If you’ve ever looked broadly at buying a new car, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of terms like saloon, hatchback, coupe and whatever else. Though simple in nature, these car ‘classes’ can be a bit of a headache to understand for those with a lesser interest in cars. Is that you? We’ve put together a handy guide to help...
Coupes are some of the most desirable cars on the road. Though referring to any two-door car, they’re most commonly associated with two-door sports cars and supercars — combining sleek looks with mega performance.
The crossover — sometimes known as CUV — is the most rapidly-growing segment in the new car market. These vehicles combine the proportions and practicality of a hatchback with a higher ride height and more rugged looks often associated with an SUV. They’re the ‘in’ thing at the moment, with many manufacturers turning their focus to this segment.
A convertible is a car that can either be had with its roof fixed in place, or dropped down for open-top motoring. Convertibles come in a variety of flavours — with hard-top (a roof made from metal), soft-top (a canvas or fabric roof) and targa (a hand-removed panel) the most common.
Estates have long been a favourite type of car amongst UK buyers, and its not hard to see why. These tend to combine the sleek looks a saloon brings, and adds practicality with an enlarged, squared-off boot. Coupes can also come in an estate-like form, referred to as a ‘shooting brake’ by many.
Hatchbacks are the most common form of car. These compact machines are small in size, yet often practical thanks to clever packaging — making them a favourite in a crowded Britain. They can range from dinky city cars, to larger family hatches.
The Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) may not be a popular choice today, but it remains a practical one. These vehicles put practicality ahead of everything else, usually taking boxy forms and packing five to seven seats — perfect as a family hauler.
Though more of a go-to choice in America than the UK, there’s a decent market for pick-ups on these shores. These more rugged vehicles have a flatbed at the back which is ideal for carrying huge loads, yet come with creature comforts found in regular cars to create a workhorse that’s usable on weekends too.
Though not as in favour as a decade or two ago, the humble saloon remains an appealing option to UK buyers both private and fleet. These four-door machines combine sleek looks with potent powertrains — most often diesel for mile-munching — and feature a boxy boot at the back.
Much like crossovers, the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market is one that’s rapidly growing. These often-large cars have a big presence on the road, and boast the ability to carry people in comfort and style while majoring on practicality. Many are designed with off-road capabilities too.