'Wagatch'?! Or maybe 'Hagon'? What happens when you crash the words 'Hatchback' and 'Wagon' together is trickier to resolve than when the two types of car design are put together - but we thought we’d have a go at naming this latest type of car!
Over the last decade or so we have already seen several car typology mash-ups; the coupe-sedan and increasingly car-like crossovers come to mind most readily. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the wagon and the hatchback are also merging with one another to form this new type of car: the ‘Wagatch’.
The new Mini Clubman due to be unveiled at next week's Frankfurt Auto Show is the biggest stake-in-the-ground for the 'Wagatch' type of car design. It is a car that will directly compete with, and shares its dimensions and short rear overhang with, the hatchback Volkswagen Golf - but it has an up-right rear with side-hinged doors that says ‘wagon’ to the customer.
This ‘Wagatch’ typology was perhaps pioneered by the first generation Lexus IS Sportback (below left) and Subaru Impreza wagon (below right) that showed us just how hatchback-like a wagon could be twenty years ago.
Volkswagen Group is also part of this story. The Audi A3 Sportback (below right) is a hatchback with something very ’wagon-ish’ in its long roofline and third side window. Its platform sharing sibling, the Seat Leon ST (below left), then takes the opposite approach of being a wagon with something ‘hatchback-ish’ in its short rear overhang and fast tailgate.
'Wagatch' is a new shade of grey; it’s not going to create shock-waves - but this new type of car is significant. In markets that have negative associations with the label 'hatchback', in sectors where the wagon version would be too staid, and for models that can’t run to both hatchback and wagon body-shell variants, the ‘Wagatch’ has a lot going for it. We expect to see this new typology quietly flourish.