The way we have categorised car body types has evolved over the decades. Changing consumer demand and advances in technology and engineering have led to the creation of far more categories into which cars now fall.
Here we shine a spotlight on three relatively new or lesser-known segments that you may not have considered but which are all popular among new car buyers.
The enigma that is the hot hatch
Though today there remains a considerable amount of confusion as to what a hot hatch is, these vehicles have been around since the 70s, with the term ‘hot hatch’ first coined in reference to the original Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Now, however, these vehicles are more in demand than ever. Simply put, a hot hatch is a high-performance variant of the standard hatchback. They typically come with enhanced suspension, increased power output and sporty styling inside and out.
Popular particularly among city dwellers, hot hatches offer sport car thrills and performance, with everyday usability and practicality – all for a reasonable price. What’s not to like?
Some of the most popular hot hatches include:
2020 Ford Focus ST
The Ford Focus ST is available with a new 7-speed auto transmission and 6-speed manual transmission and is powered by a 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbo engine.
2020 Hyundai i30 N Line
The i30’s high-performance N Line variants feature sports-oriented suspension and styling, offering agile handling, comfortable sports seats and plenty of leg room.
Renault Megane R.S.
Featuring the most powerful 1.8-litre engine on the market, the Renault Megane R.S. also boasts an array of interior comforts including sports seats, a leather steering wheel and an 8.7-inch portrait-style touchscreen.
The enduring appeal of the crossover
SUVs have continued to grow in popularity for Australian motorists, and perhaps none more so than the compact or crossover segment.
Intended primarily for urban environments, the crossover combines many design elements and features of standard passenger cars with full-sized SUVs.
The appeal of these vehicles is clear – offering the practicality and space of an SUV with the price tag and running costs of a small hatch.
Another major drawcard of the crossover is that they offer drivers a more commanding view of the road than a lot of sedans courtesy of an elevated ride height.
Their physically smaller size also makes them easier to park and manoeuvre – ideal for city driving. But don’t let their compactness fool you – many crossovers offer the same storage space as a full-sized SUV.
Three popular crossovers in Australia right now include:
The top-selling ‘light’ SUV in Australia1 is stylish and practical, agile and comfortable to drive and boasts a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
The relative newcomer has impressed many of Australia’s key automotive experts, for its excellent performance, large storage and state-of-the-art tech.
The Kona is a sporty SUV with a spacious interior and split-folding rear seats, plus an advanced infotainment system and connectivity features.
The rise of the versatile ‘sports ute’
Traditionally designed as tool-of-trade vehicles for builders, carpenters and plumbers, the utes of today are sought after as much for their style and functionality as their capability on a worksite.
In fact, these powerful off-roaders have become so popular they now claim the top two spots in Australia’s list of top 10 selling cars2.
There is a growing trend for these powerful workhorses to cater for a wide range of busy, active lifestyles. Drivers don’t just want a vehicle to store their tools – they want the latest in interior modern comforts and safety technologies.
Here are some of the most in-demand sports utes:
Currently the best-selling vehicle in Australia3, the 2021.25MY Ford Ranger comes equipped with more technology than ever before, including an embedded modem allowing you to locate your vehicle, lock and unlock your doors and even start the engine remotely.
Nissan Navara N-TREK Warrior
Locally engineered and tested to ensure it handles Australia’s harshest conditions, this durable off-roader boasts 32.2-inch all-terrain tyres, advanced suspension and specially designed underbody protection.
The newest Triton model features the latest MiTEC safety features, smartphone connectivity, LED Daytime Running Lamps and arguably more practical storage than a lot of other utes thanks to its roll top tonneau.
Whilst all care is taken in preparing this information, you should not rely on it without making your own independent assessment of the vehicle and other sources of information.