Yesterday evening I noticed two cars, a fourth generation 3-door Seat Ibiza and a DS DS 3. One was a bit of a holdover and the DS was, I imagined, the shape of three door cars today.
They haven’t really gone away (though they are a much diminished presence) these three door cars but have changed form a bit. Some have anyway. The Corsa and Fiesta are pretty much the same as they ever were.
Before proceeding, I should note that the 3-door Ibiza went the way of the ear trumpet in 2017 with the introduction of the fifth generation model. That is such a subliminal model-change that I had to cross-check photos.
So, who makes a smallish three door car today?
Mini is the first and most obvious example. They cost from fifteen thousand pounds if you really want to own one. Here is an orange one. As we know they are all about customisation, very much in the tradition established by Ford’s Mustang in 1965. Mini have expanded the range both literally and figuratively and perhaps one day, all Minis will have two doors plus three doors and no fewer.
If you decide to head over to a VW dealer they won’t sell you a three-door Polo but will allow you to buy a three-door Golf. This one (below) comes from California and is in Trendline spec. In Europe the GTi still comes in three door form. Ford, Opel, Peugeot, Citroen and Mazda do not have a three-door C-class car and have no done so for some time.
You can also buy a VW Up Exclamation Point as well. That means VW scores quite well in the three-door hatch stakes. There might be a Skoda version of the Up available in three-doors … and indeed there is.
Interestingly, Hyundai are still ploughing on with the 3-door i20 which, you will notice is a rather more expressive product than the outgoing car. Too expressive, perhaps. Suddenly all those swage lines seem all too 2017.
Hyundai tag this one as “the small 3-door hatch with a sporty twist” and costs from 12,300 pounds sterling.
The venerable Fiat 500 is a three-door car, so common as to be invisible. Yet its massive sales indicates there is an appetite for the cars. It’s a customiser’s car – and also the king of the special edition. If you see one, send in a photo as I can’t for the life of me find any on the ‘net.
Not too dissimilar in size is the Peugeot 108. Now there’s a surprise, ladies and gentlemen. How many of you can honestly say they were fully aware the 108 existed and was not still called 107? I am not afraid to say this one had passed me by. They cost just under ten grand. Autocropley said this:
“That the Peugeot rolls a bit matters little, its willingness to slice through curves enhanced by steering that’s accurate and of decently consistent feel. On twisting backroads you can soon develop a satisfying rhythm, and all against the backdrop of the triple’s game gurgle. Its relatively soft suspension allows the Peugeot to ride pretty well, too, although it sometimes gets choppy at speed. Cruising is subdued, the minor controls are easily manipulated and the front seats remain comfortably supportive unless you’re cornering hard.”
There’s another article waiting to be written about the 107 and 108 which will say, when written, that the cars are a curious and lasting disappointment to me. Here is a neatly sized vehicle with the potential to be a real go-kart if so tweaked and fettled and yet clearly the cars have never even come close to that level of appeal. Is there a good reason for that?
Much the same goes for the Up trio which have never risen above the level of functional motoring for people afraid to buy a nicer, bigger second hand car like a Focus, Astra or Golf.
There are similar 108-y cars from Citroen and Toyota, by the way.
At Opel we find a choice of two three 3-door cars: the Adam and the Corsa. One is very much in the Mini/DS mould of customisation and the other is very much a bit of an antiquity dressed up in some newish sheet metal. Both cost around 12,000 euros in base specification.
But there’s m0re at Opel…
Opel are still selling the lovely Astra GTC, meaning they have three three doors cars available. That one will cost you twenty-one thousand euros which is a snip for a rather good-looking car. You can roll your eyes if you like but I think this is very pleasing machine.
Moving over to Ford, I was again surprised to discover that the Fiesta 3-door has survived into the new generation. This is nice to know and also, I suspect, a clue that the underlying architecture is much the same as the outgoing model which is why, like Adam Opel AG, they were able to retain the option. Clouds. Silver linings.
Ford won’t take much of your money from you for the pleasure of a Fiesta 3-door: a shade over ten K is the asking. The existence of the 3-door Fiesta makes the thing known as the Ka all the more puzzling because it is sold only as a five door hatch. The amount of sense that makes is not much at all.
Smart make the ForTwo and its very much an anomaly. It does have three doors but has no back seats at all – and one of the critiques of the three-door format was that access to the rear is tricky for parents who want to install and remove small kids. Since the ForTwo has no rear to access its existence is not all that much use to this survey. While we’re on the subject of small, anomalous cars, the Toyota iQ died in 2015.
Suzuki’s German website has no three door cars and is so much of a mess I encourage everyone to go right now and look at it but please come back. No three-doors there, alas.
I also took a look at MG´s website and there are some more cars there than the last time I looked. None have three doors and three doors only.
At this point my search becomes something of a matter of rooting around the down the back of the sofa for firms still making smallish-three door cars. What I had expected was a big switch to bijou, customised cars like the Adam and Mini. However, I didn’t find that. Yes, those cars exist. In contrast, many of the three-door hatches looked much as they have done since the days of Angela Rippon and John Craven.
Fewer manufacturers make them and just because they make them it doesn’t mean many people really want them. They are now not a core format but some icing on (in some cases) stale cakes.
Anyone who wishes to add to this list is welcome.
(Post-script: The Range Rover Evoque used come as as three-door known as coupe and it did not survive 2017 but shuffled off the mortal coil.)
Correction: in the original text I wrote 1007 when I meant 107. Amended May 14 2018, 1.22 pm CET.