What is a five-door car?

Sometimes trying to work out the ins and outs of new car buying can seem a little confusing. Once in a while, a nonsensical term or acronym will crop up that makes you wish for a simple definition to explain it.

If you’re searching for a family car, the buying requirements are usually the same: low running costs, a strong safety score, bulletproof reliability and a practical five-door cabin.

Wait… How many doors?

Yes, we said five. If you’re looking for a new Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf in which to ferry around the kids, your new car will be called a five-door, as opposed to the four that you’ll enter and exit through. The fifth door is the boot.

If the rear has an upward opening that includes the rear window which allows items to pass directly into the cabin, then that will be counted as an extra door, hence the odd number and the name hatchback.

In contrast, the likes of the Mercedes C-Class is considered a four-door, because the boot opening only provides direct access to the boot – the seats would needed to be folded away if you wanted to reach the rest of the interior.

If you’re searching for a practical car, we’d recommend choosing a car with a five-door hatchback body style. The cabin is usually a little more spacious than that in a four-door saloon and, in general, they offer better access to the boot, allowing you to load larger items more easily.

Only three-doors on your wagon?

So we’re all a little more informed about four- and five-door cars – but what if your car only comes with three? Don’t worry, it’s not Porsche’s new pay-per-door option list strategy – read our handy guide to demystify the illogical logic of three-doors cars.

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