The Mazda3 is available as a hatchback or saloon
The Mazda3 is available as a hatchback or saloon

It’s time to get back to basics.  When it comes to buying a new car, there are a few decisions to make about the type of car you want. Will it be a hatchback or saloon car?

How popular are saloons and hatchbacks?

While sales of SUVs are on the rise, there is still a lot of interest in hatchbacks in Ireland. In fact in Ireland in 2020, hatchbacks account for about 30% of the new car market. Sales of saloons are actually growing, with this type of car accounting for about 15% of the market.

According to Google Trends, there have been more Internet searches for saloons than hatchbacks in the last 12 months in Ireland! Many manufacturers are still bringing new saloon cars to the market, like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé.

When you are researching buying a new car, you will find that some manufacturers offer both in the same model range. For example the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Audi A3 and Renault Mégane are offered as a five door hatchback or a four door saloon! In 2019, Toyota relaunched the Corolla as a hatchback and saloon. Renault Ireland says that the Renault Mégane Grand Coupé (Saloon) outsells the hatchback in this country. Irish people do love a good saloon!

Now let’s clarify what is a hatchback and what is a saloon car, and then look at why you might choose one over the other.

The Toyota Corolla Saloon is very popular in Ireland
The Toyota Corolla Saloon is very popular in Ireland

Hatchback or saloon?

There are a few simple differences between a hatchback and saloon.

1. Design

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.

2. Style

This fundamental structural difference between a hatchback and saloon naturally has style implications. The saloon’s boot extends more out the back making the car appear bigger. A hatchback tends to have a more integrated, compact style at the rear. Some people prefer the more sporty, compact look of a hatchback. Others like the somewhat larger and more grand appearance of the saloon. In recent years, manufacturers have begun to give saloon cars more gracious and flattering ‘coupé-like’ design. Some hatchbacks are even cleverly designed to have the appearance of a saloon. The SKODA Octavia is a perfect example. The Octavia is actually a hatchback.

3. Space & Practicality

The final point to make is about space and practicality. The hatchback’s boot tends to be more practical for carrying things compared to a similarly-sized saloon car. Saloon boots tend to have narrower, more restrictive openings. This means it can be hard to reach items at the very back. By contrast, a hatchback boot is a more flexible space. Folding down the rear seats will increase the practicality of the space even further for carrying larger items. Interestingly, some saloon cars actually have more boot volume than their hatchback counterparts. So if you are looking for outright volume do take a look at the figures in the catalogue. For example, the boot in the new Mazda3 saloon is almost 100 litres larger in capacity than the Mazda3 hatchback.

Saloon cars can have smaller boot openings but more space like the Mazda3 Saloon
Saloon cars can have smaller boot openings but more space like the Mazda3 Saloon

Anything else?

So there you have it. A quick rundown on what is a hatchback or saloon car and the differences between them.

Now read some reviews of our favourite hatchbacks:

Mazda3 Hatchback Review

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

And our favourite saloon cars:

Honda Civic Saloon Review

Audi A3 Saloon Review

If you have any questions or need some specific model advice, send a message using the contact form on this website.

Caroline Kidd