prototype.jpg&quot; width="500">

  10. nitroracer Avatar

    I had a three door focus svt, lots of performance for the dollar there. The five door svt is just as good with more practicality.
    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_MPLf6DXFH3A/TKtZCiyujqI/AAAAAAAAAwM/hhvUOWLrrD8/s1600/04.ford.focus.svt.500.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://i24.tinypic.com/1w51t.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. salguod Avatar

      Not really a fastback, though. I love my Mazda3 hatch, but it's not a fastback either.

  11. Jim-Bob Avatar

    Being the owner of an AMC Spirit since 1989 I'll give my vote to the VAM Lerma with the optional 282 L6 under the hood. It's wrong but it's just so right…

  12. Maymar Avatar

    Since my beloved SD-1's already been mentioned a couple of times, here's a few others I would take home and whisper sweet nothings to.
    <img src="http://users.tkk.fi/kimmo/slide.jpg&quot; width="500" img="">
    <img src="http://image.europeancarweb.com/f/9819161/epcp_0805_04_z+saab_9_3_viggen+side_view.jpg&quot; width=500 /img>

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      Yes, I will admit that I have a totally irrational soft spot for the NG900/9-3. A good friend has an '01 five-door, I believe the 185-horse variant, named 'Growlithe' – yes, like the Pokemon – and that car's a blast to drive. It's obviously a front-driver, and it's saddled with an automatic gearbox, but it's great as-is. Stable at speed aside from the windows not quite fitting properly (I've driven that car faster than any other, actually, since he's tolerant), comfortable, refined. Does burnouts all day, too. Sure, the dashboard illumination only halfway functions these days, but such things are easy to forgive.

      1. Maymar Avatar

        I was specifically thinking of the Viggen, but like the NG900/9-3 in the sense of throwing $1000 at Craigslist and seeing what it spits back at me.

  13. scoutdude Avatar

    None, the 5 door hatchback is the worst and stupidest body style. Spend a few more dollars on sheet metal and glass and have a real station wagon!

  14. The SD-1 Avatar
    The SD-1

    There's a few too many votes for hatch backs that aren't fast backs here. The SD-1 is the pick o' the litter. Saw one for sale when I was 18. Dad said I shouldn't buy it because it had out-of-state plates and looked stolen. Should have said, Dad, no one would steal an SD-1. There'd be a trail of oil and broken parts leading right to the hide-out.

  15. OA5599 Avatar

    Can your 5-door fastback do this?
    <img src="http://hummer.all-gm.com/Humvee3.jpg"&gt;
    I didn't think so.

    1. dwegmull Avatar

      Any car can do this. Once.

  16. Zach Avatar

    From 2001 to 2004, I had an '88 Mazda 626 GT Turbo that I bought for $600, drove for three years, auto-crossed some, and then sold for $2,300. A fantastic practical car. I miss it dearly — I sold it like a fool to buy a 2001 Prelude.
    Since then I've owned a '94 Saab 9000 CS-Turbo, which had a hatch that can swallow nearly the entire contents of my graduate school apartment. Fun to drive, a bit of a bear to maintain.
    Now I have a 2002 Saab 9-3 SE — five doors again, fun to drive, and sometimes a bit of a maintenance drag. I still love it, though.
    Eyeing the Mazda 6 or 3 hatch iffn' I don't buy a Saab 9-3 Aero wagon.

  17. salguod Avatar

    Fastback styling + hatchback versatility = win in my book, no matter who makes it. I even kinda like the Crosstour. Kinda. The Crosstour would have beena much better vehicle, actually, if it had beena proper 5 door Accord instead of some kind of jacked up crossover/SUV … thing.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Yea, I have to admit to having a strong attraction to the X6M.
      <img src="http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/x6-m-side-300×200.jpg"&gt;
      Yea, it's a big lardbutt, but so's the Town Cow, and I love it, too.

  18. LTDScott Avatar

    whoa, that's neat

  19. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Since I don't like 5-door hatchbacks I present to you
    <img src="http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l199/befarrer/corsica.jpg"&gt;

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I already liked the Corsica hatch, but between knowing it's available with the V6 and five-speed, and the enthusiastic recommendation of John Davis, how can I not love it.
      Granted, if I listened to John Davis, there wouldn't be a car I didn't like.

  20. tonyola Avatar

    For style (certainly not quality), the Rover SD-1 gets my vote. Also, there was once a time where Toyota beige was not quite so beige…
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e6/Toyota-Camry-Hatchback.jpg/800px-Toyota-Camry-Hatchback.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Nice, but I'd rather have an earlier Corona.
      <img src="http://autopolis.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/336699864_9b5272edfb.jpg"&gt;

      1. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

        Stole my answer. My parents had an '80 notchback, but the "Liftback" was more stylish.

  21. skitter Avatar

    Even more than a Safrane Biturbo….
    Even more than an Insignia OPC….
    I want a Skoda Octavia RS.
    <img src="http://i615.photobucket.com/albums/tt237/jskitter/hooniverse/SkodaOctaviavRSA.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      If I could get over the fact that every Octavia (indeed, every Skoda) I've ever been a passenger in was a mildly-crusty private-hire car (which I could), that would be wicked fun.

  22. Black Steelies Avatar

    This may be more of a fastback wagon but it counts just because this particular Eagle looks awesome. I hope this image works. It seems everyone protects their beloved 5-door pictures on the web.
    [IMG ]http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e213/ken_w/DSC_0172.jpg[/IMG]

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      Bah this'll do. After finding 3 pictures I want to post and can't, Photobucket is now on my 'list'.
      <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/LSbPr0e7kqyb72k33mzKAjUEo1_500.jpg"&gt;

      1. buzzboy7 Avatar

        Not as good looking as it's younger brother the SX/4 but still a damn fine auto.

      2. Alff Avatar

        This highlights my general objection to the "5-door fastback". This looks better AND has more usable interior space.

    2. tonyola Avatar

      If we're allowing fastback wagons in this vote, then here's an entry that makes the admittedly-worthy Eagle look like a garden slug…
      <img src="http://www.audi.com/etc/medialib/ngw/brand/company_history/models/1965_1990/audi_100_c3.Par.0017.Image.jpg/704x396_5_200avant1985.jpg&quot; width="400/">

      1. facelvega Avatar

        I used to drive one. Beautiful interior, great handling, galvanized body wouldn't rust, and horrifically overcomplex engineering that crumbled before your eyes. It wouldn't just leak steering fluid on both the original rack AND the replacement, it leaked $28 per liter Audi mineral oil steering fluid. And even Audi specialists were stumped by its charming habit of intermittently shutting down on the road, warm or cold, and refusing to start again for hours–due, they told me, to a wire somewhere, anywhere in the harness invisibly snapped inside its insulation, so that most of the time it would test fine.

  23. SSurfer321 Avatar

    that sir is a wagon.
    I like wagons.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      HOW is that a wagon???

    2. SSurfer321 Avatar

      sorry. that's what popped up when I googled mondeo 5-door, since your original pic is a circle with a line through it.

  24. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Oops. I think I was confusing it with the CSA, which I believe was offered as a 5-door at some point.

  25. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the Renault 11/Encore.
    Wait. No, I'm not.
    <img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/111/308831651_ec924e0c8d.jpg"&gt;

  26. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    isn't the twin the Chrysler LeBaron GTS?

  27. Maymar Avatar

    Now I'm conflicted, I gave thumbs up to Panamera love, just to find out it was for naught.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Yeah, like I just typed up to Alff, I do actually heart the Panamera. Quite a bit. So I guess I just April Fooled myself.

  28. muthalovin Avatar

    Oh, I agree. I saw one in real life last October at Cars and Coffee. It was sectioned with the other Porsches, and I think I was the only person that was genuinely interested in it. Everyone else was looking at a LS1 powered 911. Tell me, which is more atrocious?

  29. chrystlubitshi Avatar

    i see a white 4s regularly on my morning commute (it tends to quickly pass me in the left lane every couple of days going 30+ over the limit–traffic generally moves at about 15 to 20 mph over). in person, especially looking down on it (from the van) they look pretty damned good….

  30. tonyola Avatar

    Have to include the grandaddy of the modern 5-door fastbackhatch – the Renault 16.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/67/Renault_16_TS_002.JPG/800px-Renault_16_TS_002.JPG&quot; width=400>

  31. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    BTW, they need to bring that 5-door Mondeo over here as a Buick Sportback Coupe or whatever…

  32. Lotte Avatar

    Not that into five door fastbacks (save the SD-1, which, scarily, many of you have also professed desire. Guess I'm home!) I'll go with the naive supercar choice, the Bugatti Galibier. The shapes is really pleasant and sharp considering its proportions are close to the Panamera's; really dig the stainless steel (?) doors, too:
    <img src="http://www.bugattipic.com/bugatti/car/pictures/2010/03/bugatti-galibier-16c-concept-2-lg.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Plus, it's fast.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      To me, the SD-1 fits into the "if only" category – that is, "if only it was any good". It's a beautiful, luxurious, and potentially fast car, but I know better than to actually want to own one.

  33. earlofhalflight Avatar

    I fell in love with the SD1 when I had a Scalextric slot car version as a kid. Never got around to buying a real one.
    I did however own a Chrysler Alpine at one stage. I found it more enjoyable to drive than its reputation would suggest.
    <img src="http://mclellansautomotive.com/photos/B38447-2.jpg"&gt;

  34. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

    That reminds me:
    <img src="http://www.groupbrally.com/images/citroen/citroen_bx4tc_small.jpg"&gt;
    Citroen BX4TC. So terrible Citroen attempted to buy back and scrap the homologation cars. The race cars retired in 13 out of 15 rallies.

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      Svelte and greenhouse-y.