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Car Body Types Explained


If a coupe is not the most practical of cars (see below), a convertible is even less so. Rear seats are often more cramped than a coupe's and the boot is inevitably smaller due to the space needed for a folding top. And you will definitely pay a premium for the privilege. Yet, for all its inconveniences, driving with the top down, especially on a warm spring/summer day (if we ever get one), makes the convertible worth every penny. The feeling is glorious and the all-round visibility wonderful. Examples of Convertible Japanese Cars include: Mazda MX-5, Honda S2000 and Suzuki Cappuccino


If you subscribe to the "door for every seat" theory, a coupe (or coupé) is not really for you. Basically, a coupe is nothing more than a 2-door saloon but its appeal lies in the sporty look. That image will cost you more, though coupes actually cost less to manufacture. In spite of these negatives, coupes remain popular because there's more to driving than just transportation. The sporty look and more performance-focused engineering gear towards a fast and fun method of transport. Examples of Coupe Japanese Cars include: Nissan 370Z, Toyota MR2 and Subaru BRZ


Long a favorite of drivers who needed more luggage capacity, the estate car has declined in popularity due to the versatility of MPVs and SUVs. Neverthless it's a good choice for buyers who prefer saloon-like handling and accommodation. With the rear seat folded flat, an estate can handle everything from a sheet of plywood to an antique cabinet. With the seat up, it performs like a saloon. Examples of Japanese Estate Cars include: Nissan Stagea, Mazda 6 and Subaru Legacy


Arguably the most sensible passenger car yet devised. A saloon with a lifting rear door where the boot would be, it allows for the carrying of large items when the back seat is not in use. The smaller the car, the more you need one because of the hatch's ability to look, drive, and feel like a saloon while carrying all sorts of luggage. With lifestyles demanding more versatility, the hatchback concept is enjoying a rise in popularity. Examples of Hatchback Japanese Cars include: Nissan Micra, Suzuki Swift and Honda Civic


For those of us with large families, an MPV is often a wise choice for transporting everybody along with plenty of luggage. An MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle, can be classified as mini, compact or large but generally have either 5 or 7 seats and are often used purely as a family vehicle. Examples of Japanese MPV's include: Mazda 5, Nissan Elgrand and Toyota Verso

Pick Up

Although not quite as popular here as they are overseas, the humble Pickup is a wonderfully practical method of transport, with far more road presence and appeal over a van or traditional truck. Examples of Japanese Pick Up's include: Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara and Toyota Hilux


The 4-door saloon's three-box configuration continues to appeal to folks who are more comfortable with familiar forms. This is especially true in the executive class where longer overall car lengths benefit from the saloon's balanced look. It also appeals to car owners who prefer to have the boot completely sealed and out of view in a separate compartment. Smaller cars are less practical as saloons and benefit from hatchback configurations. Examples of Saloon Japanese Cars include: Subaru Impreza, Lexus IS and Honda Accord


A truck is a large vehicle often used for commercial purposes. Examples of Japanese Trucks include: Isuzu Forward and Mazda Titan.


A van is often a small to medium sized commercial vehicle with large luggage capacity, but can be a popular alternative method of transport for everyday road goers. Examples of Japanese Vans include: Toyota Hiace, Suzuki Supercarry and Mazda Bongo

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