Notchback is a styling term describing a car body style, a variation of three-box styling where the third distinct volume or "box" is less pronounced — especially where the rear deck (third box) is short or where the rear window is upright. Generally, the notchback refers to the distinct angle of the rear window in relation to the vehicle's more horizontal roofline and its rear decklid.
The term is derived from the noun, notch meaning v-cut or indentation — though as a styling term it eludes precise definition and can overlap other styling designations. The term can apply to a sedan, coupé, liftback or hatchback configuration — especially where the third box of the three-box styling remains articulated, though perhaps barely — as with the third generation European Ford Escort. Notchback may highlight a design's sharp or abrupt roof/rear-window angle. Examples include the European Ford Anglia and U.S. Mercury Montclair that also included a rear window that could be lowered for "breezeway" ventilation.
The styling term also may overlap the marketing use of the term notchback, for example where the term differentiates models within a range, for example the Chevrolet Vega Notchback (sedan) from the Vega Hatchback. The compact Ford Mustang although labeled a hardtop coupe, exhibited "long hood - short deck" notchback styling that was common on 1960s compact coupes.
General Motors claims that the 1940 Cadillac Sixty Special introduced the "streamlined notchback" styling that influenced roof and rear deck styling of a broad range of vehicles until World War II The notchback design was common across U.S. automakers and automobile types starting in the early-1960s.
American Motors described the a styling trend re-emerged in the late-1960s as a "modified fastback" where the roof lines on two-door models were made smoother with a slope of the rear window or having more of an arc. The four-door sedans featured a more upright roofline such as the Rambler Ambassador.
In the 1980s and the 1990s, short deck - formal roof, compact, mid-size and full-size notchback coupes and sedans made a return such as the Ford LTD Crown Victoria, as well as the C- and G-body cars from General Motors, the 1985-1991 N-body cars and the Ford Crown Victoria/Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.
- 1958-1974 AMC Ambassador sedans
- 1964-1967 GM A-body coupes/sedans (Chevelle, Tempest/LeMans, Skylark, F-85/Cutlass)
- 1964-1974, 2004-2006 Pontiac GTO coupe
- 1965-1973 Ford Mustang coupe
- 1966-1972, 1978-1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe
- 1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro coupe
- 1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird coupe
- 1968-1977 Chevrolet Corvette coupe
- 1968-1978 Dodge Charger coupe
- 1969-1983, 2008-present Dodge Challenger coupe
- 1967-1971 Plymouth Barracuda coupe
- 1971-1977 Chevrolet Vega notchback
- 1974-1978 Ford Mustang II coupe
- 1975-1980 Chevrolet Monza Towne Coupe
- 1975-1977 Pontiac Astre notchback
- 1975-2011 Mercury Grand Marquis
- 1976-1980 Pontiac Sunbird coupe
- 1976-1985 Chevrolet Impala coupe/sedan
- 1976-1989 Dodge Diplomat coupe/sedan
- 1978-1983 Chevrolet Malibu sedan
- 1978-1991 Ford LTD Crown Victoria coupe/sedan
- 1979-1993 Ford Mustang coupe
- 1980-1985 GM X body coupes/sedans Citation coupe (80-82), Phoenix, Skylark, Omega
- 1981-1987 GM J body coupes/sedans Cavalier, Sunbird, Skylark, Firenza, Cimarron
- 1981-1987 GM RWD G-body coupes/sedans (Malibu/Monte Carlo, LeMans/Bonneville/Grand Prix, Regal, Cutlass)
- 1982-1994 Chevrolet Cavalier coupe
- 1983-1997 Mercury Cougar
- 1984-1988 Pontiac Fiero
- 1985-1988 Chevrolet Nova sedan
- 1985-1998 Pontiac Grand Am coupe/sedan
- 1985-2009 Ford Taurus sedan
- 1987-1992 Cadillac Brougham
- 1987-2005 Pontiac Bonneville sedan
- 1991-2011 Ford Crown Victoria and Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor
- 1993-1999 Chrysler Neon coupe/sedan
- 1995-2000 Dodge Avenger coupe
Outside North America
In British English a three-box sedan is more generally known as a saloon. Although the term appears in a few British English publications (see refs), "notchback" is not a term that is used in common parlance in Britain.
- Alfa Romeo 159
- Alfa Romeo Giulia
- Citroen Ami 6
- Citroen Xantia
- Citroen Xsara
- Daihatsu Applause
- Daihatsu Charmant
- Fiat 124 Coupe
- Ford Anglia
- Ford Escort
- Ford Mondeo
- Ford Orion
- Ford Sierra
- Geely Borui
- Geely CK
- Honda Accord (first to eighth generation only)
- Honda Amaze
- Honda Civic (first to seventh generation only)
- Hyundai Accent (first to third generation only)
- Hyundai Elantra (first to fourth generation only)
- Hyundai Sonata (first to fourth generation only)
- Hyundai Xcent
- Kia Optima (first and second generation only)
- Kia Rio (first and second generation only)
- Lexus IS (first generation only)
- Lexus LS
- Maruti Swift Dzire
- Mazda 323
- Mazda 626
- Mercedes-Benz W108, W109
- Nissan Cefiro
- Nissan Laurel
- Opel/Vauxhall Omega
- Opel/Vauxhall Vectra
- Proton Saga (first and second generation only)
- Renault Laguna
- Renault Safrane
- Saab 900
- SEAT Toledo (second generation only)
- Smart Roadster
- Subaru Impreza (first and second generation only)
- Subaru Legacy (first to fourth generation only)
- Tata Zest
- Toyota Corolla (first to eighth generation only)
- Toyota Crown Comfort
- Toyota Etios
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Volkswagen Notchback
- Volkswagen Passat (first to fifth generation only)
- ZAZ-966 Zaporozhets
- "Mercury's breezeway design (advertisement)". Life. 54 (6): 89. 8 February 1963. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- "1940, The Cadillac Sixty Sets Another Styling Trend". General Motors: Generations of GM Wiki Timeline. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (11 October 2007). "1967-1968 AMC Ambassador". howstuffworks com. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- 1971-77 Chevrolet Vega brochures
- Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (20 August 2007). "Oldsmobile's 1973-1977 Intermediates". howstuffworks com. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (15 February 2007). "The 1974 Ford Mustang: Notchback by Default". howstuffworks com. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- Chambers Dictionary (British English): sedan Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Chambers Dictionary (British English): saloon Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Eleventh ed.). Oxford University Press. 2006. p. 977. ISBN 0-19-929634-0.
a car with a back that extends approximately horizontally from the bottom of the rear window so as to make a distinct angle with it
- Barnard, R.H. (1996). Road Vehicle Aerodynamic Design. Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-24522-8.