The Different Types of Car Body Styles Explained

Published by on . Updated on 5 Jun 2024

26755677(Photo Credit : Vectorstock)

A Car’s Body Style refers to the shape and size of your car, and with a multitude of various body styles, it may be hard to tell what’s what. So we’re here to explain the different types of body styles for you to understand better and identify when you’re on the road.

Ever listened to a conversation between two car owners and they mention terms like “SUV” or “Hatchback” and you, a non-car enthusiast are lost and have no idea what they mean?

Well, they are talking about the type of car that they are driving which classifies under those categories. Don’t worry, we’re here to help all of you to identify car body styles so you too can join in the conversation.

Let’s get into it.


Photo 1583367761232 9f0ce18f55c4 (Photo Credit: Unsplash)

The most traditional and typical body style you would find for most cars. It has four doors and a trunk. Sedan's characteristics include a three-box configuration design with four-doors and a closed roof.

They are usually long and spacious enough to accommodate 4-5 people comfortably. Therefore, they are a popular body style for most people and most car brands offer a sedan because of it.

They are also available in a variety of sizes like subcompact (Hyundai Accent), compact (Mercedes A-Class Sedan), mid-size(Honda Civic) and full-size sedans.


Photo 1572811298797 9eecadf6cb24 (Photo Credit: Unsplash)

Hatchbacks like the Suzuki Swift and Volkswagen Golf are another local body style favourite. They are a type of compact or subcompact sedan that is different as it has a squarish top with hinged rear doors.

It also has a flip-up hatch door at the rear which substitutes for a conventional trunk, hence the name. They can accommodate up to 4 to 5 people, but it is a little small.

Sports-Utility Vehicle(SUV)

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SUVs are effectively taller and boxier sedans offer higher seating positions. They are designed for both on and off-road use. Like Sedans, there are also subcompact SUVs (Honda Vezel), mid-sized SUVs (Mazda CX9) and large-sized SUVs (Toyota Land Cruiser).

SUVs have become a favourite in Singapore as well, mainly because there are luxury SUVs models in the market that have impressive features because of modern-day technology. They also because they make great family cars as most are either 5 or 7 seaters.

Multi-Purpose Vehicle(MPV)

Renault Grand Scenic Renault Grand Scenic Grand Scenic Initiale Paris Renault Grand Scenic Initiale Paris Mpv Seven Seater People Mover Pic1 (Photo Credit: Torque)

MPVs are cars that are taller than station wagons and tend to feature a one or two-box design. They are suitable for ferrying people because of the amount of space in its interior. They’re also usually capable of carrying 7 to 8 people depending on the model.

Because of its size, MPVs are also good for providing more luggage space. Common examples of MPVs are the Toyota Alphard and the Renault Grand Scenic.


Photo 1592853625601 Bb9d23da12fc (Photo Credit: Unsplash)

If you hear a car model ending with a “Coupe” at the end, it usually means that it is a sporty variant of most cars. They are usually two-door, fixed roof and three-box design cars that are sporty and compact like your Audi TT Coupe. There are two-seater Coupes like the Porsche 718 Cayman.

Now, there are even four-door Coupes for larger cars, like the Mercedes CLS and SUV Coupes like the Mercedes GLE Coupe. This means that they have low and sleeker rooflines to give the usually larger vehicle “Coupe” styling.

Pickup Truck

A body style that is not often seen in Singapore because why would you drive a tank in the city? A pickup truck comes with both a passenger cab as well as an open cargo bed.

Pickup trucks also often offer all-wheel drive for off-road use. They usually come in mid (Ford Ranger) or full size (Ford F150 Raptor).


2019 Bmw Z4 M40i 5058 Default Large(Photo Credit:Drivemag)

Convertibles are cars with a body style that has a sunroof, meaning that the roof is foldable. The roofs, usually made of vinyl or canvas; hence you’ll hear it being called a soft-top like the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet (another term used for a convertible).

Nowadays, there are also hardtops, made of either plastic, aluminium or steel. One car, in particular, would be the BMW Z4 that is a 2-seater.

We hope that this guide gives you a more precise understanding of most of the basic car body styles out there. These body styles are mostly available in all the brands that start from A to Z.

However, take note that car companies may use a different name for marketing purposes, for example calling an MPV a minivan, so it's best that you do your research. Let us know what you think and what body styles we missed out in the comments below!

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People are drawn to luxury cars for various reasons, and these preferences can differ from one individual to another. Luxury cars like Mercedes Maybach Exelero are often associated with social status and prestige. Owning a high-end vehicle can be a symbol of success and wealth, which some individuals find appealing.

9 months ago

Mudassar Hameed
Check the latest car price 2023 and also compare your favourite car with other beacause that help you in purchasing.

10 months ago

What about "sports coupe" coined by BMW?

over 3 years ago