You might not think it, but hatchbacks come in a variety of styles. Some are just cute coupe-like cars with a hatch, while others are more like a tall wagon or small crossover. Hatchbacks can be subcompact, compact, midsize or other. The question is, which one is right for your needs?

Here we take a look at some of the best used 2012 hatchbacks, top rated for safety, fuel economy, fun-to-drive characteristics, value and more.

2012 Kia SoulTall, roomy and able to seat five passengers, the 2012 Kia Soul also shines in the cargo-carrying department, holding a maximum of 53.4 cubic feet (or 23.7 cubic feet behind the rear seat). That’s right up there with many compact crossovers. The 2012 Kia Soul is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and got a 4-star (out of 5) overall crass-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A pair of four-cylinder engines mean fuel economy ranging from a low of 23 mpg city to a high of 31 mpg on the highway. Pricing ranges from about $11,987 to $15,998.

2012 Volkswagen GTI The 2012 Volkswagen GTI earned a spot as one of the highest-rated hatchbacks in the J.D. Power 2012 APEAL Study. It’s easy to see why. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Choose between a manual transmission and an automated manual gearbox. Fuel economy estimates range from 21 mpg city to 33 mpg highway. The 2012 Volkswagen GTI has 15.2 cubic feet of cargo behind its rear seat, and 46 cubic feet with it folded down. The GTI is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick. In the used market, GTI hatchbacks range from $18,998 to $28,380.

2012 Fiat 500It’s sold in Pop, Sport, Lounge and Abarth trims and there’s no doubt about the fact that the 2012 Fiat 500 is one plenty-cute hatchback. The tiny 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 101 horsepower and, paired with a manual or automatic transmission, gets 27 mpg city/38 mpg highway. The performance-oriented Abarth has a 160-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, plus performance suspension and brakes, 16-inch aluminum wheels and a few more goodies. The trunk carries just 9.3 cubic feet of cargo, but fold down the back seat and cargo room increases to 26.8 cubic feet. Pricing is from around $9,991 for Pop to about $14,988 for Abarth.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic – The subcompact 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, with its 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA and Top Safety Pick status from the IIHS, is a fine choice for an entry-level hatchback. Sold in LS, LT and LTZ trims, buyers can choose between a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder and a normally aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder. Fuel economy estimates range between 25 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, depending on engine choice and six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. As for price, check out Sonic hatchbacks ranging from around $9,982 to about $13,704.

2012 Ford FiestaWith its fun-to-drive personality, high fuel economy, inviting cabin and available luxury features, the 2012 Ford Fiesta proves value doesn’t have to mean cheap.  Hatchback is available in SE and SES trim levels. Power comes from a 120-horsepower 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine matched with a five-speed manual as standard or six-speed automatic transmission as an option. Look for used prices from about $9,998 to the vicinity of $14,200.

2012 Mazda Mazda3 – Highlights of the 2012 Mazda Mazda3 hatchback include precise handling, well-equipped interior, quite a few luxury options and good fuel economy. While some may find the ride a bit firm, others may perceive it just right. With the new 2.0-liter Skyactiv-G engine, the Mazda3 hatchback achieves 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway (with automatic transmission) and 27/38 mpg with manual gearbox. Pricing ranges from $15,990 to $18,656.



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