An ultimate guide on types of cars and their body styles

If you are not familiar with different types of cars and body styles, it might be quite challenging for you to buy a new car. Cars have classifications just like shoes and clothes. Each car model is designed to serve certain purposes. You need to identify your needs and choose the one that suits you. These needs include the number of passengers, fuel efficiency, size of the car engine, space for luggage and others. There are a lot of car types that didn’t exist even a decade ago. Thanks to all the technological innovations and now we have plenty of car types to choose from. Cars N U  brings a list of the most common car types in 2021.

Types of cars and their body styles


Historically, a coup is a car with two doors, a solid roof and a compartment. The best examples of coup cars are Audi A5, Ford Mustang. Even bi-seated sports car is also considered as coups like Porsche Boxster and Chevrolet Corvette. Lately, car manufacturing companies have used the term ‘coup’ to crossover cars with low roofline or cars with four-doors that they consider ‘coup-like.’ This includes the BMWx6 SUV and Mercedes-Benz CLS sedan.


They are very tiny cars that have small engine size-normally less than 1 liter and 700c. As its fuel efficiency is good and you can park it ease, it is ideal for city drive. They are available in various colors and different designs. It is a two-passenger car that is perfect for couples. Examples of microcar are bubble cars, Nano cars and cyclecars. Modern-day microcars are most often electric cars.

CUV or Crossover

Cross or CUV cars are often confused with sport utility vehicles (SUVs). However, it has some SUV features, but it is an off-road car that comes with two-wheel and four-wheel drive. It is specifically manufactured for city traffic.

In simple words, the crossover is a vehicle that has the feature of a hatchback and SUV. These cars come with soft-roading capabilities. They are designed like a car that uses uni-body construction rather than the body-on-frame construction that is used in SUVs. Hyundai i20 Active is the best example of this type of car. 

Station wagons

Station wagons are quite similar to the sedan, but it comes with the extended roofline. Moreover, it has a hatch door at the back instead of a truck. The best example of a station wagon is Audi A4 all road which looks like a sedan due to its elevated ride height and uneven body cladding, but they are nevertheless related to sedans. During the past few decades, not most people like them. That’s why there a few available for sale. 


It is a cabriolet car but comes with no back seat. It is a two-seated car with two doors. As it is small in size, so it is ideal for only two people. The best thing about the roadster is that it has a sporty look. Its good ascetics, small size and comfortability make it a great choice for those who want to go for a date, spend some quality time and enjoy good weather with a friend or special one.


Cabriolet car has a retractable roof that comes with two-door and four doors. So, any car model which has a retractable roof is called a cabriolet. However, the roadster is a special car model.


A convertible is a car type that comes with a retractable or foldable roof. This body style is also known as cabriolet that has a soft-top that is commonly made with vinyl or canvas. However, some roofs are also made of plastic, hardtops like steel and aluminum. Such cars are usually bi-door cars such as BMW Z4. There are various convertible car models available on the market that comes with a retractable hardtop. However, some models come with unusual rooftops, which are called Targa tops or quasi-convertibles. Examples of Targa tops are Corvette and Porsche 911 Targa. The specialty of the quasi-convertibles is that you can remove the forward section of the retractable roof by hand.

Hot Hatch:

The hatchback is a compact sports car, and its performance version is called a hot hatch. Most of its design is based on the hatchback, but it comes with more powerful engines. Moreover, it provides some other adaptions, too including larger wheels, better suspension, and aerodynamic body parts. The best thing about a hot hatch is that it is a small car with a big engine that offers you a fun yet fast drive while keeping the practicality of a hatchback for your everyday commute. This car is also compact like a hatchback and keeps the running costs reasonable and under control. But of course, these costs are higher than hatchback cars. These days, it is a common trend that manufacturers introduce performance versions of the most famous body style cars, but the hot hatch is still the most sought-after performance version of the car.


In recent years, the pickup has emerged as the most used vehicle. It is not like another vehicle. It is an enclosed cab that has some open cargo is at the backside. Pickup can either be a two-seated or four-seated vehicle. This type of vehicle is perfect for transporting goods and farmers as it comes with a large cargo area. However, you may not often see it in Singapore because driving a pickup in a city can be hard. On the other hand, the pickup truck has both an open cargo bed and a passenger cab. The common examples of pickup trucks are the Ford ranger and Ford F150 Raptor.

Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV)

MPVs or multi-purpose vehicles are cars that come with a one or two-box design. They are not much like station wagon in height, that’s why they’re suitable for carrying more people because it is so spacious. MPVs can ferry around 7 to 8 people, but it depends on what model you choose. As it is large in size, so it provides good luggage space than other vehicles. The best examples of MPVs are Toyota Alphard and Toyota Innova Crysta.

Saloon or Sedan

A saloon or sedan is a passenger car that comes with a 3-box configuration. It has three separate compartments for cargo, engine and passenger as compared to hatchback, which has only two compartments. Moreover, it is more spacious than a hatchback due to its longer wheelbase. Its extra space makes the seating area more comfortable for five passengers. That’s why it is a popular body style for car lovers, and most auto manufacturers offer this car type. The compartment space of the saloon is almost the same or less than the hatchback. However, you can’t lower the rear seats to increase the compartment area in the same way you can do with hatchback seats. They are available in different sizes like, mid-size, compact, full size and sun-compact. Hyundai accent is the best example of a saloon or sedan. 


The SUV is a large car as compared to other cars and can accommodate 5 to 7 passengers. They are much like crossover except for the body-on-frame chassis construction. SUVs are often four-wheel drive and come with great off-road capabilities. They are equipped with the latest technology and electronics. They have good off-road accessories, including large wheels, enhanced suspension and more. SUV is a very comfortable vehicle to ride in. Like the sedan, it is available in a variety of sizes such as full-size, compact and mid-size. Suzuki Vitara, Toyota Land Cruiser, Mazda CX9 and ranger rover are the best examples of SUVs. In Singapore, SUVs are quite popular among car lovers due to their luxury models, cutting-edge technology and amazing features. SUVs can also be a great family car because they can accommodate 5 to 7 passengers. 


When it comes to the family car world, minivans are probably the workhorses of it. Minivan is best at ferrying people and luggage more efficiently. However, their name is ‘minivans,’ but they are far from ‘mini’ because they’re more spacious and easy to access with sliding doors. Moreover, it has a large compartment that is enough to carry the luggage of a whole family for a vacation. The second and third-row seats can also be adjusted or even removed or folded to create a huge cargo bay. The Honda Odyssey is the best example of this family car. 


As their name suggests, they are supercars means high-performance cars. They have a large engine that makes them supercars. They are very expensive cars. Supercars are two seated and normally come with an open roof, but it depends on the car model. Most supercars have a V12 or V8 engine and generate more than 500 horsepower. Audi R8 is the most popular car of this breed.

Sports car

Who doesn’t love sports cars? They are sleek, convertibles, sportiest, attractive coupes and expensive. They commonly have two passenger seats but sometimes come with small rear seats too. A typical example of a sports car is the Porsche 911. However, these are exotic dream cars that come with heft price tags, but their spaceship looks are enough to stop traffic. 


A hatchback is referred to as a car whose rear door swings upward that gives you access to a cargo area. It may feature a 3 or 5 door design and provide you a large cargo space. They’re compact cars that have the benefits of a supermini car. However, its running cost is slightly higher than a supermini car but lower than other types of cars. With a more spacious cargo area, they can comfortably accommodate 5 passengers. It is a very popular car type, and most car brands offer hatchback car models. Cars like the Honda Jazz and Mercedes B200 are typical hatchback cars.

City car

A city car is a fuel-efficient car that is mainly used for urban driving due to its small size. These cars offer comfortable seating for 2 passengers. However, it comes with a small compartment area. Above all, city cars can use small engines due to their compact dimensions that mean less CO2 emissions and fuel bills. The pioneers of the urban car concept were BMW Isetta and Mini. These days, city cars come with 5 doors, and you’d expect something larger. 

Grand Tourer

It is a type of sports car that is specifically designed for long-distance drives, durability and high speed. It is due to its combination of luxury and performance features. It is a feature-rich car including a two-door coupé, front-engine, two-seat design, rear wheel drive and doors that you can open outwards or upwards but depends on car design. The best example of a grand tourer is Aston Martin. 

Take away

  • There are a wide variety of types of cars to choose from, including coupe, SUV, microcars, supercars, grand tourer, sedan, crossover, convertible, city cars, MPV, hatchback, hot hit back and more. 
  • Some of them come with the practicality of everyday use and provide fuel efficiencies like city cars, microcars, MPVs and others. Such cars are ideal for urban driving and carry luggage of the whole family, especially MPVs. 
  • On the other hand, some cars are much loved due to their cutting edge technology, luxury attributes and sporty looks. These cars are often too much expensive. The best examples of such cars are cabriolet, grand tourer, sports cars, supercars and more. 

Bottom Line

There are plenty of types of cars and body styles from dozens of different car brands in the market. These cars are available in various sizes and at varying prices. With too many options, there are some variables that decide which car type is best for you and your family. If you are a large family, a large SUV or station wagon is best suited for your family. However, if you want to use your car for the daily commute, a minicar might be a great option for you due to its smaller size and fuel efficiency. We hope our comprehensive guide on different car types gives you a precise understanding of the basic car types. Almost all car brands manufacture these types of cars. Which cart type or body style you like the most? Let us know in the comment box!

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