What Do The Body Type Names Mean?

With so many cars on the roads and being manufactured right now, there are a plethora of names people have given their cars. This can cause confusion for potential new personal leasing and business leasing customers about what is it that really want and what car will fit their needs. Well, in this blog we go through and explain the meaning of a few body styles and some examples to go with them.

Hatchback

Hatchback

Hatchback

A hatchback is the most common type of car on British roads. A car becomes a hatchback when it has a rear door (the boot) which opens upwards. A hatchback can vary in size and can come as a 3 door or a 5 door.

Popular examples of modern hatchbacks are the Volkswagen GolfFord Focus and FiestaBMW 1 Series, and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

You can view our page on hatchback leasing here

Sportback

Sportback

Sportback

A Sportback is a fancy way of describing a 5 door hatchback commonly used by Audi.

Examples of a Sportback are Audi A3s.

Spaceback

Spaceback

Spaceback

Space back is a fancy way of describing a hatchback with estate styling but not quite the configuration to be a true estate.

An example of space back is the Skoda Rapid.

Crossover

Crossover

Crossover

A crossover is a new age term for a vehicle that is between a hatchback and an SUV in terms of size. A crossover more often than not is, in fact, a hatchback.

RELATED: What is a crossover? / Budget Crossovers You Can Lease

Popular examples of crossovers are Nissan QashqaiFord KugaVolkswagen T-Roc, and the Kia Sportage.

Estate

Estate

Estate

An estate can be based on an a hatchback or saloon but the key difference being the full size cargo area. Some SUVs can be described as estate due to their 'full size' configuration but commonly an estate is a passenger vehicle.

Examples of estates are the C Class EstateFocus Estate and the Octavia Estate.

Sportswagon

Sportswagon

Sportswagon

A sports wagon is a fancy way to make an estate seem less boring. Often used by continental countries.

Examples of sports wagons are Volvo V60 and Peugeot 308.

Station Wagon

A station wagon is another name for an estate that is more prominent in North America.

Touring

Touring

Touring

A tourer, when used to describe a body style, should not be confused with a touring car. A tourer is essentially an estate with the manufacturer using the word tourer instead to affirm that it's a vehicle to be used over long distances much like a grand tourer without the grand. BMW is the most common use of the word touring, sports tourer, or just tourer.

An example of a touring car is the BMW 3 Series Tourer.

Avant

Avant

Avant

Avant, like the tourer, is a posh name to give to an estate. Avant means 'forward-thinking' and it's a way for the manufacturer's way to say that the Avant is better than the regular version of the model. Audi is the main user of the term Avant.

An example of an Avant is the Audi A4 Avant.

Shooting Brake

Shooting Brake

Shooting Brake

A shooting brake is an estate that has sporty, coupe-like styling which can have 4 doors and often a sloping roof. Essentially, a shooting brake is a cross between a coupe an estate.

Mercedes are one of the few people to still use the moniker with the CLA shooting brake being an example.

Convertible

Convertible

Convertible

A convertible is a car with a retractable roof. The method of retraction can differ as can the size of the roof.

An example of a convertible is the Fiat 500 convertibleMini Convertible, and the 2 series convertible.

Cabriolet

Cabriolet

Cabriolet

A cabriolet is an old fashion name which these days describes a convertible. The origin of the word describes a horse-drawn carriage which a retractable roof.

An example of a cabriolet is the C Class Cabriolet and Audi A3 cabriolet.

Hard Top/Targa

Hard Top/Targa

Hard Top/Targa

A hardtop is a type of convertible where the roof isn't retractable but removable. As the name suggests, the roof is made of hard material often plastic.

An example of a hard-top Targa is the Porsche 911 Targa. 

Soft Top

A soft top is the opposite of a hardtop where the roof is made of a softer material.

Saloon

Saloon

Saloon

A saloon sometimes called a sedan in non-European countries, is a three-box vehicle where the engine, passenger box, and boot are separate. The difference between a saloon and a hatchback is the boot is separated by its own door.

View our Saloon leasing page

An example of a saloon is the Jaguar XFBMW 3 Series SaloonAudi A4 SaloonMercedes C Class Saloon.

Coupe

A coupe is a tricky vehicle to describe but the general consensus is a three or a two-door vehicle, with a solid roof that isn't a saloon or an SUV. Some manufacturers also call some of their 4 door vehicle coupes if it has a sloped, solid roof.

Examples of coupes include the Audi TT Coupe4 Series Coupe, Mercedes CLA coupe.

Gran Coupe

A grand coupe is a 4 door car with coupe styling. They can often have 4+1 seating inside. Strictly speaking, a gran coupe is either a hatchback or a saloon.

An example of a Gran Coupe is the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Roadster

Roadster

Roadster

A roadster is a 2 seater sports car.

An example of a roadster is the new BMW Z4.

Spider

Spider

Spider

A spider is a different name for a roadster.

An example of a spider is the Fiat 124 Spider.

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo

Gran Turismo

A Gran Turismo is a vehicle designed for luxurious long-distance traveling. A GT should be spacious, possible in a saloon or an estate configuration with the emphasis being on the comfortable drive.

We have written a specific page on what it takes to be called a GT.

An example of a GT is the Bentley Continental GT.

MPV

MPV

MPV

An MPV is short for a multi-purpose vehicle and it is another name for a people carrier or if you're American - a minivan. To be an MPV the vehicle should have a high roof with a flexible interior designed chiefly for multiple passengers as opposed to comfort. An MPV will have at least 5 full-size seats up to 7. An MPV is a cross between a hatchback and a crew van.

Examples of MPVs are Volkswagen TouranCitroen C4 SpacetourerFord S-Max.

Fastback

Fastback

Fastback

A fastback is a specific style where the rear of the car has a single slope from the roof to the rear bumper. It is very similar to the coupe but not quite.

An example of a Fastback is the Ford Mustang.

SUV

SUV

SUV

A sports utility vehicle is a term to describe an estate like a car with genuine off-road capabilities such as high ground clearance and 4x4. The difference between the SUV and a crossover is that an SUV is not a hatchback.

An example of an SUV is the Audi Q8BMW X7Land Rover Range Rover, and the Mercedes GLS.

View our SUV leasing page

City Car

City Car

City Car

A city car is a small vehicle designed to be used in urban areas. A city car is technically a hatchback with the key difference between the small, compact bodyshell and platform and low powered, economical engines.

View our City Car leasing page

Examples of City Cars are Volkswagen UpCitroen C1Toyota Aygo, and Smart ForTwo.