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Why are all eco-friendly cars hatchbacks, whether it be the Toyota Prius, Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S? What is wrong with a regular trunk separate from the cabin? It is less secure if someone breaks a window, it creates more volume for climate control since you have to cool/heat the trunk too, it does provide any additional seating because you have converted the trunk door into a cabin door and it is just plain ugly. Is there some law or regulation that has nothing to do with the actual daily use of the car that is creating this bad design?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Brandy Schaffels, Editor at AskPatty.com, Inc. The rear shape of the car is important to the aerodynamics of the car. A simple notch or groove on the tail can be as important as adding or subtracting a quarter mile of distance traveled per gallon, and in these new efficiency wars, distance is king. The sloped back design of the Volt and Prius are extremely aerodynamic. As for security: The truth is, nearly all vehicles have rear-seat trunk pass throughs or driver's-seat remote releases, so that if someone were to break into the main cabin, they could still access the trunk with very little effort. Regarding climate control: They usually have a lightweight package shelf that covers the cargo area to reduce airflow; it lifts out of the way when the hatch is raised, or can be removed to provide greater stowage. Believe it or not, such devices are nearly equal to the rear package shelf installed in most vehicles. It's not a conspiracy: The manufacturers are doing their best to ensure these vehicles are as fuel-efficient as possible, and it's unfortunate you feel this is a bad design. It just happens to be the design that works.

Breanne Boyle, Contributing Editor at AskPatty.com Alan, I'm sorry you feel this way about hatchbacks. There are plenty of SUVs and even sedans that are hybrids that don't have the hatchbacks (Honda Pilot and Honda Civic for example). If you want eco-friendly and it doesn't necessarily need to be a hybrid, there are a lot of small sedan options that get great gas mileage and are low on emissions. The Civic comes to mind as well as the Mazda3. Hatchbacks are popular because they provide more flexibility in storage and allow for more cargo room in total once the seats are folded down. Trunks don't have as much flexibility. Just my two cents!

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