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The Main Body Types of Modern Cars

Car body types vary in purpose, design, configuration and load they are capable of transporting.

According to the body configuration, there are cars with one-box design (engine, passengers and cargo areas are combined in a single space), two-box design (engine is located under the hood, passengers and cargo areas are in the cabin) and three-box design (engine is located under the hood, passengers sit in the cabin, cargo is put in the luggage compartment).

Depending on the type of frame and the load distribution, a car can have a unitary construction design (the body takes all the load), a body-on-frame design (the body takes a part of the load on the frame) and a frame-based design (takes the weight of passengers and cargo).

The main typical body types have well-established common names. In some countries, some body types have their own specific names.

  • Sedan
    Sedan is a type of car body with a trunk structurally separated from the passenger compartment and without a lifting door on the back side.
  • Hatchback
    Hatchback is a type of car body with a rear door on the back side and a shortened rear overhang.
  • Station wagon
    Station wagon is a type of a car body with a rear door on the back side, and also with a trunk integrated with the passenger compartment, and a roof rack extended to the rear.
  • Liftback
    Liftback is a type of car body, which represents intermediate link between other types of cars. It differs from a hatchback with a longer rear overhang: liftbacks have the same length as sedans. The rear part of the roof can be either sloping or (less often) stepped which resembles a sedan.
  • Coupe
    Coupe is a type of car body with two doors, one or two rows of seats and a structurally separated trunk, without a rear door on the back side. The capacity of the rear passenger compartment usually does not exceed 0.93 m³.
  • Convertible
    Convertible is a type of car body with a retractable or removable soft or hard top and two doors. The number of seats is more than two.
  • Roadster
    Roadster is a body type of a two-seater sports car without a roof or with a rigid roof.
  • Targa
    Targa is a type of sports 2-seater roadster with a rigidly fixed windshield, a roll bar behind the seats, a removable roof and a rear window.
  • Limousine
    Limousine is a type of car body with a rigid partition between the driver’s compartment and the rest of the passenger compartment usually equipped with a lifting glass. The body of this type of car is stretched compared with a conventional sedan.
  • Stretch
    Stretch is a type of car body created by physically tapping an additional section into the body of a car. This section is located between the front and rear doors, which helps to enlarge the passenger compartment.
  • SUV
    SUV is a type of car body with increased off-road characteristics and increased clearance.
  • Crossover
    Crossover is a type of car body with which combines the properties of an SUV and a station wagon or a hatchback.
  • Pickup truck
    Pickup is a body type of a commercial two-seater car with an open cargo platform.
  • Panel van
    Panel van is a body type of a commercial two-seater with a closed cargo platform (luggage compartment with a rear door on the back side).

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