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Fastback vs. Hatchback: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on September 27, 2023
Fastback is a car design with a continuous slope from the roof to the rear, while a hatchback is a car with a rear door that swings upward.

Key Differences

Fastback and Hatchback are terms referring to different car body styles. A fastback is characterized by a single, sloping roofline extending to the rear of the vehicle, usually ending in a trunk, although some models may have a liftgate. This design is sleek and is often associated with sports cars. On the other hand, a hatchback is identified by a rear door or hatch that opens upwards, providing access to the vehicle's cargo area, and is generally associated with compact and subcompact cars, emphasizing utility and efficiency over performance.
The defining feature of a fastback is its uninterrupted, sloping roofline that creates a seamless profile, contributing to improved aerodynamics and, often, a sportier appearance. This design can be seen in various models and is not restricted to any specific vehicle size or type. In contrast, hatchbacks are distinguished by their two-box design, with the passenger and cargo areas being distinctly separated, and are more focused on maximizing internal space and practicality.
The incorporation of a rear door in hatchbacks emphasizes convenience and accessibility to the cargo space. This design is versatile, catering to the needs of users who prioritize space utilization and flexibility. It makes loading and unloading cargo significantly easier. In contrast, fastbacks, with their sloping rear ends and emphasis on style and aerodynamics, may compromise on cargo space and accessibility but offer a more dynamic driving experience.
The market for both fastbacks and hatchbacks is diverse, with options available for different preferences and needs. Fastbacks are typically preferred by those looking for style and performance, while hatchbacks are favored for their practicality and efficiency. Although they cater to different automotive desires, both designs have their unique appeal and place in the automotive world, reflecting the varied demands and tastes of car buyers.

Comparison Chart


Continuous sloping roofline to the rear.
Rear door that swings upward.


Style and aerodynamics.
Practicality and space utilization.


May compromise on cargo accessibility.
Offers easy access to cargo space.

Typical Users

Those preferring style and performance.
Those valuing practicality and efficiency.

Market Position

Associated with sports cars.
Generally found in compact and subcompact cars.

Fastback and Hatchback Definitions


Car body style with a single sloping rear roofline.
The fastback design contributes to the car’s dynamic look.


Vehicle design focusing on practicality and space.
Many people choose a hatchback for its versatile interior space.


A vehicle design emphasizing aerodynamics and style.
Fastbacks are often chosen for their sleek appearance.


Compact car with a two-box design.
Hatchbacks are popular among city dwellers due to their compact size.


Automotive design prioritizing aerodynamic efficiency.
The streamlined shape of the fastback improves fuel efficiency.


A car with a rear door that swings upward.
The Volkswagen Golf is a well-known hatchback model.


A car with a continuous slope from the roof to the rear.
The Mustang is a popular example of a fastback design.


A design typically found in compact and subcompact cars.
Many subcompact cars come in the hatchback style for added convenience.


A design often associated with sports cars.
Many sports car enthusiasts prefer the fastback style.


Car style offering easy access to cargo space.
The hatchback’s rear door makes loading groceries easy.


An automobile designed with a curving downward slope from roof to rear.


A rear door on certain automobiles that opens upward.


A motor car having a continuous slope from the roof to the rear


A compact automobile having such a door.


A car with a sloping, hinged rear door that opens upwards.


The door itself.


A car having a hatchback door


A sloping rear car door that is lifted to open


Is a fastback more aerodynamic than a hatchback?

Generally, yes. The sleek design of fastbacks usually offers better aerodynamics.

Do all hatchbacks have upward-swinging rear doors?

Typically, yes. Hatchbacks are characterized by their rear doors that swing upward.

Are fastbacks only sports cars?

No, while often associated with sports cars, the fastback design can be found in various car types.

Can a fastback be a four-door car?

Yes, fastbacks can have four doors, although they often have two.

Are hatchbacks more fuel-efficient?

Not necessarily, fuel efficiency depends on many factors, but hatchbacks are generally smaller and lighter, which can contribute to fuel efficiency.

Can a fastback have a liftgate?

Yes, some fastbacks feature a liftgate instead of a trunk.

Is the rear visibility better in a fastback?

Not necessarily, it depends on the specific design and model of the car.

Can hatchbacks be sporty?

Yes, some hatchback models are designed with a sporty aesthetic and performance.

Are hatchbacks safer in a collision?

Safety depends on various factors including construction, design, and safety features, not necessarily the body style alone.

Is the cargo space more accessible in a hatchback?

Yes, hatchbacks are known for providing easy access to cargo space.

Do hatchbacks have foldable rear seats?

Most hatchbacks feature foldable rear seats to increase cargo space.

Are hatchbacks practical for families?

Yes, the versatile space and easy access make hatchbacks a practical choice for many families.

Are fastbacks generally more expensive?

It depends on the make and model, but fastback sports cars can be more expensive.

Can fastbacks be compact cars?

Yes, fastbacks can be designed in compact sizes as well.

Is the fastback design older than the hatchback design?

The fastback design predates the hatchback, originating in the early 20th century, with the hatchback becoming popular in the 1960s.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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