So, what kind of cars do you like? Do you like SUVs or MPVs? What about saloons or superminis? Coupes or crossovers? Hatchbacks, fastbacks, hardtops or 4x4s?

The car world is packed full of jargon and we're all guilty of reeling off endless bodystyle labels without actually explaining what they mean.

Well, no longer!

In this blog, I'll run through all car bodystyles, explaining what they mean and what sort of cars you can expect. So if it's time to choose a new car, this should be your first stop.

While 4x4s were originally designed for shifting sheep and towing trailers, you’re more likely to spy a big all-wheel drive offroader in the Waitrose carpark than a field nowadays.

But even though they're predominantly driven by footballers, 4x4s are still big, hairy vehicles that could churn their way across muddy fields without breaking a sweat.

Modern drivers are attracted by the raised driving position, the acres of space and the confidence they give you on greasy roads.

146 viewed this car Discovery SW View Gallery
7.2

Land Rover Discovery SW

20 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 3.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: 4x4
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 189 - 284g/km

From £489.63 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,937.78 inc VAT

Also called a compact or mini, the city car is unsurprisingly a car designed for the city. They’re small, dinky and easy to park — perfect for life on congested streets.

They usually have short chassis and wheels pushed out as far as they’ll go, which makes them the ideal choice for twisty streets and tight parallel parking. Get behind the wheel of a Ford Ka+ or Peugeot 108 and you can literally see every corner of the car, which makes manoeuvring an absolute breeze.

The drawback of a city car is space. There really isn’t very much of it. Go for a trip to Ikea and the biggest thing you’ll be bringing back is a tasteful ceramic vase.

180 viewed this car 500 Hatchback View Gallery
6.9

Fiat 500 Hatchback

26 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.4
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £108.64 Per Month

Initial Rental: £977.76 inc VAT

A convertible is technically any car that’s had its roof whipped off and replaced with a folding fabric or metal cover. While you can make a convertible out of any bodystyle (Fiat 500, I’m looking at you), manufacturers will usually use coupes as a base since they’re a bit sportier and a bit more desirable than other bodystyles.

While they aren’t the most practical in the UK, convertibles are bags more fun when the sun does actually come out. The only downside is that you lose a bit of storage space when you drop the roof down.

152 viewed this car A5 Cabriolet View Gallery
7.7

Audi A5 Cabriolet

36 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: 0.0 - 3.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Sports
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £233.06 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,097.54 inc VAT

Stick Einstein, Schumacher and Ford in a room for a couple of years and they come out with a good definition for coupe. Or they might spend the entire time arguing over the smallest minutiae of detail. Who knows?

Right, what's our definition of a coupe?

Well, coupes have two doors (unless they have four), fit two (or four) people, have a solid roof and a sloping rear roofline. They tend to be on the sportier end of the excitement scale without being fully fledged sport cars.

Simple, eh?

A crossover (also called a crossover utility vehicle or CUV) is quite a new bodystyle that only started gaining traction in the late-2000s. Basically, a crossover is a hatchback styled to look like a SUV. They ride higher and have chunkier styling but they usually lack of proper off-roading gear.

Crossovers take a bunch of the best stuff from SUVs like a raised seating position, spacious interiors and impressive luggage space. Also, since they’re considerably lighter than SUVs, crossovers are often relatively cheap to run.

346 viewed this car Qashqai Hatchback View Gallery
8.0

Nissan Qashqai Hatchback

76 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 99 - 208g/km

From £160.97 Per Month

Initial Rental: £965.82 inc VAT

Estate cars are kinda like the dachshunds of cars. Long bodies and … well that’s where the similarities end really.

Manufacturers will usually take a saloon or a hatchback and elongate the body to create more space in the cabin and a cavernous space for the boot.

Stick the back seats down and you can fit wardrobes and sofas in the back and still have enough space for a couple of chocolate labs.

They'll also drive and drive and drive. Through rivers across moors and down muddy tracks, estates are the unheralded workhorse of the automotive world.

In all honesty, there really aren’t many drawbacks. I guess the biggest thing is the looks. Estates rarely look better than the saloon or hatchback they’re based off and probably won’t turn many heads when you cruise down the high street. They're also a bit of a nightmare to park but that's kind of to be expected with a motor the length of the average cruise liner.

210 viewed this car V90 Estate View Gallery
7.5

Volvo V90 Estate

50 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P, X
  • Body: Estate
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: 44 - 183g/km

From £226.14 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,035.26 inc VAT

If you take a coupe, make it a little bigger and cram it full of luxury, you’ve just produced a grand tourer. Think Bentley Continental GT, Lexus LC and Aston Martin DB11.

Even though grand tourers tend to prioritise comfort and sophistication over speed and handling, they’re usually fitted with powerful engines and can cause some scares in a straight line.

99 viewed this car LC Coupe View Gallery
7.5

Lexus LC Coupe

14 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: 0.0 - 5.0
  • Fuel: H, P
  • Body: Coupe
  • Drive: A
  • CO2: None

From £998.04 Per Month

Initial Rental: £5,988.24 inc VAT

With hatchbacks, you get exactly what it says on the tin — a hatch on the back. In other words, the bootlid and window are one piece that moves together. The bootlid is attached at the roofline unlike saloons which have bootlids connected under the rear window.

Hatchbacks are usually small(ish), cheap(ish) and bags of fun(ish). They’re an excellent compromise car delivers looks, space and practicality.

11 viewed this car Civic Diesel Hatchback View Gallery
7.5

Honda Civic Diesel Hatchback

0 derivatives available

  • Doors:
  • Engine:
  • Fuel:
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive:
  • CO2: None

From £184.05 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,104.30 inc VAT

If you take a big, unintelligent chassis and bolt on a big, unintelligent engine, you’ve got yourself a muscle car.

The running joke goes that muscle cars are always the first to enter a corner but they’re the last one to exit it!

While some modern muscle cars come with modern chassis and effective handling, they’re still completely different to sports cars like the Jaguar F-Type or Lotus Elise.

122 viewed this car Mustang Fastback View Gallery
7.5

Ford Mustang Fastback

21 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: 2.3 - 5.0
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Coupe
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 199 - 299g/km

From £436.51 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,619.06 inc VAT

Multi-Purpose Vehicles or MPVs are big, practical cars designed for families and anyone else who needs a lot of space.

With an MPV, space is everything.

The headroom tends to be fantastic, the seats are generous and there’s often extra seating in the boot space.

However, they aren’t the fastest or the sleekest and they definitely aren’t the coolest but you’ll be hard pushed to find more internal space for your money.

88 viewed this car Touran Estate View Gallery
7.8

Volkswagen Touran Estate

25 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: MPV
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £183.82 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,102.92 inc VAT

A roadster is just a convertible based on a sports car. So all roadsters are convertibles but not all convertibles are roadsters. Technically, the roadster label only applies to two-seater cars but you won’t find us complaining if you ask for a five-seater roadster.

39 viewed this car 124 Spider Roadster View Gallery
6.9

Abarth 124 Spider Roadster

3 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: 1.4
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Sports
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 148 - 153g/km

From £277.45 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,497.05 inc VAT

Think of saloons as three boxes stuck together. In box one you’ve got the engine, in box two you’ve got the cabin and in box three you’ve got the boot. Each box is separate and closed off every other one. (Compare that to the two-box hatchback where the cabin and boot are one connected space.

Saloons tend to be executive cars. Boot space isn’t measures in litres but in golf club bags and skis.

While the market is dominated by luxury models like the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class, you can find cheaper options like the Ford Mondeo.

217 viewed this car 3 Series Saloon (2015) View Gallery
8.3

BMW 3 Series Saloon (2015)

0 derivatives available

  • Doors: 4
  • Engine: 1.5 - 3.0
  • Fuel: P, X, D
  • Body: Saloon
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 44 - 179g/km

From £257.69 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,319.21 inc VAT

What do you call a lightweight SUV? A crossover, right? Well, not if you’re Honda! Honda kicked off the urban SUV trend back in 2013 and have carved out a nice little niche between the intersecting worlds of hatchbacks, crossovers and SUVs.

Nowadays, you’ve got cars like the Toyota C-HR which could also fall into the urban SUV category.

200 viewed this car C-hr Hatchback View Gallery
7.7

Toyota C-hr Hatchback

47 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 0.0 - 1.8
  • Fuel: P, H
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: 86 - 152g/km

From £206.29 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,237.74 inc VAT
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The sports car label is a bit of a catch-all for all the cars that are fast, fun and utterly impractical. Think Porsche 911s and Jag F-Types.

They’re built to look great, sound amazing and feel fantastic to drive.

With two seats (usually) and a boot the size of a postage stamp, sports cars aren’t the most practical motor on the market — but that's not really the point!

73 viewed this car F-type Coupe View Gallery
7.9

Jaguar F-type Coupe

17 derivatives available

  • Doors: 2
  • Engine: 0.0 - 5.0
  • Fuel: P
  • Body: Coupe
  • Drive: A, M
  • CO2: 163 - 249g/km

From £475.65 Per Month

Initial Rental: £2,853.90 inc VAT

We’ve talked about hatchbacks and city cars but there’s a small niche between them inhabited by cars called superminis. Think Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio, Hyundai i20 and so on.

Superminis are bigger than city cars so can fit two adults in the back and a couple of suitcases in the boot but they’re small enough to feel nippy and agile.

385 viewed this car Fiesta Hatchback View Gallery
7.3

Ford Fiesta Hatchback

122 derivatives available

  • Doors: 3 - 5
  • Engine: 0.9 - 2.0
  • Fuel: D, P
  • Body: Hatchback
  • Drive: M, A
  • CO2: None

From £135.03 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,215.27 inc VAT

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are kind of like 4x4s for the road. They’re big, tall and offer bags of power. Think Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC60 and the Jaguar F-Pace.

Unlike 4x4s, SUVs are built for comfort and performance on the road. While some will have a bit of off-roading pedigree, it’s not a good idea to take them anywhere too challenging.

177 viewed this car Range Rover Evoque Hatchback (2015)

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Hatchback (2015)

14 derivatives available

  • Doors: 5
  • Engine: 2.0
  • Fuel: P, D
  • Body: 4x4
  • Drive: A, M
  • CO2: 134 - 191g/km

From £269.63 Per Month

Initial Rental: £1,617.78 inc VAT