Vehicle Body Types

The automotive market in the Philippines offers you a diverse selection of vehicles. There are many car body types available in the market today, and choosing which one best suits you and your family’s needs can be a difficult task. This is why we created a quick guide to help you understand what the basic vehicle body types are, and which ones best fit your needs.

An important part of understanding vehicle body types is understanding the box designs. This does not pertain to the actual exterior design of the vehicle itself, but refers to the way the vehicle is laid out in terms of its compartments. As it stands, there are only two “box designs” available in the Philippine market, the three-box design and the two-box design.

A three-box design means that a vehicle has three separate compartments available/ These are usually filled up by the engine in one, the cabin area in another, and finally the cargo compartment.

A two-box design, on the other hand, means that the vehicle is divided into two compartments. One for the engine and one for the cabin. Something to take note of is that one “box” will always be taken up by the engine and another will always be taken by the cabin.  Now onto the guide itself.

2021 Toyota Wigo TRDS yellow

The hatchback is a two-box design vehicle, this means that the cabin area has been integrated with the cargo area. This also means that the vehicle does not come with a trunk, instead, it comes with a hatch that gives access to the cargo area inside the cabin, hence the name hatchback.

Often marketed as city cars due to their compact form factors, these vehicles are ideal for those who want a nimble machine that can maneuver through tight spaces. As a common trait for hatchbacks in the Philippines, these are often equipped with small displacement and fuel-efficient engines to further give emphasis to their city-oriented designs. As such, these types of vehicles often come with attractive price tags to help entice those looking to get a small and affordable car. There are a few exceptions to this, however, in the form of the Honda Civic Type R and Hyundai Veloster, which are more oriented towards performance. 

That said, the humble hatchback is ideal for those looking for a fuel-efficient city car that is both easy to drive and is economical. Those looking for a little bit more power won’t be disappointed either, as there are performance models available in the local market. A popular example of a hatchback in the Philippines is the Toyota Wigo.

2021 Honda City 1.5 S CVT Philippines

The sedan is a three-box designed vehicle. This means that the vehicle has separate spaces for the engine, the cabin, and cargo.  These kinds of vehicles often come with a trunk to separate the interior space from the cargo space. Sedans also come with a 4-door and 5-seater layout to help distinguish them from the rest of the car body types.

Sedans come in multiple shapes and sizes along with different kinds of powerplants under the hood. While narrowing down which one suits you best boils down to your preferences, sedans are ideal for those who want a separate space to store their cargo while maintaining a spacious interior. An example of a sedan in the Philippines is the Honda City.

2017 Toyota GT86

Coupes take the two-box design of the hatchback but throw a little bit of sportiness into the mix. These types of cars often only have enough seating for two occupants inside the vehicle and give priority to the engine compartment instead. As these vehicles are often more performance-oriented, cabin and cargo space have been sacrificed in order to allow for bigger and stronger engines to be equipped.

For those after a more performance-oriented vehicle, the Coupe is an ideal fit. While space is limited, the handling and performance that these kinds of cars bring are better than what the normal sedan and hatchback can offer. Those looking for the thrill of driving will find it in the Coupe car body type. An example of a Coupe in the Philippines is the Toyota 86.

2020 Suzuki Ertiga

The Multi-Purpose Vehicle or MPV also takes the two-box design but gives it a more utilitarian flare. Unlike the other car body types, more emphasis has been given to the space of the cabin of the vehicle. This allows it to carry more passengers and to be easily adapted to almost any need. Where MPVs excel at is being a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, as it can do a little bit of everything. 

If you need it to carry cargo, simply fold the second and third-row seats. If you need it to be a people hauler, then keep the flip up the third-row seat and now you have seating for seven. If you want a mix of both passenger space and cargo flip the third-row seats down and now you have enough space. With many MPV options at affordable prices in the Philippines, those looking for a vehicle that can do a little bit of everything are spoiled for choice. An example of an MPV in the Philippines is the Suzuki Ertiga.

2020 Ford Everest

The Sport Utility Vehicle or SUV is a ladder frame vehicle that takes the flexibility of the MPV and throws off-road capabilities into the mix. While not all SUVs come with a 4x4 drivetrain, they do come with a high ground clearance which helps separate them from the rest of the body types. Helping distinguish an SUV from a crossover is the ladder frame chassis, this means that the suspension components of the vehicle are separate from the body, allowing for more flexibility off-road.

SUVs are ideal for those looking to get a 7-seater vehicle that can do a little bit of everything coupled with confidence-inspiring, high-ground clearance. Plus they often come with powerful turbo diesel engines that many Filipinos seem to enjoy. An example of a popular SUV in the Philippines is the Ford Everest.

2020 Geely Coolray Sport Orange Philippines

Want a hybrid between a sedan and an SUV? Then the crossover is your answer. This vehicle body type combines the great ride handling of a sedan or hatchback with the ground clearance and tougher looks of an SUV. Like its car-based counterparts, the crossover also comes with a two-box design, which means the vehicle only has two compartments, one for the engine and one for its occupants. 

Crossovers are ideal for those who want a little bit more ground clearance with their vehicle but also want a more pliant and comfortable ride. As the Philippine automotive market has recently experienced an increase in crossover models, there are plenty of options to choose from that can easily fit your budget. A popular example and newcomer to the crossover segment in the Philippines is the Geely Coolray.

2021 Isuzu D-MAX Philippines

For those looking to get a more utilitarian vehicle that can haul cargo and comfortably carry passengers, then the pickup truck is your go-to body type. Pickup trucks take on the three-box design but give more emphasis to the cargo area. This means that while the cabin area may be a little smaller than the other body types, the cargo-carrying capabilities of the vehicle have been increased. These types of vehicles often come with powerful diesel engines just like their SUV counterparts and are in numerous options available in the Philippine market. A recent addition to the segment is the venerable Isuzu D-MAX which recently received an all-new model.

2020 Hyundai Grand Starex

The Van body type takes on the two-box design but gives greater emphasis to the passenger compartment. These types of vehicles are designed to be people haulers, and as such, feature seating capacities of over 7. Vans also often come with powerful turbo diesel engines to help with the weight of the passengers. Further still, vans also usually come with utilitarian variants that are designed to carry cargo.

Vans are ideal for those looking to get a vehicle that can do a mix of both: haul people and carry cargo.  They come in different variants in the market that address these needs. A popular example of a van in the Philippines is the Hyundai Starex.

2019 Mitsubishi L300

Commercial vehicles take on the two-box design but combine the engine and cabin compartment into one. These vehicles often have their engines under the cabin to allow for more space at the rear for cargo. Like their Van, SUV, and Pickup truck counterparts, these vehicles are often equipped with powerful diesel engines that give them the torque needed to carry heavy loads. As such these vehicles are ideal for those who operate a business or are looking to buy a more utilitarian-focused vehicle that can be adapted to almost any role. A popular example of a commercial vehicle in the Philippines is the Mitsubishi L300 which has been a long-time favorite of Filipino buyers.

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