Car Body Styles Explained | Which One Do I Need?

10 Vehicle Body Styles and Its Advantages

This article is based on our perspective of the different types of car body styles and their advantages. It is only meant to serve as a guide, and your final decision should be based on your preferences and  lifestyle needs.

Reading time: 4 mins

When buying a car, there are many things to consider including luggage space, the number of passengers you can carry, engine size, fuel efficiency, performance and safety. Coincidentally, a lot of these factors depend on the vehicle’s body style. In other words, the shape and size of the car is important to decide on, as each model serves a specific purpose.

Tall and boxy, or low and sleek? How many doors does it have? It really depends on your personal style and daily lifestyle needs. Different car body types serve different purposes. For example, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are known for their spacious interiors, making them popular with growing families. While superminis are small and compact, making them ideal for drivers who need to navigate through busy city streets and tight parking spaces. 

To keep it simple, we’ve broken it down to 10 common vehicle body types you see on Singapore roads. Whether you have a need for speed or a craving for comfort, take a look at the various car body style descriptions below to find the car design that’s right for you.

Car Body Styles & Why It May Be Right for You

1. Sedan

Also known as a ‘saloon’ in other countries, the sedan is a car body style you commonly see on the roads. It typically has two rows of seats, four doors, and a traditional car trunk. 

Sedans are more fuel efficient, affordable, and easy to drive. New drivers prefer the sedan over other body types for its safety and easy handling. So, if you are looking for a practical and safe car choice for commuting to work – with enough space for passengers – the sedan is a classic choice.

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

orange bmw m 3 on road during daytime

2. City Cars & Superminis

City cars, as the name suggests, were designed for narrow city driving. It’s small and practical – without compromising on style or comfort. The perfect vehicle for scooting around town.

Superminis on the other hand are smaller, economical cars with a hatchback body style, designed to make your commute even more economical and environmentally friendly. 

Examples: 

City cars – MINI 5-door, Kia Picanto, Volkswagen e-Up, and Hyundai i10.

Superminis – Ford Fiesta Hatchback, Volkswagen Polo, and Suzuki Swift.

3. Coupe

A coupe is basically a sedan, but with only 2 doors. It is shorter than a sedan with a smaller interior. It usually can fit 2 passengers at the back, but it will be tight. Space isn’t the priority for the coupe. Rather, it focuses on stylish features, and performance.

Coupes are sportier cars more suitable for singles or young couples, who value style and experience, just as much as utility and performance. Without kids or the need to haul lots of stuff, a coupe or convertible is ideal for a fun drive around town.  

Examples: Ford Mustang, Audi A5, Chevrolet Corvette, and Porsche Boxster.

4. Sports Car

A sports car is designed with emphasis on dynamic performance, such as handling, acceleration, and top speed with an added thrill. They are made to be lower to the ground, increasing its stability and making it look aesthetically sleek. Sports cars are generally two-seaters, and sometimes have smaller rear seats. 

A sports car can be a sedan or a coupé, but they are often way more expensive to buy. With a sports car, you can enjoy your drive on the city streets or take it to the track if you’d like to test its driving power.

Examples:  Lamborghini, Porsche 911, Ford Mustang, BMW M3, and Subaru BRZ.

5. Station Wagon

This car body style is similar to sedans but has an extended roof and a hatch door at the back, instead of a trunk. Most station wagons have spacious cabins, with advanced safety technology to keep your whole family secure while on the road.

Station wagons are not a very common car body type in Singapore, but they are ideal as a family vehicle and for carrying cargo. So, if you need to transport people and things frequently, you should consider getting a wagon. They are still a great choice for city driving, yet have the durability and handling necessary for more rugged terrain.

Examples: Subaru Outback, Audi A4 Allroad, and Volvo v90.

6. Hatchback

This car body style is compact with a rear hatch door that allows you to access the vehicle’s cargo area. So basically, a hatchback is when the boot and rear window lift as one.

Hatchbacks cater for a range of drivers, from young professionals to growing families as they are reliable, spacious enough for passengers and cargo, easy to park, cheap to maintain, and have a good safety rating.

Examples: Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, and Toyota Corolla Hatchback.

7. Convertible

A convertible (or cabriolet), is a car body style with a retractable roof, great for an open-air driving experience. Many convertibles have a canvas or vinyl soft-top roof, while others may have hard-top roofs made of plastic, aluminium or steel. 

They are typically 2-door cars with comfortable front seats, but not very much room at the back. Despite the tight space, this car body style offers maximum headroom with the roof down, and better visibility whilst driving. However, car insurance for convertibles can be expensive, especially if you choose one with higher horsepower.

Examples: Porsche 911 Targa, Fiat 500C and MINI Convertible.

8. Sport-Utility Vehicle (SUV)

SUVs—also known as crossovers—are taller and boxier than sedans. It has an elevated seating position and more ground clearance, giving the driver a more commanding view of the road.

SUVs prioritise size and comfort, with up to 7 seats and spacious legroom, making it an ideal family vehicle. They are designed for both on and off-road use, which also makes it an ideal car for long road-trips. Its four-wheel drive capabilities and towing capacity give off a masculine appeal, whereas its safety features and higher road view appeal more to the female crowd. 

Examples: Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Kona, Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe.

2019 chrysler pacifica

9. Minivan

Minivans are the best for space and efficiency. They are taller than sedans with sliding side doors for easy access, a rear hatch that opens to a large cargo area and 7 or 8 passenger seats (depending on the model), making it perfect for bigger families.

Most minivans also have adjustable seats in their second and third rows that often can be removed or even folded all the way down to create more room for your passengers or luggage. In fact, minivans have all sorts of compartments and storage space.

Examples: Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica.

10. Pickup Truck

A pickup truck has a passenger cab for either 2 or 4 passengers and an open cargo bed at the back. Most pickup trucks are either all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive (4WD) — the latter making it the perfect vehicle for off-road driving. Basically, a pickup truck is made to conquer all kinds of terrain and road conditions.

This car body style is also ideal for transporting large items. And today’s pickup trucks come with all the comforts you see on luxury car models. The truck beds at the back are also great for camping and stargazing if you’re a true nature lover.

Examples: Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton and Ford Ranger

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