CAR BODY TYPES
Vehicle classification can be helpful when determining different features of cars. Below, we outline some of the most common car body types & their different characteristics; including number of passengers, fuel efficiency, handling & storage space.
Common Car Body Types:
One of the most common car body types you will see in Australia is the sedan. The sedan has four doors, a standard size boot & seats a maximum of 5 people. Sedans have a separate area for the engine at the front, the passenger cabin in the middle, & the cargo at the rear. Because of this, they have a good weight distribution & thus, driving stability. They also offer far more leg room in the second row of seats but less boot space than a hatchback.
SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) are one of the bigger vehicles & are versatile in that they are suited to on-road driving, but also provide extra ground clearance for driving over rough terrain. They are usually a powerful 4WD (four-wheel-drive) or AWD (all-wheel-drive) & offer a smooth ride with some off-road capability. They often come with off-road accessories such as improved suspension and large wheels.
The SUV has elevated seating for a superior view of the road & seats 5-7 people with (up to) three rows of seats. SUVs possess a sturdy, body-on-frame chassis & include a station wagon-like cargo area that is accessed through a flip-up rear hatch door.
Traditionally, the car body of a hatchback is similar to a sedan with comparable features to a station wagon, but its rear door swings upward. It comes with 2 – 4 doors & seats up to 5 people, while the rear seat backs can lay down to create a flat floor load area. They may often look more compact than your typical sedan, but they offer increased storage capacity & better fuel efficiency.
A convertible is a 2 or 4 seater vehicle that has a retractable hard-top (steel or plastic) or soft-top (a textile material such as vinyl or canvas) roof. A convertible is often viewed as a luxury vehicle owing to its stylish appearance & versatility.
Sports cars are often two-seater convertibles, but they can also be a sedan or coupe, (or basically anything that has a ‘sporty’ appearance). They are usually low to the ground, sleek, stylish, luxury vehicles with excellent road capabilities including a powerful engine & acceleration.
A coupe is similar to the sedan; a compact vehicle seating 4 – 5 people & having a traditional boot, but with only 2 doors. The front seats fold forward to allow passengers to enter the back seats. Car manufacturers describe the coupe with its sloping roofline as having a ‘sleek/ sporty’ design, as well as excellent handling & lots of horsepower.
A van carries 2-3 people with very high load capacity & is often used to transport goods. They can have a separate cargo area from the passenger cabin, & can have glass windows at the rear doors. They can include sliding doors at the side & doors that open at the rear.
People Mover/ Minivan
The minivan is a van, but instead of storage space, it seats 8 -12 people in rows of seats. This ‘people-mover’ capability makes it popular with large families or businesses needing to transport groups of people comfortably; such as a ‘maxi-cab’. The van is a ‘box’ shape with sliding doors on one, or both sides, giving practical access to the spacious cabin and a rear hatch that opens to a large cargo area. Most minivans have adjustable seats in their second and third rows that often can be removed or even folded down to create a huge open cargo bay. It is often designed for a very large cabin space rather than a large cargo space.
Station wagons have the shape of an extended sedan with a hatch door at the rear instead of a boot. They are almost like a mix of a hatchback and a sedan. They not only give the benefit of extra storage space in the rear compared to a sedan or hatchback, but are also more fuel efficient than a SUV.
Utes are short for ‘utility’. They are often used a work vehicles because they have powerful engines and are practical with their large, open, sturdy cargo tray in the rear, suitable for carrying heavy loads. They have an enclosed 2-door or 4-door passenger cabin, which seats 2-5 people & often have a 4WD or AWD capability.
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