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What Is A Saloon Car?

Author: Cameron | Updated: 23rd April 2023

Saloon cars are often not as practical as typical hatchback models but tend to be more premium and executive vehicles. This boot opening of a saloon is smaller and separate from the rest of it, whereas you can access the back of the car from the boot in a hatchback.


Want to find out what the best saloon cars on the market are? Check out our other blog which breaks down the top saloon models money can buy.


Ready to get started and find the best deal on a brand-new saloon? Moneyshake compares offers on the latest saloons and shows you the best deal.


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What does a saloon car look like?

Audi A4 Saloon

Saloon cars tend to have a long wheelbase and wide body which give them plenty of presence on the road. Four doors are generally a signature characteristic of a saloon. This design means that they’re often very capable at carrying multiple passengers in comfort.

Take the Audi A4 above as an example. It’s one of the roomiest premium saloons on the market and that’s because of its wide-opening rear doors and big dimensions. However, Audi’s award-winning A4 is just one example of a saloon that is a good all-rounder.


When deciding on your perfect saloon, you can choose something spacious, sporty or luxurious. In the first instance, the go-to example would be the shuttle-like Skoda Superb. Then for a sporty saloon the Alfa Romeo Giulia which focuses on creating a driver-centric experience, while at the pricier, plush end of the scale there’s the phenomenal Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Best saloon cars - saloon car meaning

Is a saloon a family car?


The beauty of a saloon car is that most of them can double up as a family-friendly vehicle. While you’ll probably want a bigger model like an SUV if you have a big family, most saloon cars will fit a family of four and guarantee comfort at the same time too.

There are some saloon cars that are more capable at being family cars than others – here are our top picks of saloon family cars.


1. Skoda Superb

Brand-new Skoda Superb

Not only is the Skoda Superb one of the roomiest saloons on the market, but it represents incredible value for money too. It uses petrol and diesel engines that are super refined, punchy and good on fuel too.

Only the huge Mercedes-Benz S-Class could claim to be more spacious in the back than the Superb, but getting one of those would require a lot more cash.

Every trim level of the Superb is well-equipped, with entry-level SE specs including:

  • 17in alloy wheels
  • Chrome surround on the grille and window surround
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Virtual cockpit

2. Volkswagen Passat

Brand-new Volkswagen Passat

If you had a venn diagram for saloon cars which on one side had ‘spacious and low price’ then ‘pricey and luxurious’ on the other, where both these categories intersect would be the Volkswagen Passat.

While it’s often overlooked for this very reason, the Passat represents a brilliant family car option because it ticks so many boxes. First of all, it’s a Volkswagen, so it comes with plenty of reliability and a true feeling of being a well-built machine inside-out.

Just like the Superb before it, the Passat promises a plethora of space inside and an impressive range of powerfully smooth engines that ensure it never feels like a slog carrying more people and luggage.

What’s more is that you’ll be impressed with the levels of equipment onboard the Volkswagen Passat, regardless of which spec you choose. For example, the entry-level SE Nav includes:

  • 17in alloy wheels
  • Fully galvanised body
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Chrome louvres on the grille
  • Start/stop function
  • Lane assist

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3. Vauxhall Insignia

Brand-new Vauxhall Insignia

There once was a time when the Vauxhall Insignia was the go-to family car choice, but the rise in popularity of the tall-riding SUV has quashed this somewhat. But we’re here to remind you that you shouldn’t discount the Insignia from your plans full stop.

Even entry-level Vauxhall Insignia models are a solid option if you’re after something with executive feel for a hatchback asking price. That’s right, the Insignia may not have the plush-feeling interior of its German rivals, but its enormous space and modern cabin at least do the job.

You’ll also have access to turbo diesel engines that do a brilliant job of pulling the Insignia along leisurely, without costing you an arm and a leg on fuel.

Just like these other saloon family cars, the Insignia has a good amount of equipment as standard. Kicking off the range is the SE Nav trim which includes good equipment as standard, such as:

  • 17in alloy wheels
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Sports seats
  • McPherson strut front suspension

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Saloon vs hatchback – what’s the difference?

Saloon vs hatchback - saloon car meaning

There are a few fundamental differences between a saloon and a hatchback which you should understand before deciding which body type is right for you.

  1. Boot lid – on a saloon the boot lid is attached below the rear window, whereas on a hatchback it’s attached to the roof, the latter of which creates a wider opening.
  2. Practicality – hatchbacks tend to be smaller and more practical than saloons, making them the go-to choice if you regularly carry passengers and their luggage.
  3. Price – because saloon cars are bigger and more premium models, they often come with a bigger price tag as a result.

Sedan vs saloon – what’s the difference?


Sedan and saloon are just two variations of describing the same type of car – a long, executive vehicle which generally prioritises luxury over practicality.

The term ‘sedan’ is often used in American English, whereas in British English the same vehicle is described as a ‘saloon’.


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