Hatchback vs Saloon

What's the difference?

Mazda 3 hatchback vs saloon
The Mazda3 is available as a hatchback or saloon

In this blog, we’re going to get down to the basics of what is a hatchback and what is a saloon, and look at why you might choose one over the other.

When you’re looking to buy a car, you may notice that some model ranges can even have the choice of the two, hatchback or saloon. For example the Audi A3, Mazda 3, Ford Focus and Opel Insignia can be bought as a five door hatchback or a four door saloon.

But what’s the difference?

The clue is right there. The ‘five door’ hatchback has an integrated boot and when you open the boot you are really opening that fifth door – the boot lid incorporates the rear window and opens directly into the cabin of the car.

By contrast the boot lid does not include the rear window in a saloon and the boot is opened in isolation from the rest of the car.

This fundamental difference between a hatchback and saloon naturally has styling implications – the saloon’s boot extends more out the back making the car appear bigger, whereas a hatchback tends to have a more integrated, compact style at the rear.

Some hatchbacks are cleverly designed to have the appearance of a saloon – the SKODA Octavia is a perfect example. The Octavia is actually a hatchback.

Traditionally, saloon cars have done well in Ireland and many believe it’s because they look like better value – bigger cars for the money. You may prefer the styling of one over the other – the hatchback often having a sportier, more youthful design when compared to the more mature-looking saloon.

The final point to make is about space and practicality. The hatchback’s boot tends to be more practical for carrying cargo compared to a similarly-sized saloon car. Saloon boots tend to have narrower, more restrictive openings, and it can be hard to reach items at the very back once loaded. By contrast, a hatchback boot is a more flexible space and folding down the rear seats will increase the practicality of the space even further for carrying larger items.

hatchback vs saloon
Hatchback vs. saloon: The saloon boot (pictured) tends to have a narrower opening and is not as practical as a hatchback for carrying large items

What’s your preference – hatchback or saloon?

Caroline Kidd

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