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Vehicle Body Styles

The body of a vehicle is the visible distinct style of a vehicle. It is sometimes said to be the personality of the vehicle whereas the engine is the soul. There are many types of body styles, almost too many to list here. However we will look at the most popular body styles on the road today.

Vehicle Body Styles


A convertible body has a roof that can be removed or retracted. The roof is generally made of fabric. The rear window may be made of glass or a clear plastic vinyl.


A crossover is a body on a car chassis but has features and functions like an SUV. It can be thought of as a station wagon on steroids.


A hardtopbody can have two or four doors. It will have a fixed roof. Hardtops can be recognized by inspecting the doors around the windows. The doors will not have a frame that surrounds the door window.


A hatchback is a small body that has either two or four doors on the sides and a door that opens vertically in the rear.


While a hybrid is not necessarily describe a body style, it does describe a type of vehicle. It is a vehicle that uses a gasoline engine in combination with electric motors to drive the wheels and charge the batteries. These types of cars are becoming increasingly popular.


A minivan is like a taller station wagon. It is smaller than a regular van and can generally carry up to 9 passengers in up to three rows. The seating arrangements can include captain’s chairs or bench seats in the second and third rows. Minivans will have two doors in the front, one on each side. The middle part of modern minivans has two sliding doors, one on each side. In addition to these doors a door that opens vertically will be located on the rear of the minivan.

Pickup Truck

A pickup truck is a body made of two parts– the cab and bed. It may have two or four doors on the cab. Behind the cab is the cargo bed. Pickup trucks are used for hauling or carrying goods and materials. The tailgate is the door that folds down on the rear of the cargo bed to access the cargo space.

Retractable Hardtop

A retractable hardtop is similar to a convertible except for the roof is made metal.


A roadster is a car body that has only two front seats.


A sedan is a car body with either two or four doors. This style of car has a fixed roof. The windows in the doors of a sedan have a frame that goes all the way around them and is part of the door. NOTE- Two door vehicles may be referred to as a coupe.

Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)

A sport utility vehicle is like a car on the inside but can be used similar to a pickup truck. SUV’s typically have a suspension that is similar to a truck suspension.

Station Wagon

A station wagon is typically a four door body with an enclosed section in the rear for hauling passengers or cargo. The rear of the vehicle has a separate door that opens vertically to access the cargo. Some newer wagons are referred to as sport wagons.


A van body is tall and usually built on a pickup truck style chassis. Vans can have up to four rows of seats and carry up to 16 passengers. Conversely, vans can be used to carry cargo. There are usually two doors in the front on each side and generally one or two entry doors in the middle on the right side referred to as cargo doors. The side doors may be installed instead of one sliding door. Vans will generally have two doors in the rear in addition to the other doors. Some vans will have glass all the way around and others may not.

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