2 Apr 2013

Sport hatch, GTC, sports coupe or just a 3 door?

A few years ago most hatchbacks were available as 3 or 5 doors.  Easy and simple.  But over recent years car manufacturers have sought to glamorise their hatchbacks by giving them different names and shapes to greater differentiate models in a crowded market.

The Audi A3 is available as a 3 door or as a Sport Hatch (5 door), the Vauxhall Astra comes as a 5 door or as a GTC (3 door) but until recently the 3 door was called the Sport Hatch, the new Renault Clio has five doors as standard but the rear doors are blended in so it looks like it only has 3 doors.

The Seat Leon has 5 doors as standard but now comes as the Seat Leon SC (3 doors) and is lower and shorter than the standard Leon.  Presumably SC stands for Sport Coupe.

A 3 door hatchback does generally look better than a 5 door but has it's drawbacks.  The doors are longer and heavier, which makes exiting in a tight car park difficult, and the seatbelts are so far behind the front seat passengers as to be a complete pain to get at.

A bespoke 3 door hatch (rather than a 3 door version of the 5 door) tends to have a roofline which slopes toward the rear, small rear side-windows and a sculpted rear end with a steeply raked rear window in order to emulate a proper coupe.  As such they can look pretty similar to each other.

For those who say all modern cars all look the same have a look at the image below and let us know which is the Seat Leon SC and which the Astra GTC.