What is a saloon car?
In an ever-changing world, the popularity of certain car bodystyles fluctuates over time. This could be due to a number of factors, and of course the evolution of consumers' needs, wants, and trends.
A saloon car is a type of car that follows a distinct 'three-box' design principle (especially when looked at from the side profile) whereby the three main proportions of the car are 'separate'. These are the engine, the passenger compartment and the boot.
Read on to discover more about saloon cars.
- What does a saloon car look like?
- How does a saloon car differ from other bodystyles?
- Advantages of a saloon car
- Disadvantages of a saloon car
- Should you still buy a saloon car?
What does a saloon car look like?
A saloon car as mentioned follows the three-box profile and is very much a car bodystyle that is associated with a premium and prestige nature.
Textbook examples of what the best saloon cars look like include the BMW 3 Series - which has been the yardstick saloon car for many generations. It hasn't had the limelight to itself though, as Mercedes-Benz have ensured the C-Class has always been a thorn in its side in the saloon car segment.
The saloon car today definitely has an aura of premium about it, especially with BMW and Mercedes-Benz still very much selling their saloons in high numbers, with larger saloons in their ranges like the 5 Series and S-Class also still proving popular too.
Saloons are the epitome of prestige, and it's no surprise to see saloon cars chauffeuring VIPs and being chosen as a go-to car the world over for many. More mainstream manufacturers like Ford and Vauxhall no longer produce saloon cars, whilst Peugeot and DS interestingly still do. Peugeot has the 508 and DS have the 9 (pictured), and both cars are very much premium models of their ranges, looking to take on BMW and Mercedes-Benz - as not everyone will want a German saloon. Hyundai should also be mentioned with their state-of-the-art all-electric IONIQ 6, which again targets a premium buyer.
How does a saloon car differ from other bodystyles?
The beauty about a car's bodystyle is its characteristics that make it differ from others. This way you can search a car more specifically, cutting out cars that may not be ideal for the car you want or need, or that match your lifestyle.
A saloon car tends to be sophisticated, more premium and offers more comfort due to their more pronounced 'three-box' presentation (Peugeot 508 Saloon pictured).
A hatchback tends to be a more 'two-box' shape in its approach with its profile encompassing its engine, with the interior and boot being part of the same molding.
This is why people often see a saloon as a 4-door car, whilst a hatchback is seen as a 5-door car, as the hinged boot on a hatchback comes off the roof - effectively being another door, whilst in a saloon it hinges under the rear window.
Elsewhere, a coupé may look more sleek than a saloon or hatchback, but technically it's merely a 2-door saloon.
Advantages of a saloon car
- Usually seen as more premium (Audi RS3 Saloon pictured)
- Tend to be more refined and offer better sound insulation
- Tend to be more secure, as the boot is separate - makes it more difficult to access
- More sophisticated
- Offer more space than a hatchback, along with more comfort
Disadvantages of a saloon car
- Becoming out of favour - SUV popularity has seen saloon car popularity drop, similar to that of estate cars
- Coupes are more attractive - if you don't need five doors, a coupe could be the better fit for your lifestyle, which looks more dynamic and sleeker looking (Ford Mustang pictured)
- Manufacturers withdrawing them for sale shows how they have declined in popularity
Should you still buy a saloon car?
Car buying habits change with time. Cars like the Ford Fiesta hatchback have been hugely popular for generations, but sometimes trends see popular things eventually fizzle out of favour. This is true with the Ford Fiesta no longer being made after June 2023 due to reduced demand.
The rise of the SUV has of course caused this, with cars like the Ford Puma now being the go-to car instead.
This is because consumer buying habits have moved towards a higher driving position and enhanced practicality to name but a few reasons, which seems interesting when SUVs were certainly not popular back in the '90s and early '00s.
Is the saloon car therefore going out of favour? To an extent, yes. But despite trends, manufacturers will offer a car for as long as they can or offer a new bodystyle to disrupt the market, and there will be plenty of consumers who simply don't want an SUV, along with consumers who don't want a hatchback or saloon car. The BMW 3 Series (pictured) has been around for generations and continues to be a popular model in the premium BMW range.
Consumers should buy a car that they like, and that fits their lifestyle. And if you still want a car that has been pushed out of a manufacturers model line up, there is always the chance of finding it amongst used cars.
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