Car Body Types Explained

Most of us don’t buy new cars all that often, so it’s no surprise that some people get confused over the descriptions of the various types of cars that are available on the market. Most of the terms used to describe a type of car refer to its body shape, rather than its performance, or other features. If you are thinking of buying a new car, then arm yourself with the facts before you hit the showrooms with this simple and easy to follow guide to the various types of cars and their body shapes.

Sedan

A sedan, which is sometimes called a saloon, is the standard passenger car that has a bonnet at the front, a boot for luggage in the back, and usually four doors. This is one of the most popular types of car and they are ideal for families, as they usually seat four or five people comfortably.

Hatch-back

Hatch-backs are the types of cars that have no rear boot, but they have a rear compartment that can be accessed via a door that swings open at the back. The other feature of this type of car is that rear luggage compartment is not sealed off from the passenger compartment. Hatch-backs are usually smaller cars and they often have only three doors, including the swing door at the back.

Estate

Estate cars, or wagons, are like a larger version of a hatchback with an extended rear compartment for storing luggage. Like a hatchback, this type of cars luggage area is not separated from the passenger compartment and, usually, the rear seats can be folded down to accommodate a greater amount of luggage when it is required. Due to the extended rear compartment, estate cars are normally quite long.

Coupe

A coupe will be quite a small, two door car, and they are usually quite sporty in style too. They will normally only seat two people comfortably, but they might have two very small seats in the rear, but with very limited leg room.

Convertible

Convertibles, sometimes called cabriolets, are the types of cars where the roof can be removed so that it can be driven with the roof open in the summer. They are usually a similar sized car to a coupe style car and they too generally have limited room inside and are not suitable for any more than two people. The roof is often made of soft fabric; hence the term soft top, but more expensive convertibles might have hard tops that are folded back by hydraulics.

M.P.V

The term M.P.V, or multi-purpose vehicle, is usually applied to vehicles that have large bodies, like a van, but it still has both rear and side doors. Examples of M.P.V’s are people carriers, minivans, and multi utility vehicles (M.U.V’s). They can often seat as many as seven people and they are also characterised by being higher off the ground than a saloon type of car.

Pickup

Pickup trucks are the type of vehicle that has a flat-bed open space at the rear of the vehicle for carrying luggage and equipment. They are usually large vehicles, often 4×4, and they are designed to carry heavy loads, as well as people.

Off-Road

An off-road vehicle, such as a Land Rover, or a Jeep, will have been designed to be driven on the roads as well as off them. Typically, they will have a 4×4 drive, and the ability to be driven in very low gears, so that they can cope with muddy and difficult terrain.