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From the Focus to the Fit, the 10 best hatchbacks you can buy

The hatchback segment in the United States has historically been small.  You’re much more likely to see one while traveling in Europe, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great options to choose from on our side of the pond.

Related: Volkswagen might build an 80-mpg hybrid hatchback to take on the Prius

For many buyers, a hatchback is appealing because it’s often more practical than a traditional sedan, sportier to drive, and more compact, meaning it’s easier to park in tight spaces.  Are you ready to say goodbye to your sedan and try something new?  Check out the ten best hatchbacks currently on the market, hand-picked by Digital Trends’ car experts.

2016 Ford Focus ($17,225+)

For many, the Euro-flavored Ford Focus is the go-to model in the compact hatchback segment. The cabin is built using top-notch materials, and it’s available with three- and four-cylinder engines that strike a balance between peppiness and efficiency. It’s stylish, too, which never hurts.

The emphasis that Ford put on tech while developing the Focus clearly shows in the cabin. The infotainment system is excellent, and Ford’s SYNC technology lets the driver make phone calls or input navigation directions using basic voice commands.

The good news for hatchback fans with a need for speed is that Ford offers two performance-oriented variants of the Focus. The Focus ST gets 252 horsepower, while the muscular-looking Focus RS boasts a Mustang-derived turbo four rated at 350 horsepower. Read more here.

2016 Honda Fit ($15,890+)

The Honda Fit is one of the most practical small hatchbacks on the market today. It’s tiny enough to meander through even the narrowest streets, but it hauls lengthy and bulky items with ease thanks to a versatile interior.

It defies the label “econobox” with a modern-looking interior built using materials that are nice to touch and look at. It’s surprisingly roomy, too; four adults can ride in the Fit without feeling cramped.

The Fit uses a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 130 horsepower. That’s decent for the segment, but more impressive is its fuel economy, which checks in at up to 41 mpg on the highway. As an all-arounder, the Fit is hard to beat.

2016 Kia Soul ($15,900+)

The hamster-approved Kia Soul is born to be hip. With look-at-me styling and a boxy silhouette, the Soul excels where many of its former competitors – including the Scion xB and the Nissan Cube – have failed. A digital instrument cluster hidden behind a three-spoke steering wheel gives the cabin a dash of personality that’s often lacking in this segment.

One of the industry’s longest warranties means buyers can sign the dotted line with confidence. And if you’re trying to shake your addiction to dino juice, Kia offers an all-electric version of the Soul capable of driving for about 100 miles on a full charge. Read more here.

2016 Mazda Mazda3 5-door ($17,845+)

The Mazda Mazda3 is a highly attractive hatchback because it’s fun to drive even though it’s not a dedicated performance machine like the Volkswagen GTI. It boasts the best steering in its class, and the kind of handling you’d expect from a sports car. Clearly, the Miata’s genes have trickled down to the 3.

A 155-horsepower engine comes standard, while more expensive trim levels ship with a 185-horsepower unit. Both are much more efficient than the 3’s sporty nature would suggest; the 185-pony mill returns up to 39 mpg on the highway.

Inside, Mazda’s attention to build quality is impressive. The driver is greeted by a refreshingly simple, uncluttered dashboard with only a handful of buttons and a high-resolution color screen.

2016 Mini Hardtop ($21,700+)

The Mini Hardtop embodies the concept of form-over-function. It wears a retro-chic design inspired by the original Mini that was introduced in England all the way back in 1959. It’s much bigger than its truly Lilliputian predecessor, and it uses time-tested mechanical components borrowed from the BMW parts bin.

Don’t let its humble roots fool you, the Mini is far from an economy car. It boasts a surprisingly spacious cabin built using premium materials, and it’s offered with features you’d usually find on cars positioned in the next segment up. Notably, buyers can deck out the Hardtop with a moonroof, parking sensors on both ends, a heads-up display, rain-sensing wipers, and adaptive cruise control.

The lineup includes several variants, including two- and four-door hatchbacks and a range-topping John Cooper Works model tuned to pump out 228 horsepower.

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