This study has aimed to shed further light on the wake dynamics of a bluff body with a streamlined fore body and a rectangular blunt base through experiments and numerical analysis. Specifically, the study was designed to establish the role of instability modes and small-scale turbulence in shaping the wake dynamics, and the effect of boat tails including lobed geometries on the wake structure. In the absence of small-scale turbulence, the near wake of the body is dominated by the effects of two instability modes that promote larger-scale transient motions. Small-scale turbulence is found to have a significant suppressing effect on these motions. Presence of a straight tail or a lobed tail is observed to alter the relative roles of the instability modes affecting the wake and the resultant streamwise mixing rates.