There are many different types of car out there on the market today, so we thought it might be useful to have this guide to all the different types of car you could come across on the UK forecourt.


First of all, we’ll start with one of the more popular cars on the market today…



BMW 1 series (E87 Hatchback) M Sport - Photo by L.C.Nøttaasen

Quite simply, a hatchback car is a car that has a ‘hatchback door’. In modern-day cars, this door is at the rear of the car, and is lifted when opened.

A hatchback car, in general, will have a passenger cabin and a boot space (to store cargo – such as shopping).

Hatchback cars usually have rear-folding seats, so passengers can access the boot space from inside the car. This also allows the boot space to expand if passengers are carrying extra-large cargo such as white goods or doors, for example.


A saloon car (known as a ‘sedan’ in America), is very similar to a hatchback, but often has little or no boot space at all. It has two rows of seats, with plenty of space in the rear of the car for adult/tall passengers.

Although these types of car aren’t as popular as hatchbacks, saloon cars are still made and sold here in the UK.

They are very popular in America, simply because of the space in both the front and rear of the car.


An estate car (or station wagon, as it is known in America) is very popular with families who have pets (often dogs). In essence, they are very similar to a saloon car, because they have a large amount of passenger space. However, while a saloon car will have little or no cargo space, an estate car will have a large boot space – that can, in most estate cars, be extended into seats for more passengers.

The boot space on an estate car can be accessed by a fifth door. This door, depending on the model of the car, can either be accessed by a vertical-lifting door, or a simple car door at the rear.


Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Sports Car

Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Sports Car - Photo by sledhockeystar7

Sports cars are now made in their millions. There are so many different types of sports cars, it’s hard to cover them all!

Basically, a sports car is a small, low-built car with a high-powered engine. Sports cars usually contain just two passenger seats and are often built with soft-top roofs so the passengers can temporarily ‘remove’ the roof on a warm day.

There are rear-engine sports cars, mid-engine sports cars and front-engine sports cars – all of which have different performance capabilities and price tags.

In the UK, the most common sports cars are MGs, followed by Mazdas and Porches.


4x4s, or four-wheel drive cars are, as the name suggests, four-wheeled cars capable of driving on almost all terrains. Four-wheeled drive cars receive torque from the engine at the same time (whereas other cars are limited to front/rear-wheel drive), which provides more power and turning capabilities.

Four-wheeled cars are usually quite large, and often come with ample boot space. They are popular with walkers, and people who live in rural areas – because they can deal with the rougher terrain a lot easier than a sports car could, for example.

People carrier

People carriers have really taken off in popularity over the past decade. Known as MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles), people carriers are similar to small vans, but are designed for personal/passenger use.

They often come with 7 seats (2 in the front, 3 in the middle and 2 at the rear – which can be removed to increase boot-storage space.

People carriers are very popular with families, simply because of their large interior.


A mini van is basically the American equivalent of a people carrier. They are often boxed-shaped and designed for either personal/passenger use or trade/business use.

The interior of a minivan is interchangeable – so one day it could be used as a family car, while the next day (following the removal of the seats), it could be used to carry tools/cargo.

Transit van

Finally, a transit van (although it’s not technically a car), can still be used to ferry passengers around.

Transit vans, in the UK, are often associated with manual labourers (such as builders), and have one row of seats at the front of the van, with a very large storage space in the back.

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Photo copyright illVision Photography

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