Car Buying Guide: 6 Popular Car Types Explained

The design of cars has evolved into a variety of different shapes and sizes over the years. Here’s a glossary of different car types to explain each of their unique characteristics. From sedans to pickup trucks, each body type offers unique features, and differ in terms of passenger and storage capacity. Some come with powerful engines, while others have four-wheel-drive to aid with all-terrain driving. Read on to find out more about the unique characteristics of 6 of the most popular car types in Brunei.

1. The Classic Sedan - Everyday Cars for The Traditional Driver

A sedan, also known as a saloon, is the most traditional car type. It is characterised by its three-box design, with the engine at the front, passenger cabin in the middle, and a separate boot compartment at the rear. It tends to have an elongated silhouette due to its extended front engine and back boot sections.

Sedans generally offer a seating capacity of four or five people, including the driver, and three or four passengers. They typically have four doors for easy entry and exit.

Sedans come in varying sizes, from subcompact sedans to full-sized sedans. They are an evergreen and classic car design that is great for first-time car buyers who want something that offers enough space to ferry four or five people, and have a decent-sized boot for carrying items about.


2. The Sporty Coupe - Stylish Cars for The Young at Heart

A coupe is generally characterised as a sporty car with two doors, and a three-box shape with a sloping roofline, although in recent times there have been variations like the ‘four-door coupe’ and ‘coupe-SUV’ which are a combination of sedan or SUV mixed with coupe design traits.

Some coupes offer seating for only two people, the driver and one passenger, while a few others include a back seat and thus can fit up to four or five people. But with only two doors, access to the back seats in a coupe is a bit trickier than a sedan.

Coupes come in many sizes, from compact coupes to large luxury cruisers. They are ideal for couples without children who generally don’t need to ferry more than two people on a regular basis. Most coupes have a decent-sized boot as well, which can accommodate large bags for holiday trips, for example.

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3. The Easy-going Hatchback - Versatile Small Cars for New Drivers

A hatchback is generally a small or economy car with a two-box design. It typically has its engine in front, followed by its passenger cabin area, but no visible ‘boot’ that can be seen externally. As such, hatchbacks appear compact in size, with a rear upward lifting tailgate (often called a ‘door’) at the back offering access to the cargo area.

Hatchbacks can have three or five doors, and generally offer seating for up to five passengers. By nature of their design, hatchbacks are usually small in size, and thus are perfect for newer drivers who want something that’s easy to drive and park.

Despite their compact dimensions, many hatchbacks offer lots of practicality and versatility, as they often have rear seats that can fold down to accommodate bigger items. The tailgate also has a larger opening for easier access to the boot area as compared to a sedan.

Examples of Hatchbacks: Toyota Wigo, Suzuki Swift, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Golf, Renault Megane


4. The Towering Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) - Practical and Rugged Cars for The Adventurous All-rounder

SUVs, or sport utility vehicles, can trace their origins to the rugged military vehicles that were first developed for use in World War II. Over time, these off-road vehicles have evolved into spacious family-friendly cars that are suitable for every lifestyle.

The main defining characteristic of SUVs is their raised ride height, and most SUVs are higher ground clearance than regular cars. Many of them feature a long two-box design, with an engine in front and a large passenger compartment.

SUVs come in many shapes and sizes, and are suitable for those who want a very practical and spacious vehicle that can do most things well. Some SUVs have all-wheel-drive capability which means that they can actually go off-road, but many SUVs these days only have two-wheel-drive like regular cars.


5. The Spacious Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) - Plenty of Room for The Family

MPVs, or multi-purpose vehicles, are cars that are designed primarily to accommodate large families. Most MPVs can seat up to seven passengers, with some larger ones offering even more seats, making them ideal for those who need to ferry more people than what regular cars can carry.

MPVs tend to look like vans, but they differ from vans in that they are designed to carry people from the outset, as opposed to vans which are meant for delivering cargo goods. As such, MPVs offer car-like features, like comfortable seats, and numerous storage spaces throughout the cabin to accommodate items like toys and water bottles, making them perfect for families with kids.

MPVs come in various sizes, but many MPVs tend to be on the larger side in order to fit in seven or up to nine seats in the interior. They do come at the expense of boot space, although the seats can be folded down if required. Some MPVs come with sliding rear doors, which adds extra convenience in offering access to the rear cabin area.


6. The Utilitarian Pick-Up Truck - Carry Anything and Go Anywhere

Once a workhorse vehicle for rural drivers and families everywhere in the world, the modern pickup truck has evolved into a rugged and stylish large vehicle that also serves as recreational transportation. A pick-up truck is essentially identified by the inclusion of a load-carrying flatbed at the rear half of the vehicle.

There are single cab trucks, with just two doors and a pair of seats or sometimes a bench for three, and double cab trucks that have four doors and a full two rows of seats to hold up to five passengers.

There is also a more specialised body style commonly called the extra cab. The cabin has only two doors but also a small bench behind the front seats. Getting into the second row requires folding the front seats forwards like in a two-door coupe. The advantage of this design is that it allows for a longer load-carrying bed at the rear, but the truck still has the ability to carry more than two passengers in the cabin.

Pickup trucks come in a wide variety of drivetrain configurations from basic two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive with lockable differentials for serious offroad driving. Most also feature very comfortable, car-like interiors that have been suitably beefed up to withstand muddy camping trips into the wilderness, or just days out carrying heavy equipment. Customisation options for pickup trucks are plentiful and it’s rare to find one that hasn’t been customised to what the driver needs.