Insider's Guides > Choosing the Right Car

Buying

Choosing the Right Car
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From Mini to Estate or even 4x4

Determine which body style might meet your needs:

  • MINI:
    3- or 5-door hatchback; easy to park and drive in town; tight fit for larger adults; not much load space.
  • SUPERMINI:
    3- or 5-door hatchback; easy to park and drive in town but bigger and roomier than MINI; adequate load space for two, restricted with rear passengers; seats four adults in reasonable comfort.
  • FAMILY HATCHBACK:
    Usually 5-door; plenty of room for four adults or two adults/two kids and their luggage. Huge choice - it's the biggest market sector.
  • SALOON:
    4-door; room for four adults; spacious, secure load space in boot; small models not popular with UK buyers; large saloons are the norm in the executive and prestige sectors.
  • ESTATE:
    5-door with same benefits as hatchbacks but more load space; occasional 7-seater capacity on some models, though rearmost seats tend to be child-sized.
  • PEOPLE CARRIER/MULTI-PURPOSE VEHICLE (MPV):
    5-door; 5- to 8-seater capacity; may have third row of seats (often cramped) and luggage space can be limited with all seats in use; 5-seaters not much more practical than an estate though more fashionable.
  • 4x4/SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE (SUV)
    3- or 5-door; all the advantages of an estate in a chunkier, higher-riding body.
  • COUPE:
    2- or 3-door; sporty styling, often at the expense of practicality; rear seats are small or non-existent; load space may be an afterthought.
  • CONVERTIBLE:
    2-door; as coupe with a fold-down roof; often two-seater, though soft-top versions of popular saloons like BMW 3-Series and hatchbacks like Peugeot 307 have reasonable rear space.