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Type of car body

Posted On December 10th, 2019

On cars, various types of bodies are used. It is the type of body that largely determines the price of the car, its overall dimensions, the estimated sales market and other consumer qualities.

Body types vary in purpose, design, layout and degree of loading. Cars have, as a rule, passenger and cargo-passenger bodies of a semi-frame and frameless design.

According to the layout, one-volume bodies (power unit, passengers and cargo are located in one spatial design), two-volume (power unit under the hood, passengers and cargo in the cabin) and three-volume (power unit under the hood, passengers in the cabin, cargo in the luggage compartment) are distinguished by the layout.

Depending on the degree of loading, the car is equipped with a load-bearing body (perceives all loads), a semi-load-bearing body (perceives part of the loads falling on the frame) and an unloaded body (perceives the weight of passengers and cargo).

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



Sedan – a three-volume passenger body type having two rows of seats and four doors. Cars with a sedan body are equipped with a rigid roof, the level of which does not change along the entire length. The sedan is the most common body type. In the UK, the sedan has its own name Saloon, in Italy – Berlina, in France – Berline. Distinguish sedans with an extended base related to executive cars. The name of such machines contains the letter L (from long – long).



Coupe – a three-volume closed passenger body with two (less often – four) doors and one or two rows of seats. The doors of the compartment are larger in size than the sedan, the second row of seats is reduced, the roof at the rear has a sloping shape, which achieves a sporty look of the car. On some coupe models, the rear seats are not designed for frequent use, so they are very small. In everyday life, such cars are called 2 + 2.

The coupe body is represented by cars from the golf class (C) to the executive class (F). A couple that does not have an average stance is called a hardtop coupe. In such a car, when the windows are lowered, open space is formed between the front and rear pillars. In Italy, the coupe bears its own name Berlinetta.



Limousine – originally a three-volume closed passenger body type, equipped with four doors and two or three rows of seats. A characteristic feature of the limousine is the presence of a glass partition, if necessary, separating the front row of seats (driver) from the rest of the passenger compartment (passengers). A limousine can act as an independent model of a car, or an elongated version of a sedan, SUV and hatchback. The Portuguese name for the limousine is Espada.



The hatchback is a two-volume closed passenger body, which is equipped with three or five doors and two rows of seats. A characteristic feature of the hatchback is the presence of an inclined rear door, made in conjunction with the rear window. The hatchback is the most popular body type in Europe. Hatchback cars are presented in A, B, C, D, less often E classes according to European classification. The hatchback is intermediate between the sedan and the station wagon (more compact than the sedan and less bulky than the station wagon).

Thanks to its design, the hatchback can be converted into a cargo-passenger body. Why remove the shelf covering the luggage compartment, and the rear row of seats is folded. The back door of the hatchback may have a curved shape with which it resembles a sedan. In the United States, such a body has its own name notchback ( notchback ).

Station wagon


The station wagon is a two-volume closed passenger body type, characterized by the presence of three or five doors, two rows of seats and a constant roof level. Characteristic features of the station wagon, distinguishing it from the hatchback, are the length commensurate with the sedan and the greater tilt of the glass of the tailgate. However, the positioning of the car as a station wagon is largely determined by the automaker.

When folding the rear row of seats, the station wagon turns into a utility vehicle. In the UK, the station wagon is called Estate car, in France – Break, in Portugal – Carrinha, in Italy – Giadinetta, in Germany – Kombi (from Kombinationswagen), in Denmark – Stationcar. In the United States, a two-door utility wagon without rear side windows is called Sedan delivery. Some car manufacturers give their own names to the generalists to advance on the market:

  • Audi – Avant ;
  • BMW – Touring ;
  • Opel – Caravan ;
  • Peugeot – SW ;
  • Rover – Tourer ;
  • Seat – Vario ;
  • Skoda – Combi ;
  • Volkswagen – Variant.



Convertible (also known as Ragtop ) – a three-volume open passenger body type, equipped with a soft (fabric) and (or) rigid folding roof, which allows driving in open or closed mode. A convertible with a removable roof bears its own name Hardtop.


Marketers stand out as a separate body type by a roadster, which is a shortened two-seater body with a folding soft roof. But at its core, a roadster is a two-seater sports convertible. In Italy, the roadster is called Barchetta.

By design, the passenger bodies of Targa (a two-seater or 2 + 2 car with a removable middle part of the roof) and bro game (a four-seater car with an opening part of the roof above the front row of seats) are close to the convertible.



The name minivan came to us from North America, the European name is People carrier (literally carrier of people). A minivan is understood to be a one-volume closed passenger body type having three or four rows of seats and capable of carrying six or more passengers. The minivan features an increased roof height. Modern minivans are built on golf cars (C), middle class (D) and vans.


The minivan, designed on the basis of the van, bears its own name – a minibus ( Minibus ). The minibus is designed to carry up to 16 passengers in several rows of seats. Most passengers access through a sliding door on one side of the vehicle.



The van is a one-volume closed cargo-passenger body type. The van has a partition that separates the cargo compartment from the passenger compartment. The van has no rear side windows, as well as increased body height. In North America, the van bears its own name – Van. The hatchback and station wagon without rear side windows intended for transportation of small loads also belong to the body type of the van.



Pickup is a three-volume passenger-and-freight type of body with an open platform for the transportation of goods. The cabin from the cargo platform is separated by a stationary partition. Modern pickups are built on the basis of cars and SUVs. Pickups are very popular in the USA. In Australia and New Zealand, pickups have their own name ute ( Ute, from utility coupe, literally general-purpose coupe).



Off-road vehicle ( SUVSport Utility Vehicle, the common name is jeep ) is a two-volume closed passenger body type having five or six doors, of which one or two are rear, two or three rows of passenger seats. The SUV is distinguished by its large overall dimensions, the presence of all-wheel drive, lower gears and increased ground clearance, allowing the car to move on roads and off-road. Therefore, an SUV is rightly called an all-terrain vehicle, but no one calls it that. At its core, an SUV is an all-terrain wagon. Off-road vehicles, as well as some pickups and vans, have an unloaded frame body.


Crossover (the common name is SUV ) is a two-volume closed passenger body type. It is distinguished from an SUV by a supporting body, compactness, lower ground clearance. Crossovers are usually based on golf cars.

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