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

For many years hatchbacks were a top choice for a family car, but in recent years SUVs have become more popular among new car buyers and many traditional hatchback drivers have switched to SUVs.

Hatchbacks appeal to most buyers because they are compact, practical and good value. SUV stands for ‘sports utility vehicle’ and an SUV sits higher than a hatchback with more rugged styling inspired by traditional off-roaders and 4x4s.

SUVs are popular because they offer buyers a higher seating position than a hatchback and a more commanding view of the road. In length and width they often match their hatchback counterparts, so buyers can still enjoy the extra manouvrability and ease of use that comes from a compact vehicle.

In space terms, hatchbacks and SUVs are often closely matched, so it is worth carefully checking the dimensions and boot volume before committing to a purchase. The higher roofline of an SUV often gives occupants more headroom, especially in the back, and gives the impression of a roomier and more spacious cabin.

Many people fall in love with an SUV because they love the way they look, but a well-designed five door hatchback will have a sportier, squat presence.

Hatchbacks also tend to be better to drive than SUVs because the lower centre of gravity makes them more stable in corners, so if you love a good driver’s car you’re probably best avoiding an SUV in the same price range.

In terms of efficiency, hatchbacks and SUVs of similar size may be offered with the same range of engines and be closely matched in terms of running costs but always check the specifications before making your decision to avoid any nasty surprises.

There is a belief that SUVs are safer than hatchbacks but the safety of the vehicle will depend on the model and you can check EuroNCAP to find the safety rating for the car you’re looking to buy, whether that’s an SUV or a hatchback.

Caroline Kidd