Classification of cars on the basis of body type

Everybody has long had a love affair with their automobiles, may it be crossover, SUVs, sedans, convertibles or any. Everything changes and evolves. And the automotive industry is no such exception. The industry undergoes various changes to adjust to the fluctuating market conditions and changing customer’s need. With so much development in technology, it has now become easy for buyers to purchase a car that meets their criteria. Cars come in different shapes and sizes, with different mechanical configurations to suit the need of people and perform various purposes. So, it is important to have an idea about each one.

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Everybody knows that there exists a sports car, sedan, hatchback, convertible, or any other body type, but when it comes to telling the difference, i.e. a difference between an SUV, and crossover or a hatchback and wagon, one generally have a hard time until and unless he/she is an auto freak. Classification of vehicles is done in various ways. A popular method for classification of passenger cars is body type. The shape of the body defines the type of the car. All car types are not common in all countries, depending upon the region, name for the same vehicle may differ. For common people it is confusing to decide the car type and in which segment it falls. So, to help you out, here’s an article on the classification of cars on the basis of their body types. Read it for a primer on how cars are classified on the basis of their body type.

Convertibles-
According to the definition, convertibles are those vehicles that can convert from being open to being completely closed. These vehicles are derived from the earlier phaeton, which was an open vehicle that does not have glass side windows that may have had removable panels of fabric. Cars introduced at the beginning were all open. The end of the nineteenth century saw the introduction of cars with an enclosed body. During the 1920s, the production of steel bodies increased and as a result, closed cars became available to the average buyer. Gradually, the fully open cars disappeared from the mainstream market and convertibles entered in the mid ‘20s. They are sometimes called cabriolets or roadsters.

Convertibles generally have limited cargo space when the top is folded down. With the top in place, many convertibles offer much trunk space than their coupé counterparts. During the years, convertibles have gone through many variations; it can be a two-door roadster or a four-seat luxury model. Convertibles can have either hard or soft roof, depending upon the choice of the buyer. When compared with the soft top, hard top generally occupies more space in the trunk. Few examples of convertibles are Mazda MX-5, Volkswagen Eos C70, Audi A5 cabriolet.

Coupé-
A coupé is a closed-body style, two-door car with the seating capacity of generally two or four seats placed in 2+2 configuration. That means in the rear there are only two seats, and are also smaller than the average ones. Often sporty in nature, these cars can be a 2-box style or a 3-box style. These cars have a conventional trunk or a sloping back with an attached rear cargo hatch that open upward.

The term coupé is a long-running body style in automobile circles. It was first used for the 19th century carriages, where the rear-facing seats had been eliminated or cut out. During the 20th century, the term was used for different close-coupled automobiles. On technical basis, coupé is a fixed-top car that comes with a rear interior volume of less than 33 cubic feet. Coupé provides reasonably comfortable seating, but because of limited seating room it is not suitable for families. Some popular coupés in the market are Ford Mustang, Cadillac CTS, Jaguar XK.

Crossover-
Crossovers or Cross Utility Vehicles (CUV) are generally tall wagons and SUVs that are based on a car platform for improved ride, comfort and fuel economy. They come with a front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configurations. The first proper attempt at a crossover vehicle was made by the Willys-Overland Jeepster. To attain a better foothold in the market, Willys builds a passenger car with the styling and roughness of a Jeep. Though the car wasn’t a sales success, but it did introduce the basic principle of how a crossover should be like.

Like SUVs, crossover provides appealing qualities such as upright seating position, spacious interiors, great cargo capacity, high ground clearance, smooth driving, better handling, improved fuel economy. So, in general language, crossovers look like small SUVs, but they drive like regular cars. Their features are generally derived from passenger cars, mostly from station wagons and hatchbacks. As crossover offers useful attributes of many vehicle types, they are becoming popular among people. Some popular crossovers of today’s market are Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Hatchback-
Sports cars and coupés is what that tops the list of every car enthusiast, but when it comes to day-to-day reality, many go with a hatchback instead. Hatchbacks can be described as three door or five door cars that come with a rear door that swings upward to increase a cargo area. There is a separate cabin for engine in these cars, while passenger and cargo areas are together. Precisely, these body-types do not have an extra rear-end stuffed outside, and is also said to be the two-box in dimension.

Generally hatchbacks have rear seats that fold flat to increase cargo space. Not only the backseat fold up, but the seat bottom in the backseat also folds up. Along with styling and spaciousness, their resale value is excellent. Every minivan, compact SUV, and crossover is technically a hatchback. Those hatchbacks which are large and well-equipped are perfect city cars as they are easy to drive, easy to park. Hatchbacks are perfect blend of comfort, power, handling and safety. Some of the popular hatchbacks running across the world are VW Golf, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Yaris.

Luxury cars-
It is a marketing term used for cars that offer the peak of comfort and gives an excellent feeling of riding. It is in fact the first vehicle type category built based on the expense of early automobiles. It includes a segment of cars that provide exceptionally well luxury design, performance, comfort and features to buyers. They are generally custom made cars that are manufactured chiefly for ultra rich people. Besides the brand, technology also contributes for the higher cost of these cars. Some cars are even considered as luxurious because of the price attached to them.

Till 1980s, luxury cars were heavy vehicles that offer soft ride to passengers. But today’s cars are light and offer more performance oriented rides. In modern times, the term can be used for any vehicle type- including sedan, hatchback, convertible, station wagon, coupé, minivans, SUVs , or crossovers to any size of vehicle from small to large. When one talks of luxury cars, name that comes in minds are Porsche 918 Spyder, Lexus LS, BMW 7-Series, Audi A8.

Multi Utility Vehicle (MUV)-
Multi-Utility Vehicle (shortened MUV) is a type of automobile that is identical in shape to a van and is designed for personal use. The vehicle is typically based on a mid-sized car or minivan platform. These vehicles are as useful as SUVs with similar ride, though from a construction point of view not very robust. MUVs have the seating capacity of at least seven passengers and are more comfortable than a crossover for groups of that size. These cars also offer enough carry space.

They are taller than a sedan, hatchback or a station wagon, and are designed for maximum interior room and can be modified depending upon the requirements. These are the vehicles that can undertake a broad range of functions. Depending upon its dynamic features such as high quality, ruggedness, durability, stability, reliability, looks, easy maintenance and operational economy, MUVs are used extensively for private and public transport. MUV has multiple features that make traveling an easy and comfortable experience. Some of the popular Multi Utility Vehicles are Toyota Innova, Mahindra Xylo, Honda Mobilio.

Notchback-
It is a styling term for describing a car body style that is in general three-box style category. In these cars, there are separate areas for engine, passengers and cargo. Seen from the side, the section forward of the windshield can be viewed as one box, the section with doors and windows is the second, and the third box is the trunk. The roof of notchback is on one plane, generally parallel to the ground, the rear window at a sharp angle to the roof, and the trunk lid is also parallel to the ground.

The term is derived from the noun, notch that means v-cut or indentation. Produced since 1940s, notchback may apply to number of vehicles. In the early 1960s, notchback design became common among American automakers. All notchbacks are three-box design, though the reverse is not always true. Most notchbacks are generally sedans or coupés. However, hatchbacks or liftbacks can also be included in this category if they have any horizontal deck lid that brings the vehicle in three-box design. Few examples of notchbacks are Ford Mustang Notchback 289 CU, 62 Porsche Notchback.

Sedan-
One of the most popular vehicles available in the market today is a sedan. By definition, the sedan is a car with two full rows of seats and four doors. It is roomy, comfortable car with ample room for five adult passengers including a driver. This feature of sedan to carry almost five passengers from medium to large makes it a popular choice among people. The sedan has fixed roof that is full-height up to the rear window. The word ‘sedan’ is believed to be derived from a southern Italian dialect, sedia that means ‘chair’. It was the 1899 Renault Voiturette Type B that first uses this configuration and Speedwell sedan launched in 1911 was the first closed car with the seating capacity of four persons that used the word ‘sedan’.

Today, almost every automaker keeps a line of sedan style cars in its production as it is the most popular car body type. This body type of car is quite popular and long-running as it provides a good balance of cost, comfort, efficiency. They offer a wide range of cost and performance. Like hatchback, sedans don’t have an extra trunk with the cargo space. Some examples of sedans are Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, Mercedes E500.

Sports cars-
Sports cars symbolize wealth, lavish lifestyle and youthfulness. These are generally two-seater, two-door that offers well-balanced chassis, a light engine with high gears, accurate steering and steady braking. The exact predecessor of the modern day sports car was the German 1901 Mercedes that possessed a 5.9litre engine, the largest used on a production car at that time. It also sets standards of chassis design that was followed for the next 30 years. In England from 1904, the fast motoring field was led by Daimler. By 1906, Daimler produced cars with special 10-litre that could reach 65 mph. Other important early cars were the Darracq, Napier, Lancia and Fiat. The end of World War I bought the emergence of true sports cars. The first sports car to be built was a 3-liter 1910 Prince Henry Vauxhall 20hp and the 27/80PS Austro-Daimler designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

Sports cars generally have two seats. Only few cars have small back seats that are suitable for luggage or small children. Such configuration is often known as a 2+2. With an abundance of power, agile steering, luxurious interiors, sports cars have always been a blast to drive. Popular track burning cars are Porsche Boxster, Jaguar F-Type, Mercedes-Benz-C-class.

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV)-
The SUV is a type of passenger vehicle which possess passenger-carrying and load-pulling abilities with the efficiency of a pick-up truck. In some countries SUVs are known as off-roader or four-wheel drive (4WD) or 4×4. It is a belief that SUVs are descendants of commercial and military vehicles such as the Jeep and Land Rover. The squarish design in many SUVs is little bit due to the Jeep. Early SUVs were meant to be practical and a means to carry all (passengers or cargos). SUV uses a body on frame design. That means, the body and frame are built separately and then placed together.

By the end of the twentieth century, SUVs began to gain popularity. SUVs, large cabins, higher ride height, and safety attract buyers towards them. These vehicles have a separate engine area, although passenger and luggage area are enclosed together. Some compact SUVs even offers decent gas mileage. To be precise, if one has a big family, or carry large loads of cargo usually, then the ideal vehicle to go with is an SUV. Few examples of SUVs are Toyota Land Cruiser, Dodge Durango, Land Rover Range Rover.

Station Wagon-
Station wagon, also known as an estate or only wagon, is a body style which has an interior that is extended to the back, and comes usually with an extra seat or luggage compartment. Derived from a horse-drawn vehicle, the wagon name is used for cars that display a sharp level of utility. These vehicles were very popular among families during the 1950s through the ‘70s.

An easy way to determine whether the car is a wagon or not is that the roof line of a wagon continues past the rear doors. A wagon offers everything from all-wheel drive, a roomy interior, rugged off-road ground clearance, abundant technology, to turbo-diesel torque and efficiency. Occasionally this term is used to refer to passenger vans. Some popular examples of station wagons are Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen, Ford Flex, Subaru Outback.

Super Cars-
The term is applied to high performance, expensive and technologically advanced vehicles that use new fuel resources, lightweight materials to produce immense horsepower. In general, the term is used for ultra-high end exotic automobiles that are a perfect blend of engineering, performance and styling. By mainstream automakers these cars are marketed as “halo” vehicles. Production of supercars is always limited. Generally, around 5000 cars are produced, while in some cases the production runs as low as 100.

The history of supercar goes back when an advertisement for the Ensign Six, a 6.7L high-performance car similar to the Bentley Speed Six, appeared in ‘The Times’ dated 11th November, 1920 with the phrase- “If you are interested in a supercar, you cannot afford to ignore the claims of the Ensign 6.” Even the Oxford English Dictionary has made use of the word in an advertisement in ‘The Motor’ on November 3, 1920 for an unnamed car, “The Supreme development of the British super-car.” During the 1950s and the ‘60s, performances of cars progressed. In 1954, Mercedes launched 300 SL ‘Gull Wing’ that was the first supercar to cross the 150mph mark. In 1957, Chevrolet with the launch of Chevrolet Corvette made an impression in the supercar industry. The car could reach 60mph in less than 6 seconds. Gradually other automakers such as Jaguar, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ferrari also came up with supercars to satisfy needs of customers. Some popular examples of supercars from these automakers are Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8 GT, Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera.

Van-
It is the most common type of vehicle used for transporting mainly goods or people. It is generally covered and is nearly cubical in shape, longer and higher than cars, but smaller than trucks. Cargo barriers generally fit behind the front seats of many vans to prevent injuries caused by sudden deceleration or rolling over of cargo. Sometimes, doors are fitted with cargo barriers that allow drivers to pass through the cargo compartment of the vehicle. The word van for vehicles has arrived as a contradiction of the word caravan. According to the early definition of van, it is a covered wagon used for transporting goods.

These vehicles are not from the bygone era. Still, many people prefer to buy vans as they offer plenty of space that makes travelling comfortable, and are quite a safe vehicle. It is a great vehicle for large families and for hippies. Depending upon the needs of buyers, there are many vans available in the market from full-size van, passenger van, a minivan and more. Some popular vans running across the streets are Nissan Quest LE, Toyota Sienna XLE, Subaru 360 van.

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One thought on “Classification of cars on the basis of body type

  1. Pingback: Classification of cars on the basis of body type | JapaneseCarTrade.com

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