What makes a car a 3-door or a 5-door?

Jerrica · Apr 10, 2020 09:00 AM

The difference between 2-doors and 3-doors

You’ve often heard the term 3-door and 5-door used when describing a car. For example, MINI literally names their famous hatch MINI 3-Door and MINI 5-Door. But why does MINI name their cars a 3-Door or a 5-Door when there are only either 2 doors and 4 doors for ingress and egress on the cars?

MINI Cooper 3-door and 5-door

Put simply, any door like structure which includes window on a car large enough for an adult to climb in and out of is considered a “door”. So, the terms 3-door and 5-door are reserved mostly for hatchbacks, as government regulations for motor vehicles also take into account the boot entrance as a door.

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That being said, automotive regulations still has a set distinction even though they recognise the boot lid on a hatchback as a door. The boot door on hatchbacks are known as rear door while the doors we use to enter and exit a car are known as side doors

Honda Jazz boot opening

The fifth door on the Honda Jazz 

Hence the MINI Cooper hatchback’s variant names as MINI Cooper 3-Door and MINI Cooper 5-Door. Another example of a 3-door hatchback is the Renault Megane while a Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris are seen to have 5 doors.

This does not include sporty coupes like an Audi TT. The boot lid is large and has a window but the aperture is not big enough to access the cabin from the back. So, this qualifies cars like the Audi TT as a 2-door car rather than a 3-door car.

Hyundai Veloster is a 4-door car

Another car that does not qualify itself as a 5-door car is the Hyundai Veloster, as the car has 3 side doors and 1 rear door (hatch opening) making it a 4-door car. Bet you didn't realise that the Veloster only has 3 doors (2 on the passenger side and 1 on the driver side) before! 

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There isn’t a time in memory that doesn’t involve staring at cars. After discovering the excitement of watching Schumacher vs Hakkinen, Formula 1 became a major part of life. The love for cars and F1 ultimately led to a job with CAR Magazine. The untimely death of the magazine meant a hiatus from cars at lifestyle women’s magazine Marie Claire before another opportunity came knocking again.