Vehicle Body Styles Explained: Coupe, Sedan, Hatch, SUV, Crossover

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When shopping for a new car, it might feel as though the industry has an entirely unique language. Terms like “hatchback,” “crossover,” and “coupe” can be confusing, especially when comparing models. Below are body styles explained, including some of the most popular designations for cars on the market. While some automakers use words like “crossover” and “SUV” interchangeably, it’s good to know some of the general distinctions.

One of the most basic comparisons you’ll see is between a “sedan” and a “coupe,” according to Drivespark. A sedan usually has four doors and seating for four to five passengers, with over 33 cubic feet of interior volume in the rear. Sometimes called a “saloon” or “three-box design,” a sedan is family friendly yet versatile. Coupes usually (but not always) come with two doors, with less than 33 cubic feet of interior volume in the rear. These cars are usually sports models.

“Crossover” and “SUV” are also confusing terms. Generally, crossovers are built on a unibody design, which means the body and frame are connected. This allows for improved comfort, but it doesn’t work as well off-road. SUVs, or Sport Utility Vehicles, are built on truck platforms with a separate body and frame to improve capabilities.

A hatchback is a European-inspired design that has a sloped rear end and a hinged rear door. These cars are sometimes called “five-door models” because of their hinged trunk, and many are compact designs built for fuel economy. Some lesser-used terms include “MPVs” and “Estates.” An MPV, or Multi-Purpose Vehicle, is really just a fancy term for minivans, while Estates are essentially station wagons—roomy sedans with extended rear luggage or cargo areas.

Questions about terms or body styles? Stop by Crossroads Automotive. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will help to find you the perfect car for your needs.

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