In France, a light-wheeled vehicle with square or rounded body and rear entrance.
Orig., the after part of the body with entrance at the rear (as in vehicle in def. 1); now, one with sides closing in the seat or seats and entered by a door usually at the side, also, the entire body of an automobile having such an after part.
An early style of touring car for 4 passengers in which access to the rear compartment was by a rear door. Later, when wheel bases became lengthened, doors were fitted at the sides of the tonneau; such cars became known as side entrance tonneaus. The tonneau refers to that portion of the body located aft of the front seat.
Originally the rear seating area, but now the term is usually used to refer to a rear storage area.
Tonneau (pronounced taâ€™-no) is an archaic term (originally from the French, roughly meaning cask, container, or cover) for an open rear passenger compartment on an automobile and, by extension, a body style incorporating such a compartment. Most tonneaus were fixed in place as an optional element at purchase, but some could be removed as on the Crestmobile. Early tonneaus had a rear-facing hinged door as a rule, but single- or dual side doors were soon introduced.