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.
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 us 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.
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.
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.
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.
Then they made things worse with the fourth generation.
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.
I rather like the hatchback version of the Suzuki SX4. Its 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 markets 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.
But if you really want a Maruti Suzuki SX4 Shatchback, make sure you opt for the ‘sports’ bodykit. It’s a real winner.
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 email@example.com. 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.