The Mazda3 is available as a hatchback or saloon

Hatchback vs Saloon: Which Should I Choose?

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 in 2021, there are a few decisions to make about the type of car you want. Will it be a hatchback or saloon car? In this article, we will help you decide which model is best for you by explaining a few key differences.

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 2021, hatchbacks account for about 31% of the new car market. Sales of saloons account for about 12.5% of the market. Many manufacturers are still bringing new saloon cars to the market, like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, along with old favourites like the Toyota Corolla Saloon.

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, 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. The Renault Mégane Grand Coupé (Saloon) is not sold in every European market but it sells well in this country, along side the hatchback. Irish people do love a good saloon!

There is still a market for large premium saloons like the Audi A4, Audi A6, BMW 3 Series, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

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

Thanks for reading!

Caroline Kidd