What is a 3-door car?

You need doors to get into your car. But what is a 3 door car?

Feb 27, 2019

When it comes to cars, the definition of a door covers more than just the openings at the side.

Manufacturers class a hatchback bootlid as a door too, because, when raised, it opens up the back of the car which could, in theory, be used to get inside. Well, as long as you remove the parcel shelf.

And so most cars have an odd number of doors. Three-door vehicles have two front doors and the boot, while five-door models add a set of rear doors for easier access to the back.

Three-door models often have rear seats, but these can only be accessed by tilting he front seats forward and clambering into the back, which is rarely comfortable or dignified.

Why choose a 3-door car?

Where cars are offered with either three or five doors (examples include the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Mini Hatchback and even early versions of the Range Rover Evoque), they tend to be cheaper than the equivalent five-door model, saving buyers money.

However, the main benefit of a three-door car is that it normally looks more stylish than a five-door equivalent. Without the need to make rear door openings that are large enough for passengers to climb through, a three-door car can be designed to be more flowing, the roof gently curving down towards the back of the car.

As well as the increased difficulty in accessing the rear seats, the angled roof can also reduce headroom in the back, so three-door vehicles often make you pay the price for practicality.

What cars are available with 3 doors?

There are currently 4525 cars available on BuyaCar with three doors. prices start at £4,000 or from £71 per month with finance. Compact city cars such as the Peugeot 108 and Volkswagen up! are commonly seen with only three doors because the cost saving is a significant proportion of the price for these vehicles.

Most city cars are available with five doors, but the openings can be small and the cars can appear extremely boxy.

Some larger Ford Fiesta-sized cars are offered with three doors, but manufacturers are increasingly dropping this option, as designers find clever ways of making five-door cars look sleek, and the increasing size of small cars means that the rear seats may be used regularly.

Three doors are even rarer on larger cars: in recent years, the Ford Focus and Audi A3 have stopped being offered with the option, but the Volkswagen Golf is still available with three doors.

Read more about:

Latest jargon busters

  1. Electric car glossary: Electric Vehicle (EV) jargon busted

  2. What is horsepower?

  3. What is voice control?

What our customers say