Buy-Hatchback-Station-WagonWhen you’ve got a considerably-sized family, you need a car that provides plenty of space – a city car just won’t do. However, not everyone wants to drive around in a people carrier – a seven or nine seat car. The space these vehicles provide might be too much for someone who, for example, has just a couple of kids – excessive in some cases. So, what alternatives are there for families who just can’t justify buying a seven or nine seat car?

Plenty actually. The main alternatives are hatchback models or station wagons. They both typically provide five seats, five doors, roomy interiors and pretty generous boot space. But how do they actually differ? And, more importantly, how could the typical family unit benefit from owning one of these styles of vehicle.

Station Wagons

In the UK – and the majority of Europe, for that matter – station wagons aren’t particularly common. There are pretty prominent examples on the market that are directly referred to as station wagons, such as the Peugeot 308 SW. And this is because station wagon is a term commonly used in America. Estate car tends to be the term of choice over here.

Now we’ve got that cleared up, what is a station wagon, or an estate car?

You can easily spot a station wagon (or estate car) by its extended body.

From an interior perspective they typically feature one or more rows of seats behind the driver which can be folded or removed. A station wagon doesn’t feature luggage compartment areas, but there is a boot where some luggage can be loaded in. This feature dates back to the origins of the body style. Originally station wagons were designed to transport people from their luggage to and from rail stations.

In the modern era, they’re regarded as something of a luxury car – the choice of the business executive. And despite their extended size, they’re capable of delivering impressive fuel efficiency rates – thanks to the advances made in engine technology.


The hatchback is an incredibly popular style of vehicle. Go for a drive and you’ll see lots of examples on the road. But essentially hatchbacks offer lots of practicality through their design. This enables drivers to have more storage space, more passenger space, or a good balance between the two should they choose it.

Although they, generally, provide a pretty spacious boot compartment, the seats can, on some models, be folded down to make this even greater. The boot hatch also swings upwards, making it much easier for drivers to load the vehicle up.

Station Wagon or Hatchback?

In summary, station wagons differ to hatchbacks simply in that they’re longer and have a longer wheelbase. If you’re agonising over whether to buy a hatchback or a station wagon to accommodate your family unit, you should think probably think about the additional situations in which the aspects of each car could beneficial. Of course, either is going to provide enough space for your family, but for example, if you visit the DIY store on a regular basis, is it going have enough room for long pieces of timber? If it’s a hatchback probably not.

Louisa Jenkins is a freelance writer who hails from Grimsby. She loves driving and regularly writes about the latest releases on the market – detailing or reviewing anything from the latest city cars to new hatchbacks. Learn more about the Peugeot hatchback range.