Types of Cars in India: Car Body Types Explained
Types of Cars in India: Car Body Types Explained

Types of Cars in India: Car Body Types Explained

08 Apr 2024
12 Mins Read
Table of contents

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the different types of cars in India. Just as each person possesses their distinct personality, cars too, come in all shapes and sizes—From elegant and refined sedans to muscular and adventurous SUVs, we'll unravel the mysteries behind each body type, providing you with an enthralling journey into the world of automotive diversity. 

Types of Cars in India

1. Hatchback

hatchback cars

The 1938 Citroën Traction Avant 11CV Commerciale is considered the first hatchback ever made, and the body type gained popularity in the following decades. They were particularly appealing to those seeking a compact and economical option for urban commuting. Over the years, hatchbacks have evolved significantly in terms of design, performance, and technology, becoming a ubiquitous sight on Indian roads. The term "hatchback" originated from the notion of a hinged rear panel, akin to opening a small hatch.

Pros and Cons of Hatchbacks


  • Compact size, ideal for city driving
  • Affordable pricing
  • Good fuel efficiency
  • Fun to drive


  • Limited rear legroom and cargo space
  • Lower ground clearance may pose challenges on rough or uneven roads

Five Popular Hatchbacks in India

Maruti Suzuki Swift
Hyundai i20
Tata Altroz
Volkswagen Polo
Renault Kwid

Check out our collection of Used Hatchbacks Cars in India

2. Sedan/Saloon/Notchback

Sedan Saloon Notchback Cars

The concept of sedans traces back to the early days of automobile manufacturing. In the early 20th century, sedans became synonymous with luxury, catering to affluent buyers seeking opulent transportation. Sedans, also known as saloons or notchbacks, are characterised by a separate enclosed boot for luggage and a fixed roof structure.

Pros and Cons of Sedans


  • Spacious and comfortable interiors, ideal for long journeys
  • Dedicated boot space for luggage
  • Smooth and refined ride quality, ensuring a comfortable driving experience


  • Higher price range compared to hatchbacks
  • Longer overall length, making parking and driving through tight spaces more challenging
  • Higher fuel consumption compared to smaller cars
  • Limited off-road capabilities due to lower ground clearance

Five Popular Sedans in India

Honda City
Skoda Octavia
Hyundai Verna
Volkswagen Virtus
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz

Check out our collection of Used Sedans Cars in India

3. Compact Sedan

Compact Sedan cars

With their smaller dimensions and improved fuel efficiency, compact sedans have gained popularity among car buyers looking for a practical and affordable option. Compact sedans are well-suited for urban driving, offering a balance of convenience, efficiency, and style.

Pros and Cons of Compact Sedans


  • Ample seating and legroom
  • Dedicated boot space for storing luggage
  • Fuel-efficient engines
  • Manoeuvrable size, allowing for easy navigation in cities
  • Modern features and technologies


  • Smaller trunk space compared to larger sedans
  • Limited rear headroom and legroom compared
  • Not as powerful as mid-size or full-size sedans
  • Ride quality may not be as smooth as larger sedans
  • Limited off-road capabilities

Five Popular Compact Sedans in India

Maruti Suzuki Dzire
Honda Amaze
Hyundai Aura
Tata Tigor
Ford Aspire

4. Coupe

Coupe cars

The term "coupe" originated from the French word "couper," meaning "to cut." Historically, coupes referred to closed carriages with two seats and a roofline that was cut shorter than traditional models. Over time, coupes evolved into two-door cars with a focus on performance and style. 

Today, coupes epitomise sportiness and style with a focus on performance. These cars are designed to turn heads on the road, offering a blend of exhilarating driving dynamics and captivating aesthetics.

Pros and Cons of Coupes


  • Striking and sporty design
  • Exhilarating performance
  • Enhanced driving dynamics
  • Luxurious interiors, showcasing attention to detail and craftsmanship
  • Symbol of style and status, making a statement on the road.


  • Restricted accessibility due to the two-door configuration
  • Reduced practicality in terms of cargo space and everyday usability
  • Higher price range and ownership costs compared to mainstream cars
  • Harsher ride quality compared to more comfort-oriented vehicles

Five Popular Coupes in India

BMW 4 Series Coupe
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe
Audi A5 Coupe
Ford Mustang
Jaguar F-Type Coupe

5. Micro Car

Micro Car

The concept of micro cars originated in post-World War II Europe as a response to fuel shortages and the need for affordable transportation. In recent years, micro cars have evolved to incorporate modern features and advanced technology, making them a viable option for city dwellers.

Pros and Cons of Micro Cars


  • Excellent to drive through crowded city streets
  • Lower running costs due to their fuel efficiency
  • Affordability, even when compared to hatchbacks
  • Lower service costs
  • Environmentally friendly


  • Very limited seating and cargo space
  • Less power and performance due to smaller engines
  • Limited comfort features
  • May feel less stable at high speeds or on highways
  • Not suitable for large families

Five Popular Micro Cars in India

Maruti Suzuki Alto
Renault Kwid
Datsun redi-GO
Tata Punch
Hyundai Santro

6. CUV/Crossover

Crossover SUV

CUVs (Crossover Utility Vehicles) or Crossovers emerged as a response to the growing demand for vehicles that cater to a wide range of needs and lifestyles. They combine the attributes of different car types to offer a versatile and adaptable driving experience. 

Pros and Cons of Crossovers


  • Versatile and adaptable
  • Spacious and comfortable interiors
  • Higher ground clearance
  • Smooth handling and manoeuvrability


  • Higher price range compared to regular sedans or hatchbacks
  • Lower fuel efficiency compared to smaller cars
  • Not as rugged or capable off-road as full-size SUVs
  • Limited performance compared to sports cars or high-performance sedans

Five Popular Crossovers in India

Hyundai Creta
Kia Seltos
Maruti Suzuki Ignis
Honda WR-V
Nissan Kicks

7. Crossover Hatchback

Crossover Hatchback

Crossover hatchbacks, also known as small crossovers, emerged as a response to the growing demand for vehicles that offer the best of both worlds – the practicality of a hatchback and the ruggedness and ground clearance of an SUV. They provide a unique blend of versatility, compactness, and style. 

Pros and Cons of Crossover Hatchbacks


  • Compact size 
  • Stylish and rugged design
  • Raised ground clearance
  • Versatile cargo space
  • Fuel efficient


  • Limited rear seating and legroom
  • Reduced cargo space compared to regular hatchbacks
  • Not as capable off-road as full-size SUVs
  • Slightly higher price compared to regular hatchbacks

Five Popular Crossover Hatchbacks in India

Maruti Suzuki S-Presso
Renault Kiger
Nissan Magnite
Kia Sonet
Hyundai Venue

8. MPV/Minivan


MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles), also known as minivans, have a long history, dating back to the 1980s when manufacturers introduced vehicles that could accommodate larger families and their luggage. These vehicles gained popularity due to their spacious interiors and versatile seating arrangements. 

Over time, MPVs have evolved to incorporate various features and technologies to meet the changing needs of families.

Pros and Cons of MPVs


  • Ample seating capacity
  • Spacious interiors
  • Generous cargo capacity
  • Various safety features and technologies


  • Larger dimensions, making them more challenging to manoeuvre
  • Lower fuel efficiency compared to smaller cars
  • Limited off-road capabilities
  • Limited performance compared to smaller, more agile vehicles

Five Popular MPVs in India

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
Toyota Innova Hycross
Hyundai Alcazar
Kia Carnival
Renault Triber

9. SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)


SUVs have a rich history, originating from military vehicles and off-road vehicles used for utility purposes. In the 1990s, SUVs gained popularity among consumers seeking a blend of off-road capabilities and on-road comfort. 

SUVs offer a blend of ruggedness, versatility, and commanding presence on the road. These vehicles are designed to handle a variety of terrains and provide ample space for both passengers and cargo. 

Pros and Cons of SUVs


  • Versatile and spacious interiors
  • Unparalleled off-road capabilities
  • Commanding road presence
  • High ground clearance
  • Advanced safety features and technologies


  • Larger dimensions, making them cumbersome to drive in cities
  • Higher fuel consumption 
  • Higher ownership and maintenance costs
  • Not as agile as smaller vehicles
  • Higher ownership cost

Five Popular SUVs in India

Toyota Fortuner
Mahindra Thar
Mahindra Scorpio/Scorpio N
Tata Harrier
Mahindra XUV 700

Check out our collection of Used SUVs Cars in India

10. Crossover SUV


Crossover SUVs emerged as a response to the growing demand for vehicles that offer the benefits of SUVs, such as spaciousness and versatility, with the comfort of passenger cars. The popularity of crossover SUVs skyrocketed due to their combination of practicality and style. Over time, manufacturers have refined the design and features of crossover SUVs to meet the changing needs of consumers.

Pros and Cons of Crossover SUVs


  • Versatile and spacious interiors
  • Elevated ground clearance to tackle bad roads
  • Sporty and stylish design
  • Available in various sizes and configurations
  • Fun to drive options, such as the Volkswagen Taigun


  • Limited off-road capabilities compared to full-size SUVs
  • Relatively higher fuel consumption
  • Potentially higher ownership and maintenance costs

Five Popular Crossover SUVs in India

Hyundai Creta
Kia Seltos
Ford EcoSport
Tata Nexon
Volkswagen Taigun

11. Coupe SUV

coupe suv

Coupe SUVs emerged as a response to the demand for vehicles that combine the sportiness of a coupe with the ruggedness and versatility of an SUV. The concept gained popularity as an increasing number of buyers sought a unique blend of style, performance, and practicality. Manufacturers responded by designing coupe SUVs that feature the sleek lines and dynamic appeal of coupes, while offering the spaciousness and raised driving position associated with SUVs.

Pros and Cons of Coupe SUVs


  • Sporty and dynamic design
  • Spacious interiors
  • Better ground clearance
  • Powerful engines
  • Performance-oriented features


  • Compromised rear headroom
  • Limited cargo space
  • Less spacious and practical compared to traditional SUVs
  • Higher ownership costs and fuel consumption
  • Limited off-road capabilities

Five Popular Coupe SUVs in India

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe
Audi Q8
Range Rover Velar
Porsche Cayenne Coupe

12. Compact SUV

Compact SUV

Compact SUVs emerged as a response to the demand for vehicles that offer the benefits of an SUV in a smaller and more fuel-efficient package. The concept gained traction as car buyers sought versatile vehicles that could handle city driving while providing the flexibility for weekend getaways or mild off-roading. 

Pros and Cons of Compact SUVs


  • Versatile and compact size
  • Higher ground clearance
  • Spacious interiors
  • Fuel-efficient engines
  • Enhanced comfort and convenience


  • Limited rear passenger space
  • Reduced cargo capacity 
  • Not as capable off-road as full-size SUVs

Five Popular Compact SUVs in India

Hyundai Venue
Kia Sonet
Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza
Mahindra XUV300
Tata Nexon

13. 4-Door Coupe

4-Door Coupe

The concept of the 4-door coupe emerged in the early 2000s as an innovation in automotive design. It was popularised by luxury car manufacturers aiming to offer a more dynamic alternative to traditional sedans. 

The 4-door coupe is a unique car body type that combines the sleek and sporty design of a coupe with the practicality of a sedan. These vehicles feature a coupe-like roofline and a fastback-style rear, offering a more dynamic and stylish appearance compared to traditional sedans.

Pros and Cons of 4-Door Coupes


  • Sporty and stylish design
  • Comfortable and spacious interiors
  • Engaging driving experience
  • Premium features and advanced technologies
  • Unique and distinctive body style


  • Reduced rear headroom
  • Potentially limited rear visibility due to the sloping roofline
  • Slightly compromised cargo space
  • Limited availability of 4-door coupes in the Indian market

Five Popular 4-Door Coupes in India

Audi A7
Mercedes-Benz CLS
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe
Porsche Panamera
Aston Martin Rapide

14. Station Wagon

station wagon cars

Station wagons, also known as estate cars, have a rich history, dating back to the early days of the automotive industry. Originally, station wagons were used to transport people and their luggage to and from train stations. Over time, they evolved into family-friendly vehicles with spacious interiors and generous cargo capacity. 

Pros and Cons of Station Wagons


  • Ample cargo capacity
  • Comfortable seating and spacious interiors
  • Versatility, with the ability to fold down rear seats
  • Smooth handling and ride quality


  • Perception of a traditional and less trendy body style
  • Limited availability 
  • Longer length, requires more parking space
  • Not as high ground clearance or off-road capabilities compared to SUVs
  • Reduced fuel efficiency compared to smaller cars

Five Popular Station Wagons in India

Maruti Suzuki Baleno Altura (Discontinued. First introduced in 2000)
Tata Estate (Discontinued. First introduced in 1992)
Fiat Palio Adventure (Discontinued. First introduced in 2000)
Volvo V60
Skoda Octavia Combi (Discontinued. First introduced in 2005)

15. Convertible/Spyder/Cabriolet


The history of convertibles can be traced back to the early days of automobiles when most cars were open-air vehicles. Over time, advancements in technology and consumer demand led to the development of retractable roofs. Modern convertibles feature innovative mechanisms that allow for quick and effortless transformation from a closed-top car to an open-top convertible.

Pros and Cons of Convertibles


  • Immersive driving experience
  • Stylish design and engineering
  • A sense of freedom and enjoyment, particularly on sunny days or scenic drives
  • Retractable roofs often offer good insulation, providing comfort in various weather conditions


  • Limited rear passenger and cargo space
  • Higher ownership and maintenance costs
  • Less practical for daily commuting
  • Reduced structural rigidity
  • Noise and wind intrusion may be higher when driving with the top down

Five Popular Convertibles in India

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
Jaguar F-Type Convertible
Audi A3 Cabriolet
Mini Cooper Convertible

Check out our collection of Used Luxury Cars in India

16. Pick-Up Truck

Pick-up trucks have a long history, dating back to the early 20th century when manufacturers started modifying cars to have open cargo beds. These early pick-up trucks were primarily used for agricultural and industrial purposes. Over time, pick-up trucks evolved to become more refined, with improved comfort and advanced features. Today, they have become a popular choice for both commercial and personal use.

Pros and Cons of Pick-Up Trucks


  • Versatile cargo space
  • Robust construction
  • Higher towing capacity
  • Good off-road capabilities
  • Spacious interiors


  • Larger size, making it hard to park
  • Higher fuel consumption
  • Limited rear passenger seating

Five Popular Pick-Up Trucks in India

Mahindra Bolero Pickup
Tata Xenon
Mahindra Bolero Camper
Isuzu D-Max V-Cross
Toyota Hilux

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, understanding the different types of cars in India is essential for car buyers to make informed decisions. Whether it's the practicality of a hatchback, the sophistication of a sedan, the versatility of an SUV, or the efficiency of an electric car, each body type offers unique benefits and considerations. 

From popular models like the Maruti Swift and Hyundai Creta to the luxurious Audi A7 and Jaguar F-Type, there's a car type to suit every preference and budget. However, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each type and consider individual needs to find the perfect car that meets both style and functionality requirements.


Q. What is the most popular car body type in India?

Hatchbacks are the most popular car body type in India. They are small, fuel-efficient, and affordable.

Q. Are SUVs suitable for Indian road conditions?

Yes, SUVs are suitable for Indian road conditions. They have a higher ground clearance and are more capable of handling rough terrain.

Q. How do I determine the right car body type for my needs?

Consider your needs and budget when determining the right car body type for you. If you have a small family and need a fuel-efficient car, a hatchback may be a good option. If you need more space and off-road capability, an SUV may be a better choice.

Q. Can I modify the body type of my car?

Yes, you can modify the body type of your car. However, this is a complex and expensive process and could land you in trouble with the authorities. It is usually only done for show cars or racing cars.

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