14 August 2011

Putting the boot in

A booted car that looks better than its hatchback stable mate. Is that possible?

BEAUTY is in the eye of the beholder. Can a saloon body style of a car look better than their hatchback siblings? Most of the time, no. As I’ve read and seen on PetrolBlog with their infamous Shatchback section which you can see for yourself. With a look on cars being given the boot from the hatchbacks that is often a poor execution.

I’ll openly admit (as will most of British motorists) that I will always get a hatchback over a saloon any day of the week. Not only do the hatches look better, but they’re also more practical and versatile than the saloons. Saloons may get a bigger boot than the hatch. Often coming at an expense of the added overhangs to the hatch ruins the cars look and proportions. Making them less desirable and versatile, which may as well be one the reasons us Brits dislike hatchback-based saloons.

Here on Definitely Motoring, I’ll be showcasing some cars that may arguably be just as good looking as – if not, better than – the hatchback equivalent. That will always be debatable though.

Ford Sierra Sapphire

FORD shocked the public when the Sierra came onto the roads in 1982. The replacement for the much-loved Cortina was very much ahead of its time. 

It took time for the Sierra's radical, jellymould shape to become a familiar sight. With the arrival of the Sapphire saloon in 1987. Which I think Ford should have launched at the beginning, along with the hatch and estate models. Maybe Ford will have grabbed more sales at the start with buyers seeing it as a direct replacement for the old Cortina. Especially when you consider that saloons were popular at the time of launch.

Gotta love the Sapphire Cosworths though. If that's too much of a wild child, then the 2.0 Ghias will suit you sir.


OK, so the original Mazda3 isn't the obvious choice if you're in the market for a car like this. Most would usually choose a Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic or a Vauxhall Astra. But that's no reason to overlook the Mazda3 because it's a tidy looking all-rounder. It's a reliable, well equipped and decent handling car (as it shares the same platform as the Ford Focus).

It's an unusual saloon-from-hatch conversion because it's actually quite well executed. Mazda have managed to make the 3 saloon look happily proportioned like its hatchback brother. By keeping the rear hangovers to a minimum and having a lower, sleeker roofline. In other words, not making it look like a typical dumpy, hatchback-based, three-box-saloon (e.g Volkswagen Jetta and Ford Focus). Which is where I can see the appeal of the 3 saloon.

The Mazda3 saloon was a modest seller in the UK, but it's respectable for this type of car. A feat itself considering we don't like small, hatchback based saloons.

Ford Orion
THE Ford Orion was very much an Escort with a boot. Not a strong seller that its hatchback counterpart was but arguably as good looking. A popular car nonetheless throughout the 1980s. They were a hit with (mostly older) conservative buyers who liked them as a "successor to the Cortina". Who were a bit shaken by the radical new Sierra that replaced the Big C. The appeal behind it was a sensible and conventional 4 door saloon. Wanting a new car from The Blue Oval in the mould of the old Cortina.

Speaking of the Orion, I do have a soft spot for the 1600 Ghia Injection models. A thinking man's XR3i with the performance and handling, without drawing too much attention to yourself. A wolf in sheep's clothing. That's one of the reasons it's appealing behind it because it's not your usual quick Ford. So is the pepperpot wheels.

To end this...

As I have given you some examples of booted cars, that are better and/or just as good looking as their hatchback siblings. What's your views on it? Join the debate by leaving me a reply and give me some examples of good looking cars that have been given the boot. Alternatively, you can do it on Twitter @MrLukeMcCormack or on the Facebook page.


  1. Underrated cars that live in the shadow of the Escort XR3i - though in fairness, other Fast Fords from the 80s like the Fiesta XR2 and the Sierra Cosworth. I hope there's an appreciation for the Orion 1.6 Ghia injections.

    Thanks for your comment by the way, MajorGav :-)

  2. Thanks for the mention. Pleased to learn that Shatchbacks have reached infamy status!

    As for the Orion.One.Point.Six.Injection.Ghia. I share the love, sir. I share the love!


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