Do you know your coupé from your saloon? Can you spot the hatchback from the estate? This may be easy for some, but you may not know truly what separates the different car body types.
There are many variations between car shapes, so read this list to see which car body style suits your purposes.
Also referred to as a sedan, the saloon is one of the most popular car body types. Saloons are generally defined as being 3-box designs as they comprise of three separate areas: the covered engine area, the cabin and the boot.
This particular car shape has 4 doors and the boot area protrudes out from the rest of the vehicle. Its longer body shape makes the car appear sleek and provides bigger interior space.
Positives: The saloon is a perfect family vehicle because its longer body allows greater interior space. On top of this, because the boot is separate to the rest of the car, less road noise enters the car. This means the cabin is quieter, allowing for a more relaxed journey.
Negatives: If you find parking to be a struggle then the separate boot space may cause problems. Nevertheless, most cars nowadays have parking sensors which makes this situation much easier to handle.
Examples: Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and Jaguar XE.
The coupé car body is often made up of 2 doors and a small, separate boot section. They are lower than other vehicle body types, creating an aerodynamic yet stylish shape. Though there are only 2 doors, this shape can still contain 5 seats. However, the space inside may be limited.
This is a great car shape for a company incentive scheme, or for those seeking a sporty and stylish vehicle.
Positive: This body shape is renowned for being the ‘sporty’ model. This car shape looks stylish and is often accompanied by great performance.
Negatives: With only two doors, passengers may struggle to get into the back of a coupé, which has seats in the back. The boot is often quite small and the lower roof means there is less headroom.
Examples: Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé, BMW M4 and Audi RS5.
The hatchback is an increasingly popular go-to for drivers. This car body style is generally smaller than any other car shape. Like the 3-box model previously mentioned, hatchbacks use the 2-box model: the engine area and the cabin.
The boot space is a part of the main car, rather than a separate area. When you open the boot, you are not just lifting a boot lid (like in saloons), you are actually opening the back of the car.
They have either 2 or 4 doors on either side and the rear passenger seats can fold down to create even more space. This car shape is perfect for city drivers, drivers on a budget and small families.
Positives: The smaller nature of this vehicle body type means it is great for driving through the city. Parking becomes much easier as well.
Negatives: As the boot is a part of the car’s interior, there may be more road noise in the cabin. The compact nature of this car shape means there is reduced interior space.
Example: VW Golf, Honda Civic and Ford Focus.
Estates are often based on saloons and hatchbacks but built in a larger shape. Like the hatchback, the boot lid opens the back of the car so there is greater access for bulky materials or luggage.
The car body extends past the back wheels as well so there is much more practical cabin space for front and rear passengers. These cars are perfect for families and those who need space to transport a lot of luggage/materials.
Positives: Much greater interior space for families or materials which need transporting. The large boot lid makes access to the boot much more convenient.
Negative: The larger body makes parking quite difficult and sometimes the estate shape does not look as stylish as the original saloon/hatchback vehicles.
Examples: Mercedes E-Class Estate, VW Passat Estate and Jaguar XF Sportbrake estate.
SUV stands for Sport-Utility Vehicle These are often built high off the ground with a raised roof. This car body style is designed for going off road and often comes with four-wheel drive.
These vehicles can come as 5 or 7 seaters and are perfect for rural and off-road driving, big families and those who want to feel more secure on the road.
Positives: SUV type cars can be excellent because the high roof provides great headroom and an abundance of interior space. The raised body of the car provides fantastic visibility for the driver and the off-roading nature of the vehicle means it’s easier to handle bad driving conditions.
Negatives: Again, the size of the vehicle body type can make manoeuvring difficult. These are an expensive body style to buy as well as maintain due to fuel consumption.
Examples: Volvo XC60, Audi Q7 and Range Rover.
Convertibles are quite an iconic car body shape. We have all felt a bit jealous during summer when we see someone driving with their top down as we wait for our aircon to kick in.
The main feature of the convertible is, of course, the retractable roof. Generally, this car shape comes with 2 doors and can either have just 2 front seats or front and rear seats. This car body style is also an excellent choice for a company car incentive scheme, or those looking for a stylish vehicle model.
Positives: With this car shape you can feel the warm sun and wind as you drive with the top down. They look stylish and perform well in a similar way as the coupé.
Negatives: Generally, this car shape can be quite small. If your convertible top breaks, you could see quite large charges for repairs.
Examples: BMW Z4, Mini Convertible and Audi TT.
These are vehicles which are mainly used to transport goods and materials. Commercial vehicles tend to be vans and pickups, which have a large interior space for storing items, rather than seats for people.
This particular vehicle body type can be varied, as there are many different variations of van; from panel vans to pick-up trucks to dropside vans. This body shape is perfect for a company fleet, people who require set materials for their work or who frequently need to transport goods.
Positives: The large cabin space makes it easier to transport large amounts of materials.
Negatives: The bulky nature of these vehicles can make them difficult to manoeuvre for those who are not experienced with vans. The weight of the carried materials makes the vehicle heavy which may affect fuel consumption.
Examples: VW Crafter, VW Transporter and Ford Transit.
Like the sound of these car body types?