What Car Body Style Is Best for You?

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New vehicles lined up on a car lot/Image Credit: shaunl

Looking for a new (or new to you) car can feel intimidating and overwhelming, but it shouldn’t. Finding the perfect vehicle for you is all about striking the appropriate balance between function and style. Today, we’re looking at the advantages of some of the most popular car body styles to help you determine what car body style is best for you.

How to Choose the Right Vehicle Body Style

Sedan

The 2022 Honda Civic is one of the most popular sedans on the market
The 2022 Honda Civic is one of the most popular sedans on the market/Image Credit: Honda

Sedans used to be the most popular vehicles on the road, featuring four doors, two rows of seats, and a three-box configuration. Automakers have purged most sedans from their lineups over the years in favor of larger vehicles to meet changing consumer preferences. But don’t fret! The sedans that remain on the market, like the iconic Honda Civic and the stylish Kia K5, bring plenty to the table.

The primary reasons for buying a sedan are affordability and drivability. They tend to carry a lower sticker price than bigger vehicles and their aerodynamic design almost always results in better fuel efficiency. The design advantages don’t stop there, though. Ever heard of a sports sedan? A low center of gravity and well-designed powertrain turn vehicles like the new Hyundai Elantra N into four-wheeled joy factories. Frugal buyers and enthusiasts who just love driving are responsible for keeping the sedan alive today.

Hatchback

When people think "hot hatch" the VW Golf GTI is what comes to mind
When people think “hot hatch” the VW Golf GTI is what comes to mind/Image Credit: Volkswagen

If you love everything about the modern sedan, but just can’t make do with the trunk space you get with them – a hatchback might be right up your alley. There have been a lot of unique hatchback designs over the years, but core to their design ethos is practicality.

Instead of a trunk, hatchbacks feature a two-box design with a rear door that opens upward and is connected to the roof by a hinge. They’re a lot like station wagons, but shorter. The benefit is that you can slide a lot more cargo into the back (especially when you fold the rear seat down). This body style has become less popular over the years as well, with the exception of modern “hot hatches” like the enthusiast-favorite VW Golf GTI and the thrill-seeking Hyundai Veloster N holding down the segment.

The short wheelbase of a hatchback allows engineers to take all the advantages of a sports sedan and add razor-sharp handling to the equation. Take a test drive in one of those aforementioned models and you’ll see what we mean by “hot hatch”.

Minivan

The 2022 Toyota Sienna makes minivans look good
The 2022 Toyota Sienna makes minivans look good/Image Credit: Toyota

If you have a large or growing family, there’s a good chance that a minivan will be the ideal body style for you. Also known as multi-purpose vehicles, or MPVs, minivans are known for their height and spaciousness. Like sedans, they are incredibly functional, but with the aerodynamics of a barn, you’re unlikely to see the same fuel efficiency. But who needs efficiency when you have ALL OF THE SPACE?!

The modern minivan’s appeal comes down to utility and sheer roominess. A low load floor, tons of cupholders, nifty features, and more cargo room than you’ll likely know what to do with – make vehicles like the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna go-to models for soccer moms all over the country. And if you’re just not sure a minivan is cool enough for you, you could always give the more SUV-like Kia Carnival a shot.

Pickup

The 2022 Ram 1500 is as luxurious as it is powerful
The 2022 Ram 1500 is as luxurious as it is powerful/Image Credit: Ram

You have wood to haul. You have a trailer to tow. Your friends always call you when they’re stuck in a ditch or in the mud. You need a big pickup that can handle the most rugged of tasks. Note that just because you need a large, rugged vehicle doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice comfort or style. Depending on the trim level of the pickup you choose, your truck can be more luxurious than any car you’ve ever owned.

The new Ram 1500 is a luxury car with a truck bed and an option for a Hemi. The Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle every year for a reason. You can get a stylish body, heated and vented seats, adjustable foot pedals, steering wheels, and front seats, and dual climate control without sacrificing towing capacity or hauling capacity.

If you have big dreams for big jobs in the future, you just need to make sure you choose your powertrain carefully. Also, pickups with an eight-foot bed and extended cab make for perfect family vehicles due to their comfort, safety, and functionality. And now that compact trucks are back on the scene, you don’t have to worry about buying a truck that’s too big to actually park anywhere.

Crossover

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson shows how stylish a modern crossover can be
The 2022 Hyundai Tucson shows how stylish a modern crossover can be/Image Credit: Hyundai

The line between these next two body styles is a blurry one. A crossover is what happens when a station wagon tries to become an SUV. Built on a car’s platform with a unibody design, a crossover offers more ride height and passenger/cargo space than a sedan or even a hatchback can.

As this market segment has grown exponentially over the past couple of decades, the terminology has gotten a little muddy and you’ll often see “crossover” and “SUV” used interchangeably. But for the most part, crossovers like the highly popular Hyundai Tucson or the stylish Buick Encore GX offer the day-to-day utility of an SUV with better road manners than their more rugged counterparts.

If you’re looking for more ground clearance and space, and you don’t plan to venture too far off the beaten path – a crossover might be the perfect vehicle for you. The best part is, that there are tons of options to choose from in this segment.

SUV

The 2022 Jeep Wrangler puts the "sport-utility" in SUV
The 2022 Jeep Wrangler puts the “sport-utility” in SUV/Image Credit: Jeep

Rapidly becoming the most popular choice for Americans, it’s easy to see what people love about sport utility vehicles. Combining near minivan levels of space with the rugged underpinnings of a truck makes the SUV the Swiss army knife of the car world.

SUVs are perfect for the go-anywhere, do-anything type of person. If you’re willing to sacrifice some fuel efficiency, an SUV offers a lot of great benefits. A taller seating position gives you a better field of vision in traffic, but it also creates bigger blind spots. Just make sure to watch your speed and check the boxes for the more advanced safety features.

Just like with crossovers, there’s an SUV for everyone. The Jeep Wrangler remains the ultimate go-anywhere vehicle. The Kia Telluride might be one of the most stylish and comfortable family vehicles ever. And the Cadillac Escalade defines American luxury in every way you can imagine.

The auto industry is going through a lot of changes, but car shopping has never been easier. The hardest part is deciding what you want. Do you need a lot of space? Do you plan on venturing offroad? Once you know which body style works best for you, finding your dream ride should only take a few clicks. Start shopping today!

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Brandon Cantrell

Brandon Cantrell

At over a dozen vehicles, Brandon has lost count of the cars, trucks, and motorcycles that have graced his driveway. So, when he got into digital marketing, the automotive industry was a natural fit. Brandon now has almost a half-decade of experience writing and editing various forms of automotive content.