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Car body style and vehicle types explained

Here we will take a look at the various body styles and vehicle types available in New Zealand
Car body style and vehicle types explained

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If you are looking for a new vehicle, then you may be surprised by the many options that you have available. There are not only many manufacturing options available in New Zealand, but there are also ten body styles that you can choose from.

Before you buy a new car online or in person, it's a good idea to understand the pros and cons of each body types. This will help you narrow your search and avoid buying a vehicle that doesn't fit with your lifestyle needs.

Here, we will take a look at the various body styles and vehicle types available:


A sedan is one of the most popular types of car body styles that you can find. That is because a sedan is extremely practical when it comes to transporting more than two people. A sedan is easily identifiable by its four-door design. Today, you can find sedans in several sizes from subcompact to large sizes. Also, you can find sedan vehicles on the low end of the price range to ultra-luxury sedans with just about every high-end appointment available.

Pros of Sedans

Four-door design - The four-door design of a sedan makes it easy to transport up to five people.

Many sizes available - You can find sedans available in a wide variety of sizes ranging from subcompact to large sizes.

Just about all manufacturers make sedans - No matter which manufacturer you prefer, you are likely to find multiple sedan options.

Cons of Sedans

Many lack style - If you are looking for a vehicle with exciting design cues, then you will be better off considering a coupe or a sports car.

You may not always need four doors - If you are often the only person using your vehicle, then the four-door design may not be ideal for you.

Becoming less popular - More and more people are moving from sedans to SUVs.

Popular Sedans in New Zealand

  • Honda Civic
  • Mazda 3
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Holden Commodore
  • Mercedes C300
  • BMW 3-Series
  • Suzuki Kizashi


A Coupe is a vehicle that features a two-door design and a boot. Many people like the coupe design because it tends to provide more attractive design lines versus a sedan. Also, a coupe may be a more appropriate choice who don’t often have more than one passenger in their vehicle. While coupes are not as possible as sedans, they tend to have their fans in the automotive world.

Pros of Coupes

More attractive design - Due to the two-door design, many coupes are perceived as more attractive than sedans.

Practical for those who don’t drive with many passengers - Coupes may be an ideal choice for those who don’t travel with many passengers.

Has a boot - Coupes have a boot that may be preferable over a two-door hatchback design.

Cons of Coupes

Less practical - Because of the two-door design, coupes tend to be less practical than sedans.

Fewer options available - Since coupes are not as popular as sedans, there are not as many options available.

Smaller rear seat room - Because of their design, there is less rear-seat headroom and legroom.

Popular Coupes in New Zealand

  • Toyota 86
  • Honda Civic Coupe
  • Audi A5
  • BMW C-Class Coupe
  • BMW 4-series

Sports Car

A sports car is a two-door vehicle that is known for its performance and its more aerodynamic styling. Some of the distinctive features of a sports car will include its larger wheels and brakes as well as its sleeker appearance. A couple of downsides of sports cars include tight interior space, limited boot capacity, and poor fuel economy. While you can find sports cars in all price ranges, you will typically find more sports cars at the higher end of a price range.

Pros of Sports Cars

High performance - Sports cars are designed to provide fast acceleration and excellent handling.

Attractive design - Sports cars are also among the most attractive vehicles on the road.

High resale value - In many cases, sports cars tend to hold their value.

Cons of Sports Cars

Higher price - Sports cars will tend to have a higher price than other vehicles.

Little interior space - Due to their tight interior spaces, larger people may feel uncomfortable inside the vehicle.

Small boots - The boots won’t hold more than a couple of pieces of luggage.

Popular Sports Cars in New Zealand

  • Nissan Skyline
  • Porsche 911
  • Porsche Cayman

Station Wagon

A station can be a two-door or a four-door sedan vehicle that features an extended wheelbase and a hatchback design. The major appeal of a station wagon is that you can comfortably fit five passengers and extra cargo in a car-like design. Some of the downsides of a station wage are the less desirable fuel economy and the larger size. If you like to go on long road trips, a station wagon can be an ideal vehicle choice for a family.

Pros of Station Wagons

Extra cargo room - There is more cargo room behind the second row compared to most other car designs.

Lots of passenger room - In most cases, you can comfortably fit up to five passengers with plenty of headroom and legroom.

A car-like design - The car-like design may be preferable to those who don’t want to drive an SUV.

Cons of Station Wagons

Poor fuel economy - Because of its larger design and its ability to carry more cargo, the fuel economy may not be as good as a comparable coupe or a sedan.

Less sporty performance - Also, the larger wheelbase makes a station wagon less likely to give you high performance.

May not have the best retail value - Station wagons are not as popular as they used to be. Therefore, the resale value may not be that good.

Popular Station Wagons in New Zealand

  • Volvo V60
  • Audi A4 Allroad
  • Subaru Outback


A hatchback looks much like a sedan or a coupe. The one major distinction is that a hatchback will have a rear flip-up tailgate known as a hatch. The hatchback design allows for better cargo storage because you can flip down the second-row seats and allow for larger items. Also, the rear glass tends to provide better visibility. One downside to a hatchback design is that your cargo is less secure with this type of design. Also, hatchback designs tend to be less attractive than other vehicles.

Pros of Hatchbacks

More cargo space - The ability to fold down the second-row seats and tailgate design allows for storage of larger items in a smaller vehicle.

Two or four-door design - Hatchbacks are available in both a two-door and four-door design.

Some affordable options available - There are several affordable hatchback options available.

Cons of Hatchbacks

Less private storage - Storing items in a hatchback is less private than having a boot.

Less attractive design - Hatchbacks are usually not the most attractive vehicle choice.

Many models are not designed for performance - Many hatchbacks are not designed for performance.

Popular Hatchbacks in New Zealand

  • Toyota Prius
  • Toyota Yaris Hatchback
  • Mazda3
  • Honda Civic Hatchback


A convertible is traditionally a coupe that has a removable top. The top itself can be either a removable soft-top or a removable or retractable hardtop. In many cases, a convertible may also be a sports car. However, some coupes are designed with less performance in mind. The big advantage of convertibles is that they are desirable for summer driving. The major downside of a convertible is that they are not practical for winter driving or other adverse weather conditions.

Pros of Convertibles

Attractive design - Convertibles are among the most attractive vehicles on the road.

Ideal for summer driving - Many people enjoy the open-top feeling of driving in a convertible.

Cons of Convertibles

Not ideal for driving in adverse weather conditions - Because the roof is not fixed, a convertible may not be ideal for driving in adverse conditions.

Less trunk space - The trunk space will be limited to convertibles with retractable roofs.

Popular Convertibles in New Zealand

  • Mazda MX-5
  • Holden Cascada
  • Porsche Boxster


SUVs are popular models that feature a high ground clearance and truck-like build with higher ground clearance and off-road capability. One of the big advantages of an SUV is that you can easily go offroad. Another reason why people love SUVs is that you can fit up to three roads of people and lots of cargo. The major downside to SUVs is that they are not very fuel-efficient.

Pros of SUVs

Space for more passengers and cargo - Some large SUVs provide three rows of seating for up to nine passengers. Also, most SUVs offer more cargo space than many cars.

Off-road capability - Many SUVs offer off-road capability due to the higher ground clearance.

Cons of SUVs

Higher price - Due to their popularity, many SUVs are priced higher than comparable cars.

Less fuel economy - SUVs also tend to be less fuel-efficient than many cars.

Popular SUVs in New Zealand

  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Kia Sportage
  • Toyota RAV4


A minivan is a vehicle that has a truck-like design. However, a minivan’s primary purpose is to transport a large number of people and not provide any off-road capability. The main advantage of a minivan is its large passenger and cargo space. The big downside to minivans is that they are little in terms of performance. Also, minivans do not have the best fuel economy.

Pros of Minivans

Lots of room for passengers are cargo - Most minivans offer three rows of space for passengers with lots of headroom and legroom.

Easy entry and exit for passengers - Minivans tend to have sliding doors which makes it easy to enter and exit.

Cons of Minivans

No off-road capability - While minivans have a truck-like design, they are not suited for off-road driving.

Not fuel efficient - Due to their large size, minivans are not good at fuel economy.

Popular Minivans in New Zealand

  • Peugeot Expert MWB
  • Nissan Elgrande
  • Toyota Previa

Ute(Pick-Up Truck)

Utes feature an open bed which allows for the storage of large items. Other distinguishing features of pick-up trucks include a higher ground clearance and large wheels. Many utes(pick-up trucks) are used for worksite duties and business operations. The major advantage of utes is their utility. The major downside of pick-ups is their lack of ride quality.

Pros of Pick-Up Trucks

Lots of utility - Thanks to the open bed design, you can a pick-up truck to haul lots of large and heavy items.

Off-road capability - Because of their larger wheels and higher ground clearance, many utes can handle off-road driving rather well.

Cons of Pick-Up Trucks

Less comfortable ride - Due to the body-on-frame design, pick-up trucks tend to have a less comfortable ride compared to most cars.

Less fuel economy - Also, many pick-up trucks have large, powerful engines to handle towing and hauling duties. Because of this, many pick-up trucks have less fuel-efficient than most cars.

Popular Pick-Up Trucks in New Zealand

  • Mitsubishi Triton
  • Toyota Hilux
  • Ford Ranger

Understanding The Different Types of Vehicle Body Styles

As you can see, there is a vehicle type for just about everyone. When shopping for a vehicle, be sure to know the advantages and disadvantages of each body style and vehicle type. This will help you purchase a vehicle that is truly right for your everyday needs.

Need help getting a vehicle from the showroom to your front door? Wise Move can help. You can find trusted car shipping services that operate across New Zealand. Get door-to-door transport at an affordable price. Book your car transport here.

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