At least that is the question Wired is asking.

>The hatchback body style has never really flown with American car-shoppers. Oh, sure, there have always been low-buck liftbacks for “entry level” buyers – the Ford Escorts and Dodge Omnis and Hyundai Accents of the world. But there’s little doubt that given a bit more financial reach, most of the people who buy such cars would likely opt up to a traditional two-door coupe, a sedan, or an SUV (though definitely not a station wagon, a body style that remains about as stylish here as orthopedic shoes). Oh, there are historical exceptions to the rule – sporty hatchbacks aimed at younger buyers, such as the early-generation Honda Civic Si, the short-lived Ford SVT Focus, and the Volkswagen GTI, which were desirable not only in spite of their “downmarket” body style, but exactly because of it.

Using the new Volvo C30, they wonder if the current trend of up-market hatchbacks from companies that don’t normally build hatchbacks is going to be short lived, and they think it will be.

What about the MINI?

>But understand this: The keys to the Cooper’s success here (beyond its all-around mechanical and stylistic goodness) were a.) as an unfamiliar brand in the U.S., it never had to redefine itself for a younger/hipper buyer, as Volvo and Mercedes tried, and b.) with a first-year starting price of $17,000, you didn’t have to be a trust-fund baby to afford one – or, as a young professional, to justify one.

A great article worth reading.

[ Why is “Hatchback” Such a Dirty Word in America? ]