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Crossovers to coupes: what do all these car types mean?

PA Motoring logoPA Motoring 11/07/2019 Ryan Hirons
a car parked in a parking lot: We take a look at the variety of car types available on today's ever-diverse market... © PA We take a look at the variety of car types available on today's ever-diverse market...

With the new car market becoming an ever-more diverse field, it can be a little daunting to learn about the variety of motors on sale today.

If you’ve ever looked broadly at buying a new car, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of terms like saloon, hatchback, coupe and whatever else. Though simple in nature, these car ‘classes’ can be a bit of a headache to understand for those with a lesser interest in cars. Is that you? We’ve put together a handy guide to help…

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Coupe

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

Coupes are some of the most desirable cars on the road. Though referring to any two-door car, they’re most commonly associated with two-door sports cars and supercars — combining sleek looks with mega performance.

Crossover

a car parked in front of a building © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

The crossover — sometimes known as CUV — is the most rapidly-growing segment in the new car market. These vehicles combine the proportions and practicality of a hatchback with a higher ride height and more rugged looks often associated with an SUV. They’re the ‘in’ thing at the moment, with many manufacturers turning their focus to this segment.

Convertible

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

A convertible is a car that can either be had with its roof fixed in place, or dropped down for open-top motoring. Convertibles come in a variety of flavours — with hard-top (a roof made from metal), soft-top (a canvas or fabric roof) and targa (a hand-removed panel) the most common.

Estate

a car driving on a mountain road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

Estates have long been a favourite type of car amongst UK buyers, and its not hard to see why. These tend to combine the sleek looks a saloon brings, and adds practicality with an enlarged, squared-off boot. Coupes can also come in an estate-like form, referred to as a ‘shooting brake’ by many.

Hatchback

a red car driving on a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

Hatchbacks are the most common form of car. These compact machines are small in size, yet often practical thanks to clever packaging — making them a favourite in a crowded Britain. They can range from dinky city cars, to larger family hatches.

MPV

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The Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) may not be a popular choice today, but it remains a practical one. These vehicles put practicality ahead of everything else, usually taking boxy forms and packing five to seven seats — perfect as a family hauler.

Pick-up

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

Though more of a go-to choice in America than the UK, there’s a decent market for pick-ups on these shores. These more rugged vehicles have a flatbed at the back which is ideal for carrying huge loads, yet come with creature comforts found in regular cars to create a workhorse that’s usable on weekends too.

Saloon

a car driving on a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

Though not as in favour as a decade or two ago, the humble saloon remains an appealing option to UK buyers both private and fleet. These four-door machines combine sleek looks with potent powertrains — most often diesel for mile-munching — and feature a boxy boot at the back.

SUV

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association (PA Motoring)

Much like crossovers, the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market is one that’s rapidly growing. These often-large cars have a big presence on the road, and boast the ability to carry people in comfort and style while majoring on practicality. Many are designed with off-road capabilities too.

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