20 Types of Cars (Vehicle Body Styles Explained)

There are many different car models on the market, but what about the different types of cars? Here are the most common car types with pictures and explanations.

Types Of Cars

If you’re a car owner, then you’ve probably given some thought to the different types of cars out there. Each one has its own unique set of features and benefits, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for you.

Before you buy a new car, you must first identify your specific needs such as luggage space, number of passengers, engine size, and fuel efficiency.

The automotive industry is an ever-changing world, with new types of cars on the market every year. Technological innovations by the automakers have led to several new car types that did not exist a few years ago and nowadays there are far over twenty different types of cars on the market.

In this post, we’ll break down the 20 most common types of cars, along with a little information about each one. So whether you’re in the market for a new vehicle or just curious about what’s out there, keep reading! First, we will take a look at the classifications different car types can be divided into.

Car Classifications

Cars are classified into different categories depending on several factors. Here is a list of these classifications.

1. Body Style:

The most common vehicle type is categorized by body style. Different body types can be a coupe, hatchback, sedan, or convertible, for example

2. Size:

The size of the car can also be divided into different types. For example, compact cars, medium-sized cars, microcars or extra-large cars are determined by their size.

3. Car Segment:

City cars, mini-compact cars, muscle cars, luxury cars, and green cars are some car types that are categorized based on the market segments that your car has.

4. Purpose:

The purpose is widely used when explaining different car types. Cars categorized by purpose can be, for example, commercial cars, family cars, race cars, exotic cars or sports cars.

5. Fuel:

Another way to categorize cars is to use the fuel type. We have not included any of these types in this article, but cars that are categorized by fuel can be diesel cars, electric cars, hydrogen cars, gas cars, etc.

Now that you have a little more knowledge about the different car classifications, let’s go directly into our car type list:

Top 20 Car Types

1. Sedan

Sedan Car

One of the most common car types is the sedan. A sedan is a four-door car type with a traditional trunk. The difference between a hatchback and a sedan is that the rear luggage compartment door does not include the rear window and the door hinges are installed under the window.

Sedan cars have quite limited space in the trunk, but they often have a rather sporty look if you are looking for it. The sedan is available in many different variants and here are some examples:

  • Subcompact: Nissan Versa, Kia Rio
  • Compact: Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic
  • Mid-size: Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry
  • Full-size: Dodge Charger, Toyota Avalon

2. Crossover (CUV)

Crossover Car

A crossover is often confused with an SUV. A crossover often comes as two-wheel drive but can also come with 4-wheel drive. It is basically an off-road car chassis but built more for city traffic.

An important differentiating factor is the chassis – the crossover uses a lighter monocoque chassis while the SUV uses a ladder frame chassis. Basically, it means that a CUV shares the frame of a car, and the SUV shares the frame of a truck. It can often be called a mix of an SUV and a hatchback. Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica are two good examples of CUVs.

3. Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs)

Suv Land Cruiser

Another type that climbs this list of car types is the SUV which is becoming more and more popular. The SUV is a large car that can often carry five to seven passengers with three rows of seats. They are basically the same as a crossover, except that they are built on a body-on-frame chassis. They often have 4wd and good terrain capability.

They often come with the latest electronics and are very comfortable to ride in. They also often come with off-road accessories such as improved suspension and large wheels. You can have SUVs in different sizes – compact, medium and full size. A good example of an SUV is the Range Rover, Jeep Cherokee and Suzuki Vitara.

4. Hatchback

Hatchback Golf

A Hatchback car is basically a mix of a sedan and a station wagon. They often come as a 5-door set and have a hatch that opens upwards. Like the station wagon, a hatchback has door hinges above the rear window.

The difference between a station wagon and a hatchback is often the size and that the station wagon often has a much steeper angle on the tailgate. Volkswagen Golf and Kia Rio are two common hatchback models. You can also find some hatchbacks with high performance, then called hot hatch.

Nowadays there are also larger luxury vehicles categorized as hatchbacks with a steeply sloping tailgate like Audi A7, Kia Stinger, and Tesla Model S.

5. Station Wagon

Volvo V90

A wagon is quite similar to a sedan, but with an extended roofline with a hatch door instead of a trunk. Station cars are often the perfect choice for families and long car journeys due to the larger cargo space than the sedan.

The station wagons also sometimes come with increased ground clearance and four-wheel drive, which makes them quite similar to SUVs. Station wagon popularity has declined in the United States in recent years and is more common in Europe.

Some common station wagon models are BMW 5-series, Audi A4 or A6, Volvo V90, and Subaru Outback.

6. Coupe

Coupe Car

The coupe is a two-door car, very similar to the sedan but with two doors instead of four. Coupé cars often have a rear seat for two or three more passengers, but you often have to fold down one of the front seats to get there. Coupé cars are often quite more towards the sporty look.

Ford Mustang, Audi A5, Chevrolet Corvette, and Porsche Boxter are some common coupe models.

7. Pickup Truck

Pickup Truck

Pickup trucks have become very common in recent years. A pickup has an enclosed cab with an open cargo area. They can either have space for two passengers or four. Pickup trucks have the cabin mounted on a separate steel frame, with one exception – Honda Ridgeline.

Pickups are ideal for farmers and transport due to their large cargo areas and the powerful engines that can tow heavy equipment. Most pickup trucks are four-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive. However, there are also many models with the option of only 2WD.

Pickup trucks come in two size categories: full-size and mid-size and there are often many options to choose from like extended cab, single cab or crew cab. Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge F150 are some common pickup trucks.

RELATED: Extended Cab vs. Crew Cab Pickup Truck – Differences

8. Minivan (MPV)

Minivan

The minivan or multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) is a van, but instead of cargo space, it has passenger seats. It often has 7 or 8 passenger seats, making it perfect for larger families or being used as a taxi.

It is often designed for a very large cabin space rather than a large cargo space. They often have a sliding door on one or both sides of the car. The Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica are two great examples of Minivans.

9. Roadster

Roadster Car

A roadster car is basically a convertible car, but with two doors and usually has no rear seat. They are therefore good for only two people. When it comes to size, they are often very small with limited cargo space.

They often have a sporty look and are perfect for those who like to enjoy an ice cream in sunny weather with their friend or fiancée. The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, Mercedes-Benz SLC and Jaguar F-Type Roadster are a few of the common roadster models on the market.

10. Van

Van Truck

A Van is a two- or three-seater car model that is often used to transport goods. They often have a sealed cab from the cargo area, and they often have no windows to the cargo area, but some models have glass windows at the rear doors.

They are the perfect choice for transporting goods, usually with a very high load capacity of over a ton. Volkswagen Transporter, Chevrolet Van or GMC Vandura are some common van models.

11. Sports Cars

Sports Car

A sports car is anything that looks sporty to you, and it can be a roadster, coupe, or even a sedan. Sports cars are quite similar to the supercar because a supercar can also be a sports car, but the difference is often that the sports car is a step below the supercar regarding performance and price.

They are often much cheaper than supercars and usually have poorer performance. Sports cars usually have good handling with good road capabilities and a fairly powerful engine to be able to both drive on the streets and take it to the track if you feel like it. Sports cars are often convertible, but not necessarily. Porsche 911, Mazda MX-5, and BMW M3 could be categorized as sports cars.

12. Supercar

Supercar

The supercar is a high-performance car usually with a very powerful and large engine. Most supercars are two-seater and at the same time very expensive – some are going for as high as one million dollars.

Most supercars have a V8 or V12 engine while generating over 500 hp. Depending on the model, the supercar often comes as a convertible. The cargo space in supercars is usually very limited or even non-existent. McLaren 720S, Lamborghini Huracán and Lamborghini Aventador are some common supercars.

13. Luxury Cars

Luxury Car

A luxury car is exactly what it sounds like – luxury. They are often very expensive and have all the latest features for a comfortable ride. They often have a very powerful engine but are not very fast in curves and on racetracks. This is because they often have so many features for comfort, so they are usually very heavy.

A luxury car can also be a supercar or sports car and the definition is often referred to as very expensive cars with great comfort. Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari Portofino and Rolls-Royce are some typical luxury cars.

14. Convertible / Cabriolet

Cabriolet

The convertible or cabriolet car models come with a retractable roof. They are the perfect choice for a hot summer day when you are going on holiday to the beach. Most convertible cars have an automatic system to retrace the fabric rooftop, but on some older models, you had to do this manually. Some models even have a retractable hardtop, which makes them look like normal cars when the rooftop is closed.

They can both be two-seaters or four-seaters and they can basically be any car model with a retractable roof, while the roadster is often its own car type. Sports cars are often available as a convertible type option. BMW Z4, Fiat 500, and Chevrolet are some of the many different car models with a convertible option.

15. Muscle Cars

Muscle Car

Muscle cars are cars with large muscles under the hood. Muscle cars are often referred to as older American cars with very large and powerful v8 or v10 engines, but muscle cars are also available as modern cars. Muscle cars are usually not that fast on racetracks around corners, but when they drive in a straight line, like drag racing, not many other cars can beat them.

Ford Mustang, Pontiac GTO, and Dodge challenger are some car models referred to as muscle cars.

16. Microcar

Smart Car

The microcar or minicar is a small car that often comes with an engine size of less than a liter. They are available in various unusual designs and are ideal for city traffic due to their fuel efficiency and easy parking.

The microcar is usually a two-passenger vehicle. Examples of microcars include bicycle cars, bubble cars and the Tata Nano car. Modern microcars are often electric. The disadvantage of the microcar is the almost non-existent cargo space in most models.

17. Camper Van

Campervan

A camper van is often a truck chassis that has been rebuilt for camping, and they often have a kitchen, toilet, and other necessary accessories for a perfect camping trip. For example, a motorhome can also refer to a minivan that has been rebuilt for camping, such as a Volkswagen transporter.

However, many camper vans are built this way directly from the manufacturer and some of these models are Fiat Ducato, Winnebago Revel, and Nomad Vanz Sprinter.

18. Mini Truck

Mini Truck

A mini truck is exactly what it sounds like – a small truck, and it’s a mix of a pickup and a truck. They often have two or three seats and open cargo space but can also come with closed cargo space.

They are often built on a truck chassis and are often quite strongly built for heavy-duty transportation of goods. Nissan clipper, Suzuki carry and Mazda scrum are some of the mini-truck models.

19. Limousine

Limousine

A limousine is a stretched car that is often used by celebrities and pop stars. It has an elongated base and can be rebuilt from different car models.

They are often not created like this directly in the factories but are rebuilt after they have left the factory, often by special companies. However, some luxury car models with a slightly longer wheelbase than usual are also called a limousine, even if they may look like a normal car to you. Chrysler 300, Hummer, and Mercedes Benz S are often rebuilt to a limousine.

20. Truck

Truck

In the last place on the list, you will find the truck. Although they are not really a car type, they can come in many forms and are still a vehicle type, so we wanted to include it.

Most people know what a truck is. It is a two- or three-seater vehicle type, sometimes equipped with a bed behind the seats. It has a very large cargo space and is mainly used to transport goods by companies. Volvo, Mercedes Benz, Scania, and DAF are some of the most common truck manufacturing companies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the most popular type of car?

The most popular type of car is the mid-sized sedan in the US. However, there’s no definitive answer to this question since it depends on what region of the world you’re looking at. Overall SUVs, Sedans, compacts, and trucks are very popular all over the world.

How many car types are there?

There are over 25 types of cars, depending on how you count them. Car types can be categorized in many different ways like body style (Sedan), size (Compact), car segment (Muscle Cars), purpose (Family Cars), and fuel type (Electric vehicle). There are also over 400 car models on the market.

What types of cars can pull a trailer?

Any type of car that has a hitch can pull a trailer. Some cars come with a hitch installed from the factory, while others may require you to purchase them as an add-on. However, if you are looking for a car that can pull a heavy trailer, a truck or SUV is your best choice.

What type of vehicle is safest?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Different types of vehicles are safe under different circumstances. That said, large and heavy vehicles are generally considered safer than others. For example, smaller cars tend to be less safe in a collision than larger cars, and SUVs offer more protection in the event of a collision than most other types of vehicles.

What type of car is best for learners?

Most learners find it easiest to learn in a smaller car which is easy to control and has good visibility. However, larger cars are usually safer, so it’s important to choose a car that makes you feel comfortable and safe while you’re learning.