It used to be so simple. The accepted wisdom of big car purchases dictated that anything priced much above £20,000 was doomed if it had a hatchback. Big sports utility vehicles and MPV people carriers got an exemption, but otherwise trying to sell an upmarket liftback was a tough gig. Saab tried and failed, before conspicuously labelling many of its wares with a saloon moniker, and even some vehicles that looked as if they might be hatchbacks, actually sported stubby boots instead. So what changed? Why is the market now heaving under the weight of plush hatches?
To find the answer, you need to look at the humble estate. Some time around the turn of the century, marketers realised that estate versions of executive cars were beginning to attract a younger buyer profile than saloons. Where estates were once seen as something for wizened antique dealers, they became hip. Sporty estate models started to appear and from there it wasn't too much of a leap to the development of cars like this Audi A5 Sportback. Here, the line is more coupe than estate, and again the genesis is not hugely original. Mercedes showed with the CLS that there was a demand for sleek cars with rear doors and the Volkswagen Passat CC really took the ball and ran with it. Audi's A5 was a chunkily good looking coupe and it spawned the rather unusual A5 Sportback in 2009. Here's what to look for when shopping for a used version.