Utilitarian and unusual... this was how much of the American car buying public viewed the hatchback. However, those who bought into this practical body style were treated to a variety of choices in the compact and midsize segments over the years from an unlikely, forward thinking source: Chevrolet. Let’s look at the lineage:
Chevrolet Nova: 1973-1974
The compact Nova saw the introduction of a 3-door hatchback body style for 1973. Based on the 2-door coupe, the Nova hatchback featured increased cargo capacity and a fold-down rear seat. Additionally, the hatchback could also be had with the SS package. This was continued for the 1974 model year.
Chevrolet Nova: 1975-1979
The Nova was redesigned for 1975, and the 3-door hatchback remained in the lineup. This time around, it was marketed to “People who like a touch of wagon with their car”. Like before, it was available with the SS package, but only through 1976. The hatchback continued on through 1979, when it was discontinued along with the rest of the RWD Nova lineup.
Chevrolet Citation and Citation II: 1980-1985
The Citation was a radical change for Chevrolet’s compact entry. The styling and packaging were no exception. The hatchback was now available in a 5-door configuration in addition to the 3-door configuration seen before on the Nova. The Citation was an ambitious project for Chevrolet/GM, and was not without issues. Still, it paved the way for future FWD Chevrolet/GM products.
Chevrolet Corsica: 1989-1991
The Corsica was a massive step in the right direction from the Citation that preceded it. A 5-door hatchback version was introduced for 1989. It was not a popular option, with Hemmings claiming that the sedan outsold the hatchback by 800%. Unsurprisingly, the hatchback was discontinued after the 1991 model year.
Chevrolet Malibu Maxx: 2004-2007
After a 13 year absence, Chevrolet once again offered a hatchback with their midsize (formerly compact) offering, a 5-door called the Malibu Maxx. The Maxx was similar in concept to the Opel Signum, which which it shared a basic platform. An SS version was offered, which was the first time an SS hatchback was available since 1976, and the first time it was offered on a 5-door hatchback. The Maxx was discontinued in 2007, and was not offered on future generations of the Malibu.