Shatchbacks VII: Return of the Shedi

I’m rather ashamed to admit that there hasn’t been a Shatchback update in 2012. We’ve somehow managed to get to the end of July and aside from Antony Ingram’s brilliant defence of Shatchbacks and a short piece on half a Shatchback, there have been no new automotive afterthoughts gracing PetrolBlog.

Well it’s time to sort things out and press on with four new horror stories that are keeping children awake at night. As always, readers of a nervous disposition should look away now. Thank you.

But I must say thanks to @jeckythump, @FrontSeatPhil, @KuangEleven @GreenMotor @teorichards @jonbradbury and @Dogknob1 for the title ideas. In the end I went with the suggestion from Jonathan Kershaw (aka @jeckythump). The other suggestions have been saved and will be used in future updates.

Okay, back to the Shatch.

Skoda Favorit – @JonReay

Skoda Favorit Saloon Shatchback

Right, well we may be cheating just a little bit here as the Skoda Favorit saloon never actually existed. This car was created by Jon Reay with some rather impressive photoshopping skills.

There were designs for a saloon, but a bitter dispute between the Favorit’s designer, Nuccio Bertone and the Czech government meant that the saloon never got further than a complete set of designs and few prototypes. Some may say this was a missed opportunity, we on the other hand would say it was a blessing in disguise.

Without a hideous Shatchback in the closest, we’re free to marvel at the Favorit’s unashamedly boxy, almost Rubik’s Cube styling. Even the estate version remains delightful in its obscurity and let’s not forget the Felicia Fun that was born out of the original Favorit.

So sleep easy tonight knowing that you’ll never see this abomination in the wild. Thank goodness for car designer tantrums and political disputes.

Lada Kalina – Chris Hooper

Lada Kalina Shatchback on PetrolBlog

Not familiar with the Lada Kalina? Well then you’re clearly never seen the Russian version of Top Gear, because out there they use the Lada Kalina as the reasonably priced car.

What’s more, none other than Vladimir Putin was seen driving a Kalina as he tested the Amur Highway in 2010. Check out the video above – you can almost see the sheer delight on his face as he puts a very yellow Kalina through its paces. Not so much Star as President in a Reasonably Priced Car.

You’ll note that Putin wasn’t driving the saloon model though and that’s because it’s a horrid little thing. I probably should put my cards on the table and declare a small degree of fondness for the hatchback version. The ‘Sport’ model has a kind of Japanese/European flavour to its styling. Neat, well proportioned and quite appealing.

Lada Kalina Sport

The Shatchback version on the other hand, with its stupid stubby rear end just looks like drizzle. It puts me in mind of a more hideous version of the Skoda Fabia saloon and that really is saying something.

Oh and one other thing. Apparently the Kalina is marketed as the Lada 119 in Finland. This is apparently because Kalina translates as Rattle in Finnish. Quite.

Honda City/Ballade – @antonyingram

We’re stretching the rules of Shatchback a little here because the Honda City is only available as a 4-door saloon. But as it started out as a rather cute little 3-door hatchback and slowly morphed into a hideous abomination, its inclusion is fully justified.

The third generation was bad.

Honda City Third Generation Shatchback

Then they made things worse with the fourth generation.

Honda City Fourth Generation Shatchback

But it descended into farce with the latest version. And to think they tried so hard with those rear lights. Unfortunately they tried and then failed.

Honda Ballade or City Shatchback

Suzuki SX4 saloon – @keithwrjones

Suzuki SX4 Saloon Shatchback

I rather like the hatchback version of the Suzuki SX4. It’s combination of a raised ride height, wipe-clean interior and bags of space makes it a worthy if not exciting family car. I also find the SX4 SportBack used in Top Gear USA rather appealing. Then why on god’s earth did they have to go and spoil things with a saloon version.

It just looks plain wrong. Remove the practicality, kill the ride quality and give it a 1.6 litre petrol engine. When was the last time you saw one? Precisely, because I can’t imagine anyone would be foolish enough to choose the saloon over the hatchback. What’s the point of it? Thankfully it was killed off in 2011.

Although that’s not strictly true because you can still buy it in other parts of the world. In India for example, Maruti Suzuki market it as the ‘best car to buy in India’, which is hardly a glowing reference. I’m also mildly amused by the rather curious Google description that comes up when searching for Maruti Suzuki SX4. Apparently ‘Men are back’. I wasn’t sure men had gone away and if they were to come back, would they do it in a Shatchback? I’m doubtful.

Men are back - Maruti Suzuki Google search

But if you really want a Maruti Suzuki SX4 Shatchback, make sure you opt for the ‘sports’ bodykit. It’s a real winner.

Maruti Suzuki SX4 with bodykit

The Shatch will return in Shatchbacks VIII – The Shatchback Strikes Back (thanks @jonbradbury). To suggest an automotive afterthought for inclusion in the next episode, use the #Shatchback hashtag on twitter or drop us a line at Go on, do it.

Oh and don’t forget the Shatchback Calendar. If you’re off to sunnier climes for your holiday, you’re bound to see a Shatch or two.

Images courtesy of Thomas Doerfer (Kalina), Jon Reay (Favorit), Wikipedia (Kalina Sport), Two hundred percent (Honda City 3), Wikipedia (Maruti Suzuki).

Further waffle you might like

Facebook Comments


Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.


  1. July 26, 2012
    Richard Lyle

    I saw an SX4 saloon in London last weekend. The driver was 106 years old.

    I’ve thought of a not-shit shatchback. Ladies and gentlemen, the Civic VTi. Not so much a shatchback, more a saloonatic.

    • July 26, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      That’s worth 250 points in the I-Spy book of Shatchbacks.

      Civic VTi – absolutely. A definite good Shatchback. Would still prefer it in Aerodeck form though! 😉

  2. July 26, 2012

    The rear bumper on that “sports bodykit” is horrific! The Kalina just looks too normal to be a Lada, can’t see anything but the square 1200/Riva shape when i think of them!

  3. July 27, 2012
    Simon Hingston

    You’ve surpassed yourself with these Gav. The Skoda mockup is amazingly bad (by which I mean good) and is to be applauded!

    • July 27, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Can imagine that Favorit may cause some confusion in pub quizzes now! 😉

  4. July 30, 2012
    Ton D. (@Tonsty)

    I don’t consider myself being of ‘nervous disposition’, but I just threw up my lunch upon being confronted with the picture of the Maruti Suzuki SX4 Shatchback in ‘Sports’ trim.

  5. July 31, 2012

    The title to this blog is hilarious, fantastic work, can’t wait for the next! Just like the star wars saga will we go back to see an anime series known as the shatch wars? Just checking! Fantastic blogging once again, still going to sleep with one eye open!

  6. August 15, 2012

    I would like to set right the comment about the Skoda Favorit saloon. In fact, there were made approx. three prototypes of this model by the Mlada Boleslav Skoda factory, Dont really know the right english terminology, but in Czech Republic, it is called Skoda Favorit Sedan. One of the prototypes is currently stored in the depository of the museum in Mlada Boleslav- I had the oportunity to see it with my own eyes and the design is really not so bad. The practicallity, on the other hand is another story, Skoda Forman/Estate had a lot bigger storage cappacity without any downsides, so there really was no point in manufacturing the sedan version as well.

    More Sedan versions were in the nineties manufactured by other companies in the Czech Republic, which used the Favorit Van+ Body, but that is another (and long) story

    • August 15, 2012
      Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Many thanks for commenting. I understood a prototype was made, but didn’t know they did three. I’d like to visit the museum in Mlada Boleslav to see it for myself.

      I wonder, was it this one you saw?

      I’d like to know about the other sedan versions that were created in the nineties. Where can I find the information?!

      • August 15, 2012

        Well, about the museum, it is a tricky one, because the Sedan prototype is stored in the depository, you have to call in advance and ask if the tour through depository would be possible. We got there as a group of Skoda Favorit users.

        The othe sedan version is too a bit complicated. Allegedly 450 cars were made by Metalex MTX company (famous manufacturer of Favorit MTX Roadster), it was Called MTX Pick-up D.C. – DC is for Double Cabine, in fact it was stiil the sedan design
        We know, that 99% of these cars were exported to Persian Gulf and African countries (feel free to use google pictures for details), i have never seen the MTX DC in Czech Republic, but we have photographs of DCs from Syria and Lebanon.

        • August 15, 2012
          Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

          Am already planning a road trip to the museum. Really!

          Thanks for the information on the DC and also for jogging my memory about the Roadster. I feel a feature coming on…

          • August 15, 2012

            Well, I´m realy excited to hear that our old boxy Bertone styled Skoda has got supporters in other countries. A lot of Favorites and Formans (Estates) are still on the Czech roads, it is a simple car so many of us are able to service it with our own hands in our garages, its unbelievably practical and environment-friendly (when converted to run on LPG/propane). Unfortunately, lately it is widely considered to be a cheap dangerous old scrap and people aim to get rid of it.

            The roadster version is quite rare. Last month I organised with my friend a national gathering of Skoda Favorit/Forman owners and only 2 roadsters turned up (still it was a big achievement).

            I would like to know more about the Top Gear appearance – i know about three appearances – one in 1989 – old Top Gear review; The broad jump competition (2005) and “The cars of Eastern Bloc”, would you care to elaborate?

            • August 15, 2012
              Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

              I’d be happy to see just one Roadster! 😉

              Sadly for you, the Top Gear piece is nothing new. It’s the 1989 feature with Chris Goffey and was used in our Old Gold Top Gear section.

              • August 15, 2012

                A picture of two roadsters from our 2012 Sec gathering (All rights reserved)


                To be sincere, i still prefere Forman/Estate version, Its faster, more practical and looks nice with a roof 🙂 (oh, and it is at least 10 times cheaper to buy than the roadster)

                We are currently trying to get any information about various models of Skoda Favorit/Estate/Workman etc. exported to UK and other European countries, so please, if you happen to stumble upon some data, let me know on

      • August 15, 2012

        Sorry, I see now, I have not written an answer to your question – yes it is the one I have seen.

        Feel bad for wasting a comment, so at least, behold… a picture of my ride

        • August 15, 2012
          Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

          Ooh, that’s very nice. Love the bonkers wagon version. Presumably there are a lot of Favorits in the Czech Republic? Less than a thousand on the road over here.

          By the way, you’ll be pleased to know that despite being critical of the Favorit sedan, we’re fans of the Favorit here. Back in March we did a positive feature based on its appearance on Top Gear.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *