Shatchbacks VIII: The Dark Nights Return

It would appear that we’ve taken our eyes off the ball here at PBHQ. The Shatchback, far from dying a slow and horrible death, is enjoying a resurgence. While we were sleeping, new species have emerged, some of which have come from rather unexpected territories. There’s a new horror on the streets – Shatchbacks with a premium badge. But don’t let them fool you – they’re just horror stories with a more polished veneer…

In the UK we’ve managed to escape the most horrific creations. Aside from the likes of the Skoda Fabia, the Nissan Almera and the Peugeot 306, the majority of Shatchbacks have been kept away from these shores. And that’s a good thing. It ensures our children can sleep at night and it’s safe for us to roam the streets after dark.

But are we witnessing a renaissance in 2013? Is the Shatchback rising again? Well if Mercedes-Benz and Audi have got anything to do with it, then yes.

There’s only one thing for it. Vote with your feet and give the new breed of Shatchbacks the boot.

Need a reminder of the reign of terror the Shatchbacks can unleash? Allow PetrolBlog to take you through five current Shatchbacks. As a group, we’ll call them the Spice Shatch.

Premium Spice – Audi A3 saloon

Shatchback! Audi A3 saloon

Audi’s relentless march towards identifying every last niche and then shamelessly filling every minute gap in the market shows no sign of slowing down. You didn’t think you wanted an A3 saloon, did you? Well obviously you weren’t thinking straight and here comes Audi to scratch that itch.

As Shatchbacks go, the Audi A3 saloon scores pretty well on the terror factor, but then that’s because it essentially looks like a smaller A4, which in turn looks like a smaller A6, which in turn looks…well, you get the picture. But as long as people keep buying them, Audi will keep building them.

In truth, the UK isn’t the primary market for the A3 saloon – it’s aimed at US, Russian and Chinese buyers who seem to revel in small saloon terror. In fact, globally it’s one of the biggest sectors. Fortunately we have more taste in the UK, but that won’t stop Audi from trying to shift the A3 saloon to us.

Look out for a 300bhp, four-wheel drive S3 version coming soon – the world’s first Shatchback quattro?

Young Spice – Mercedes-Benz CLA

Shatchback: Mercedes-Benz CLA

The CLA is Mercedes-Benz’s attempt at getting a younger audience behind the wheel of a Merc. Janis Joplin once asked the Lord to buy her a Mercedes-Benz as she was tired of all her friends driving Porsches. The Lord’s response was to check out the finance deals, see if she could afford it and if so, get behind the wheel of a Porsche instead.

Quite how many young and trendy types will be able to afford the CLA is anyone’s guess – prices start from around £24,000. Our money would be on the slightly bonkers CLA 45 AMG, although a predicted £40k price tag would be hard to stomach for what essentially remains a Shatchback. Mind you, having the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine under the bonnet (332lb ft of torque) is mighty tempting.

Damn Audi and Mercedes-Benz for bringing some respectability and intrigue to the Shatchback House of Horrors.

Scary Spice: Mitsubishi Attrage

Shatchback: Mitsubishi Attrage

And then leave it to Mitsubishi to restore some order. Just look at this – it sums up just about everything that’s wrong about Shatchbacks. Key features include awkwardness, blandness, anonymity and pain.

Look at the front-end, which is bad enough in itself. Then follow the lines backwards until you reach the back-end, which would appear to have nothing in common with the front. It’s almost as though the back wheels are smaller than the front…

What you’re seeing here is Mitsubishi’s “next-generation global compact sedan”. Let’s just hope that global doesn’t include the UK. Mitsubishi then goes on to claim the Attrage’s “short nose delivers an outstanding forward field of view”, which is great, because it means you can look at all the cars you should have bought instead.

Mitsubishi then has the nerve to promise that the Attrage will deliver “driving pleasure”. Since when did anything this hideous deliver anything other than pain and heartache? It almost feels wrong giving it airtime on PetrolBlog – the Attrage is an Outrage.

Some balance needs to be restored, so using the pleasure and pain theory, here’s a token photo of the wonderful Lancia Fulvia Safari. Just look at its pert little bottom. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Lancia Fulvia Safari

Blue Collar Spice: Ford Fiesta Sedan

Shatchback: Ford Fiesta Sedan

Right, bringing things back down to earth again, here’s the current Ford Fiesta Sedan. Don’t worry – it’s not expected to reach these shores.

The latest Fiesta Sedan differs from previous incarnations in that the saloon version hasn’t actually ruined what was previously a good looking car. The Fiesta hatchback is hardly a looker, so slapping a boot on the back doesn’t actually make that much of a difference.

It just needs to be thankful that it wasn’t born to be an Attrage or, come to think of it, a Honda Brio Amaze…

Dancing Shatch: Honda Brio Amaze

Shatchback: Honda Brio Amaze

The Honda Brio Amaze is unique in the respect that it’s the first Shatchback ever to receive it’s own dance move. Check out the video at the top of the page for an introduction.

Here’s a challenge for you, see how many times you can watch the video before you’re forced into throwing something large at your laptop screen, before jumping through the office window screaming for mercy.

Quite what the passengers of the Brio Amaze are laughing at is anyone’s guess. Maybe the hilarity is to do with the fact that someone has actually spent their own money on such a hideous little car. Look out for the classic emergency stop demonstration, sadly not involving a tractor pulling out from a farm gate, but instead a much less dramatic pile of stones carelessly left on the road by the production team.

We’re also not quite sure what’s going on with the strange routine at the end. It would appear that the chap has taken the love of his life for a picnic involving a boot load of plants and an umbrella. Still, you’d probably need to be smoking something to get behind the wheel of a Brio Amaze.

So can you see what we’ve done here? Lured you into a false sense of security by delivering a couple of mildly less distressing Shatchbacks before cruelly subjecting you to the Mitsubishi, Ford and Honda.

Which is the most terrifying? It has to be a toss-up (poor turn of phrase given the subject matter) between the Attrage and the Amaze. Both are hideous, both have terrible names and both bring shame to their manufacturer. It’s tempting to award the prize to Amaze because that dance routine and song is unforgivable.

But on the basis of looks alone, it has to be the Mitsubishi Attrage. To think that a manufacturer still thinks it’s acceptable to roll-out such an awkward and miserable car in 2013.

Bring back the original Skoda Fabia saloon. No, wait…what are we saying?

We’ll leave you with the words tweeted by Nir Kahn this very afternoon, best read to the tune of Guns ‘n Roses’ Paradise City: “Take me down to the Shatchback city where the back’s obscene and the grille’s aren’t pretty”. Genius.

Images © Audi, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Newspress, Ford and Honda.

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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 comment

  1. May 22, 2013
    Antony Ingram

    Amaze? Balls.


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