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Often most people get confused between a liftback and a fastback and their relation to a hatchback. However, the terms refer to two very different types of car roofs. Here we will look at the key features of each type of roof and explain the main difference between them.

The difference between a hatchback, sedans, and coupes?

A yellow 2023 Acura Integra, an example of a liftback.
A 2023 Acura Integra liftback | Getty Images

Most everyday drivers understand what hatchback models are and how they look. They also understand how these differ from standard sedans and coupes. According to J.D. Power, a hatchback typically features a two-box configuration without a distinct divide between the trunk and rear seats. Additionally, in a hatchback, the entire rear window opens along with a hatch that hinges up from the roof.

Contrarily, a typical sedan (for example, a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry) features a square profile, a three-box configuration, and four doors. The three-box configuration means that the trunk, engine bay, and passenger compartment are three separate areas.

A coupe also comes with a similar three-box configuration, even though it has two doors and a sleeker overall shape. Additionally, in both the coupes and sedans, the trunk opens from the base of the rear window and hinges up, which AutoTrader characterizes as the opposite of hatchbacks.

While most drivers understand what hatchback models are, not as many know the difference between a liftback and a fastback. So, what are liftbacks and fastbacks, and how are they different?

The difference between a liftback and a fastback?

A liftback is a specific type of hatchback. It gets its name because it has a sloped roof that slopes down toward the car’s rear. This sloped roof turns into a trunk handle, giving the liftback a unique look that somewhat compromises between a traditional hatchback (where the roof is aligned) and a flat sedan trunk.

On the other hand, Car Keys reports that a fastback is similar to a liftback but differs in construction and operation. The main difference is that a fastback has a single, uninterrupted slope from the top of the windshield to the back of the car, while a liftback often morphs around the rear bumper or tail lights. Unlike liftbacks, fastbacks also have a straight rear door rather than one that curves around the back of the car. It is also crucial to note that sometimes a vehicle can be both a liftback and a fastback but not always.

Examples of liftbacks and fastbacks

There are many examples of both liftbacks and fastbacks on the market today. Some famous examples of liftbacks include:

  • The new Acura Integra: The 2023 Acura Integra is a next-generation liftback with eager handling, attractive interior, and exterior design, and a six-speed stick. It is one of the most highly anticipated cars of 2023.
  • The Volkswagen Arteon: The Arteon is a stylish and luxurious liftback with an impressive list of standard features, such as a VW Digital Cockpit Pro and standard IQ.DRIVE, and 300 hp. It has a classic look and modern performance.
  • The Kia Stinger: The Stinger is a performance-oriented liftback with a 2.5L turbocharged engine, a standard 300 hp, and a 10.25-inch Touchscreen Display. It also has a sleek, sophisticated exterior and delivers high performance with supreme comfort on the road.

On the other hand, some famous examples of fastbacks include:

  • The Toyota GR SupraThe all-new 2023 Toyota GR Supra is a two-seat sports car with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine that produces 335 hp.
  • The Toyota GR86: The all-new Toyota GR86 is a two-door sports coupe with a 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine with 228 hp. It is an excellent example of a vehicle with a fastback.
  • The new Nissan Z: The all-new 2020 Nissan Z is a two-seat sports car with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces 400 hp. It is also a good example of a fastback.

So, there you have it! The next time you are in the market for a hatchback, be sure to ask about the difference between a liftback and a fastback model to make the best decision for your needs.


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