The Corolla E100 was the seventh generation of cars sold by Toyota under the Corolla nameplate. This generation of Corolla was larger, heavier, and visually more aerodynamic than the model it replaced, with development chief Dr. Akihiko Saito wanting to develop a 'mini-Lexus', after success with that range's flagship
The E100 sedan and hatchbacks introduced in 1991 lasted until the introduction of the E110 in May 1995. "Van" and "Business Wagon" models were basically stripped out wagons with leaf-sprung solid axle rear suspensions. Business Wagons typically had slightly higher equipment levels than simpler vans. Both versions continued to serve the commercial vehicle market well into 2002, outliving the mainstream E110 models in Japan. It was succeeded by the Probox.
A hatchback is a car body configuration with a rear door that swings upward to provide access to a cargo area. Hatchbacks may feature fold-down second row seating, where the interior can be flexibly reconfigured to prioritize passenger vs. cargo volume. Hatchbacks may feature two- or three-box design.
Hatchbacks may be described as three-door (two entry doors and the hatch) or five-door (four entry doors and the hatch) cars. A model range may include multiple configurations, as with the 2001–2007 Ford Focus which offered sedan (ZX4), wagon (ZXW), and three or five-door hatchback (ZX3 and ZX5) models. The models typically share a platform, drivetrain and bodywork forward of the A-pillar. Hatchbacks may have a removable rigid parcel shelf, liftable with the tailgate, or flexible roll-up tonneau cover to cover the cargo space behind the rear seats.
Hatchback vs. station wagon
Diagram of a five-door hatchback (two-box) superimposed over the station wagon (two-box) from the same model range—in this case, both with a D-pillar
Both station wagons and hatchbacks typically feature a two-box design configuration, with one shared, flexible, interior volume for passengers and cargo—and a rear door for cargo access. Further distinctions are highly variable:
Pillars: Both configurations typically feature A, B & C pillars; station wagons more likely also feature a D pillar as well.
Cargo volume: Station wagons prioritize passenger and cargo volume—with windows aside the cargo volume. Of the two body styles, a station wagon's roof (viewed in profile) more likely extends to the very rearmost of the vehicle, enclosing a full-height cargo volume—a hatchback roof (especially a liftback roof) might more likely rake down steeply behind the C-Pillar, prioritizing style over interior volume, with shorter rear overhang and with smaller windows (or no windows) aside the cargo volume.
Cargo floor contour: Favoring cargo capacity, a station wagon may prioritize a fold-flat floor, where a hatchback would more likely allow a cargo floor with pronounced contour (e.g. the new Mini or the sixth generation Ford Fiesta).
Seating: Station wagons have two or three rows of seats (e.g., the Ford Taurus wagons) while hatchbacks have one (e.g. the MGB GT) or two rows of seats.
Rear suspension: A station wagon may include reconfigured rear suspension for additional load capacity and to minimize intrusion into the cargo volume (e.g., worldwide versions of the first generation Ford Focus).
Rear door: Hatchbacks typically feature a top-hinged liftgate for cargo access, with variations from a single liftgate to a complex tailgate that can function either as a full tailgate or as a trunk lid (e.g., the 2008 Škoda Superb's TwinDoor). Station wagons also have numerous tailgate configurations. Typically, a hatchback's hatch or liftgate does not extend down to the bumper, as on wagons. Another appearance variation that seems to blur the lines between a commonly defined hatchback versus a station wagon is called a kammback, which generally features a sloping roof towards the end of the vehicle, with an almost vertical rear section to the bumper.
Automotive journalist Dan Neil, in a 2002 New York Times report described verticality of the rear cargo door as the prime distinction between a hatchback and a station wagon: "Where you break the roofline, at what angle, defines the spirit of the vehicle," he said. "You could have a 90-degree break in the back and have a station wagon."