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The 20 Best Hatchback Cars of The 80s

1988 Mitsubishi Colt Turbo

Trends in driver preferences constantly change. Consumers tend to move from one obsession to another in their likes and dislikes of the features of vehicle types. For example, the current trends show that drivers are buying more SUVs, hybrids, and all-electric vehicles to satisfy their desires for convenience and lower carbon emissions. Social conditions tend to fuel buying trends in the automotive industry. As we look back in time to the 1980s era, a clear pattern of preferences for the convenience of hatchback models. As we roll down memory lane, we look back at the twenty best hatchback cars from the 1980s.

1981 Ford Fiesta XR2

20. 1981 Ford Fiesta XR2

The Ford Fiesta XR2 model emerged as the second model after its debut in 1980. Ford gave the XR2 model a more powerful engine, substituting the 1.3-liter in the Supersport with a 1.6-liter engine in 1981. Drivers liked the XR for its sportiness and higher performance. The hatchback feature was convenient for popping the hatch to load groceries or luggage. Drivers enjoyed the feature when retrieving the transported items with ease. They also liked the XR denotation. It stood for the X Pack with its high performance and the R alluding to racing. It was not even close to a racecar, but it had more pep than the first model of the Ford Fiesta. The top speed was 106 mph. The acceleration moved you from a standstill to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds. The fuel economy was another feature that drivers appreciated.

1988 Citroen AX GT

19. 1988 Citroen AX GT

The 1988 Citroen AX GT had a compact size and lightness on the road. The inline-four 1.4 liter transmission offered a top speed of 112 mph with acceleration from zero to 60 in 9.6 seconds. It wasn't as peppy in the short run as the Fiesta, but it was capable of a slightly higher speed. It was a fun car in the 1980s, offered in a hatchback edition that delivered the convenience drivers valued for travel or shopping. It came in a front-wheel-drive edition with agile handling with a five-speed manual transmission.

1984 Ford Escort RS Turbo Hatchback

18. 1984 Ford Escort RS Turbo Hatchback

Ford was on a roll with its collection of hatchback editions in the 1980s. One of the favorites was the 1984 Ford Escort RS Turbo trim. The RS badging combined with the Turbocharged engine was a big hit with hatchback lovers. Ford only produced 5,000 examples. They were only available in white from the dealership. The 1.6-liter engine was also fuel-injected. It generated 133 lb-ft of torque. It was faster than the Fiesta regarding acceleration with a test confirmation of zero to sixty in 8.7 seconds. The top speed was an impressive 128 mph.

1985 Renault 5 GT Turbo

17. 1985 Renault 5 GT Turbo

Renault was a desirable brand in the 1980s. The Turbocharged inline-four 1.4-liter engine produced 122 lb-ft of torque with a zipper acceleration going from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. It beat the previous hatchbacks in its short test runs. It didn't do too bad with a top speed of 120 mph. Drivers appreciated the greater agility and improved steering over their competition. It was a chunky car that offered a few chic elements with Alpine-style alloy wheels and yellow fog lights, as popular as the hatchback feature in the 1980s.

1984 Peugeot 205 GTi

16.1984 Peugeot 205 GTi

In 1984, Peugeot released its 205 GTi hatchback edition. It came a year after the 205 made its debut to the public. This edition featured exceptional handling and a smoother ride than most of its comparable counterparts. The car was lightweight and comfortable. The best feature was the handling. Hatchback fans loved the convenience of the easy-access storage compartment. The torque was not remarkable at 99 lb-ft, but it was on par with acceleration from zero to 60 in 8.9 seconds. The rating put in on the average in that regard. The 205 GTi came equipped with a 1.6-liter inline-four engine with a five-speed manual transmission in the front-wheel-drive, making it a fun car for the driver. The top speed was 118 mph, which was nothing to scoff at in the 1980s.

1988 Vauxhall Astra GTE 16V

15. 1988 Vauxhall Astra GTE 16V

Vauxhall was a brand that is also worthy of mentioning. The Astra GTE didn't quite catch the eye of consumers as well as the Ford hatchbacks, but this compact car was another choice offered. It arrived on the scene in 1984 but didn't come into its prime for four years when a redesign produced an engine that grabbed the attention of drivers. The red top 16-valve edition featured a 2.0-liter engine. It sported forged pistons and other upgrades for greater spin and higher power. It achieved a rating of 150 lb-ft of torque. The engine was paired with a 5-speed manual transmission for fun while driving in a front-wheel-drive version. Handling was exceptional. The digital dashboard was a luxury feature that was high-tech for its day. It moved from zero to sixty in 67.2 seconds with a top speed of 137 mph

1986 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16V

14. 1986 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16V

Two years before the Vauxhall Astra released its 16 valve edition, Volkswagen was on the track. The GTI was equipped with a multivalve head, upgraded from its debut model in 1984 with its underwhelming performance. The 1.8-liter inline-four produced 124 lb-ft of torque with a top speed of 124 mph. It set the stage for more innovations to come from other brands. The hatchback had its share of haters, but you saw a lot of them on the road in the 1980s and '90s.

1983 AMC Spirit

13. 1983 AMC Spirit

The AMC Spirit came out on the Gremlin platform with a few modifications. The liftback is a popular model that 1980s drivers appreciated with their patronage. It came equipped with a choice of engines. The 2.0 liter, inline-four was a popular option. It was superior to the Gremlin in many respects as AMC sought to produce a vehicle offering the hatchback convenience while curing the ills drivers pointed out regarding the Gremlin. It was lighter with an optional 4.2-liter inline-six engine available. The 1983 edition was the best hatchback model, but it was also the last year the Spirit liftback was offered.

1984 Plymouth Champ

12. 1984 Plymouth Champ

Plymouth's Champ was an affordable hatchback option in 1984. It was an entry-level vehicle that saved drivers about three hundred dollars over the Omni or the Horizon. The Champ was more compact in a two-door edition with your choice of a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter inline-four engine. The Champ's production ceased in 1984, but it went out in fine form before being replaced by the Plymouth Colt.

Chevrolet Sprint.

11. 1986 Chevrolet Sprint

Chevrolet offered a collection of hatchbacks in the 1980s. The Sprint coming out as the most popular. The Sprint eclipsed the Chevette in quality and desirability. It produced more power for everyday driving. The exceptional fuel economy was another plus. It is the version they sent Canada under marketing as the Pontiac Firefly. It was equipped with a fuel-efficient 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine with overhead cam action for improved power without sacrificing fuel economy.

1984 AMC Encore Hatchback

10. 1984 AMC Encore Hatchback

When AMC got its hands on Renault, it made the necessary changes to improve quality, appearance, and performance. The 3-door hatchback came equipped with your choice of engines ranging from 1397 cc to 1721 cc from 57 to 77 horsepower. AMC Encore was produced from 1984 through 1986 before it was discontinued, according to Automobile Catalog.

1986 Pontiac Acadian

9. 1986 Pontiac Acadian

Car Gurus explains that the Pontiac Acadian was one of the better hatchbacks for commuters in the 1980s and '90s. It got high marks for its easy access to the rear storage with ample cargo area. It achieved high fuel-economy ratings up to 50 mpg on the highway. It was an affordable vehicle for commuters going back and forth from work or school. It was available in your choice of two inline-four engines, either the 1.4-liter or the 1.6-liter. The manual five-speed transmission made it fun to drive. It wasn't fast or peppy, but it saved money for road warriors.

1982 Lancia Delta Integrale

8. 1982 Lancia Delta Integrale

Motor Trend confirms that the Lancia Delta Integrale came out in 1979 as a four-door hatchback version. It was an economy car built on a front-wheel-drive platform. The Fiat engine generated 84 horsepower. It was the forerunner of the Integrale that would evolve into a world-class rally car earning numerous championships. The hatchback version evolved into a 4WD model with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 182 horsepower.

1987 Mazda 323 4x4 Turbo Hatchback

7. 1987 Mazda 323 4x4 Turbo Hatchback

Mazda's 323 4x4 Turbo Hatchback emerged in 1987. The model enjoyed a two-year production run before its discontinuation. It was ideal for wet slippery roads because of its 4-wheel-drive capacity. It came equipped with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Its best feature was its adjustable chassis and reputation for gripping the road. It was the most popular in the United Kingdom.

1981Talbot Sunbeam Lotus

6. 1981 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus

Silodrome reports that the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus launched in 1979 as a rally car taking the 1981 World Championship title. The rear-wheel-drive hatchback came equipped with a 2.2-liter twin cam engine with 150 bhp. The model was a high-performance hatchback that fetched a hefty price as a new car. They're still sold as collector's cars on the British market from £15- £30,000.

1989 Volkswagen Golf Rallye

5. 1989 Volkswagen Golf Rallye

The Volkswagen Golf Rallye barely got in on the '80s scene. The first model rolled off production lines in 1989. It received a special homologation, considered a collectible today. It came with a 1.8-liter supercharged engine that cranked 160 horsepower with a four-wheel-drive feature. It made it an all-weather little beast on the road. The limited-edition got held to a strict production run of just 5,000 vehicles, according to Car Scoops.

1986 Renault 11 Turbo Hatchback

4. 1986 Renault 11 Turbo Hatchback

The Renault 11 Turbo Hatchback was the smaller version of the 5 GT Turbo. It was an obscure hatchback in the 1980s. Net Cart Show explains that the first model came out in a three-door option in 1983 with an emphasis on comfort for driver and passenger. The 1.4-liter turbocharged engine got replaced with an upgraded version that produced 217 horsepower and a choice of 3 or 5-door body styles.

1983 Alfa Romeo 33 Hatchback

3. 1983 Alfa Romeo 33 Hatchback

Alfa Romeo also threw its hat into the ring with its 33 Hatchback. The vehicle came equipped with a 1712 cc engine with a manual transmission and front-wheel drive. When it came to performance, buyers were impressed with the 1.7 Boxer 16 V cloverleaf. It was available in a five-door version with a manual transmission. The model made its debut in 1983. Production continued through 1995.

1988 Fiat Croma Turbo Hatchback

2. 1988 Fiat Croma Turbo Hatchback

The Fiat Croma Hatchback made its debut in 1986. It's a notable vehicle not because of its beauty or its agility. It was because of its place in the disaster lineup. It was an unattractive vehicle. The handling was stodgy, but in 1988, it received a facelift. It came equipped with a direct-injected diesel engine in your choice of a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic for selected models. It was more popular in Europe than in the United States, but it made a good show with decent performance and improvements in appearance and handling. They discontinued the line in 1996.

1988 Mitsubishi Colt Turbo

1. 1988 Mitsubishi Colt Turbo

The Mitsubishi Colt Turbo was a hatchback with a boosted engine. The automaker enhanced the 1.4-liter engine of the car and gave it a dose of power. The upgrade moved the bhp rating from 70 up to 105. it was an affordable car in a compact size ideal for a commuter. The large lass areas reduced blind spot issues and allowed for better road views as a safety feature. It was available in a three-door hatchback version during the 1980s in your choice of a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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