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Defining Car Body Types

21 May 2019 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

When buying a car, one can easily be torn between the different car body types on the market. Car body types are a broad subject that not all customers are familiar with, especially for first time buyers. For example, how are crossovers different from SUVs? What sets a hatchback apart from a wagon?

Aside from the main factors we normally look for in a car like price, size, fuel type and mileage, car body type is one simple factor that can make your decision making process easier. When you have a large family, you're likely to be looking for a large car like an SUV as your first option. To help you make the best decision when purchasing a new car, familiarise yourself with the different car body types below:


Car Body Types #1: Sedan

The good old sedan is still the most popular body style with 2 rows of seats, 4 doors and a 3-box configuration. This type of car body is designed for comfortable seating of 5 passengers and is usually the top choice for a practical passenger car.

The biggest advantages with sedans is their affordability, reliability in handling and performance and better fuel economy. Its low positioning allows drivers to navigate better around corners and sharp turns as compared to other vehicles like SUVs. With its light weight and lower center of gravity, sedans have much less tendencies of tipping and rolling.

The space capacity though is a disadvantage with a relatively small space tucked between the wheelbase. Taller passengers requiring more vertical space may not be as comfortable in a sedan, requiring more head and leg room. For those looking for a more spacious car to fit their needs, sedans may not be your ideal car.

Popular Examples: Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus.


Car Body Types #2: Coupe

Coupés are known for their low, fixed roofs giving it a sporty feel. It’s a fashion-driven car that attracts someone who wants to drive in style.

With Coupés , manufacturers focus on muscle, sophistication and performance of the car. Often seats only 2 people and with the lighter load, this car is built for speed. If you're singles or a couple, Coupés are fun to drive and will help you have the time of your life. 

Popular examples: Aston Martin V8, Audi RS 5


Car Body Types #3: Hatchback

Smaller than SUVs but larger than sedans, hatchbacks have 4 doors, a boot door and are designed for comfortable seating of 4 passengers. Its main difference from a sedan is the extended trunk.

Since the back area of a hatchback is lifted and rear seats can be fold down, it provides more space for storage and cargo. Because of this, hatchbacks are usually marketed towards families. 

Popular examples: Maruti Suzuki 800, Alto, Hyundai i10, i20, Fiat Grande Punto

Car Body Types #4: SUV
Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is a 4-wheel drive that can be classified as a light truck. SUV’s commanding view of the road, higher center of gravity and higher ground clearance make it a popular car choice of today.

Designed to use in all road conditions, SUVs have features best suited for long drives and have good technology for suspensions. SUVs is the priority given to its size, comfort, fit and finish interior and exterior, and drive quality.

Popular examples: Toyota Fortuner, Honda C-RV, Mitsubishi Outlander, Montero


Car Body Types #5: Crossover

A crossover is a cross between a sedan and an SUV, therefore giving the best of both worlds. It is available in 4-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drives.

Compared to SUVs, crossovers are cheaper and have better fuel economy while providing extra ground clearance and commanding seating position. However, crossovers are not built for off-roading, so if you're not leaving the city for the wilderness, a crossover could be for you!

Popular examples: Kia Sorento, Nissan Rouge, Ford Explorer


Car Body Types #6: Van/Minivan

Vans and minivans are still the classic family car choice despite the rising popularity of SUVs and crossovers. With functionality as its best feature, it can easily haul both people and cargo inside the boxy compartment.

Although they are not one of the most desirable car body types visually out there, vans and minivans have more cargo space. A comfortable third row of seats offer easier access and have more ways to be configured.

Popular examples: Mercedes Benz Metris, Chevrolet Express, Nissan V200


Car Body Types #7: Ute

This mighty, rugged car is a force on the road. Designed for big and rugged road tasks, it sits high with a bird’s eye view of the road.

Utes have open rear cargo also called bed which is perfect for camping and stargazing. It’s one of the most ideal car body types for people who have a lot to move and haul around on a regular basis. 

Popular examples: Toyota Hilux, Ford F-150, Ram 1500 Rebel


Car Body Types #8: Wagon

Wagons have a good combination of hatchbacks and sedans but with larger dimensions than hatchbacks in terms of width and height. It offers a large space behind the second row which can be utilised as additional seats or for cargo.

When compared to a crossover, wagons doesn’t go far since it has everything a crossover has. It is also a 4-wheel drive with great space inside, has some advanced tech features and delivers high performance and efficiency.

Popular examples: Audi A4, Subaru Outback, Volvo V60 and V90

Knowing which car body types suits your personal needs is important to help you decide which car is the best for you whether your need is for speed, comfort or practicality. So when choosing a car, ask yourself if you’re a sedan, a wagon, an SUV or a hatchback driver.