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...

Porsche 718


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.

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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.

Nissan Juke
Mazda MX5


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.

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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.

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BMW 3 Series
Fiesta ST Line


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.

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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.

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VW Amarok


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.

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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.

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Jaguar XE
Range Rover


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.

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