Popular car body styles explained

Ok, so you need a new car for the family. You would love a saloon but mum is insistent on an MPV. Your son needs a hot hatch. Your neighbour then suggests a 4x4, whatever that is? Weíve helped make your decision easier with descriptions of the most popular car body styles.


A saloon car is one of the most common body styles of the modern car. At its most basic, the saloon is a passenger car with a separate bonnet covering the engine in the front, and a separate boot for luggage at the rear. A saloon seats four or more and has a fixed roof that is full-height up to the rear window. Examples of saloon type cars include the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Insignia.


A Hatchback car has a sloping back with a hinged rear door that opens upward. The rear deck lid and window lift open as a unit. The rear door leads into the car. This does not apply to MPVs, 4x4s or vans. Examples of hatchback type cars include the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra


(Multi Purpose Vehicle) A minivan, minibus, people carrier, multi utility vehicle (MUV), or multi purpose vehicle (MPV) is a type of vehicle which has a body that resembles a van, but which has rear side doors, rear side windows, and interior fittings to accommodate passengers similar to a station wagon. Minivans are higher than normal saloons and Estate cars, and are designed for maximum interior room MPVs often feature three seat rows and can seat 7 people or more.


Four-wheel drive, 4WD, 4x4 ("four by four"), all wheel drive, and AWD are terms used to describe a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive power from the engine simultaneously. 4x4 type cars include the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7.


A convertible (sometimes called cabriolet) is a car body style with a folding or retracting roof (aka soft top). The collapsible roof section is typically made from flexible canvas or vinyl, although plastic, aluminium and steel have occasionally been used in elaborate folding designs. Convertibles are usually 2 door models, only a few 4 door models exist. Examples of convertible cars include the Mazda MX5 and the BMW Z4.


An Estate car is a car body style similar to a saloon, but with an extended rear cargo area. Most Estate cars are modified saloon-type car bodies, having the passenger area extended to the rear window (over the normal boot area of the vehicle). An Estate car is distinguished from an MPV by still being a car, sharing its forward bodywork with other cars in a manufacturers range.


A coupť or coupe (from the French verb couper, to cut) is a car body style, the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time. Coupťs are often sporty variants of saloon body styles, with doors commonly reduced from 4 to 2, and a close-coupled interior offering either two seats or 2+2 seating. A good example of a convertible is the Peugeot 407 Coupe.

Date: 10/01/2013

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