Car Body Types

Updated March 23, 2017

When considering what car to buy, there are many factors to decide on. One of the primary decisions is what body type to choose. One way to choose the best vehicle for you is by learning the different options that are available and what makes them stand out. In addition, it is important to consider why you are buying the vehicle and how you or your family plan to use it.


Sedans are cars that typically have four doors, though, they can have two doors, and conventional trunks. Within this category there are different types of sedans. Small sedans are compact in size, and generally have less rear passenger room than other types of sedans. The next size sedan is the family or mid-sized sedan. They typically have more room than small sedans for supporting passengers and cargo. Large sedans are both larger in size and in price. They offer greater leg room and can comfortably seat five.


This is a type of car that has a fixed roof and two full-sized passenger doors that can seat two to four people. For four passenger coupes, the rear seats are often smaller than the two front seats. Autotropolis indicates that the coupe body type is a compact and sportier version of the sedan type.


This body type is less than 178 inches with a height of less than 64.4 inches, according to Car and Driver. They have five seats and a lift rear door. The cargo area is accessible to the passenger area.

Sports Utility Vehicle

Sports Utility Vehicles, or SUVs, are generally higher than most cars and have greater carrying capacity in terms of cargo than other types of cars with the exception of vans. In certain SUVs there are up to three rows of seats to sit seven to eight people. Because of their weight they also consume more fuel than minivans or wagons, according to Consumer Reports. Many SUVs are also four-wheel drive.


Pickups, or trucks, either have a cab for passengers or no cab, and an elongated, uncovered cargo bed in the back. This body type is ideal if you need to haul large items, but it is also commonly used as a passenger vehicle as well.


A van is a box shaped vehicle that usually comes with sliding rear side doors for passengers. It sits higher off the ground than sedans or coups and typically has extra cargo space for the transporting of goods for family or business. Vans come in various sizes from full sized to mini, which are most often associated with families.


Wagons are four-door vehicles that are approximately 178 inches or greater and, according to Car and Driver, the height is less than 64.4 inches. They include five passenger seats and a liftgate.


Crossovers are a combination type of car with characteristics of both the SUV and regular vehicles. They are built on a car-based platform, but have the appearance of an SUV or wagon most often without the four wheel drive capabilities.

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About the Author

Karl Bruce has been a writer since 2009, writing a variety of articles for eHow. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from California State University, Chico, and has worked in the tech industry for most of his life.