Which car fits your needs? This guide can help you narrow down your options.
Are you in the market to buy a used vehicle? Whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’re looking to replace your car or truck with something else, we can help. This guide can assist you when you’re searching for the right vehicle for your needs—so when it’s time for you to go shopping, you’ll be ready to delve into the process.
Here are some of the most common types of vehicles, including popular makes and models in each category. Happy hunting!
Sedans are popular because of their practicality and utility, and they’re a solid choice for people who don’t want to sacrifice style or break the bank. An average sedan has a full-sized trunk and seats five adults. They typically have four doors, and their engines tend to be more powerful than those found in compact cars. Some sedans that are very popular with CarMax customers include the Honda Civic, the Toyota Camry, and the Volkswagen Passat. Cars like these generally have good gas mileage, and a few models are even capable of towing small trailers.
Typically, more stylish and sportier than a sedan, coupes are great for buyers who want something that stands out on the road. A coupe generally has the same dimensions as its four-door sedan counterpart, but it sacrifices rear passenger space and sometimes a measure of comfort to make room for a larger engine, or to reduce the car’s overall size and weight. Some top coupes at CarMax are the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford Mustang, and the Dodge Challenger.
Hatchbacks are smaller cars known for their utility and style. But what makes a vehicle a hatchback is its rear door, which hinges at the roofline and lifts upward. Oftentimes, the rear seats can be folded down to provide additional trunk space. Some hatchbacks are two-door and others are four-door—the only defining feature is the way the trunk opens. Some popular hatchbacks at CarMax are the Ford Fiesta, the Volkswagen Golf, and the Toyota Prius.
Sometimes luxurious and usually sporty, convertibles provide an incomparable driving experience. Convertibles usually have more powerful engines and two doors, but they’re most notable for a roof that that can be removed or folded down inside the car, out of sight. The BMW 335i can come equipped with a retractable roof, and is fitted with four seats, keeping it practical. The Mercedes-Benz SL550 and Porsche Boxster are also popular sporty convertibles.
Sometimes confused with the larger SUV, crossovers are popular family vehicles because they combine the size and fuel efficiency of a sedan with the cargo and passenger space of an SUV. One main distinction between the two is that crossovers are generally made with a “unibody” structure, where the body and frame are constructed together as a single unit. As a rule, crossovers are generally smaller and can be more fuel efficient. They’re also popular for their luxury options, found in crossovers like the Acura MDX, the BMW X5, and the Infiniti JX35.
Luxury cars aren’t so easily defined, but they’re hard to miss when you see them on the street. They’re generally noted for their quality build materials, visually appealing features, and refined driving capabilities. And, you’ll typically find a powerful engine under the hood. They can be more expensive, and that’s because they’re designed to give you a lot for your money. A list of the most popular luxury cars at CarMax includes the BMW 328, the Infiniti G37, and the Chrysler 300.
Just as luxury cars can be hard to pin down, sports cars aren’t always easily defined, either. Sports cars are generally higher-performance vehicles that are capable of rapid acceleration and superior handling at higher speeds. They have two seats—or two seats plus a couple of smaller seats behind them that are best-suited for kids. Some popular sports cars on the road today are the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford Mustang, and the Chevrolet Corvette. All of these cars are designed with fun in mind; they’re made for drivers who seek to get the most from their driving experiences.
Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are the result of mixing the utility and capability of a pickup truck with the passenger capacity of a sedan. They’re large, usually equipped with a large cargo bay, and have at least some off-road capability.
Four-wheel drive and high ground clearance give SUVs the ability to tackle poor road conditions and rough terrain. Models differ in price and size, and they’re generally less fuel-efficient than smaller crossovers and sedans. However, they remain a popular family vehicle because of their ability to carry up to nine passengers, while still being able to haul a trailer, and have leftover cargo space. Any list of popular SUVs would include the Chevrolet Equinox, the Jeep Wrangler, and the Ford Explorer.
There are hybrid versions of many different vehicle types—sedans, coupes, crossovers, and even some trucks. Hybrids use a combination of fuel types, most commonly gasoline and electricity, to provide power. They operate at lower speeds and RPMs on an electric motor; the gas engine takes over when the vehicle requires more power. There’s usually a large improvement in gas mileage for hybrids, which is why they’ve become increasingly popular in the past few years. It’s not uncommon for hybrid cars to be able to achieve more than 40 miles per gallon on the highway. Hybrid-hunting CarMax customers often seek out the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata, and the Honda Civic.
Trucks—pickup trucks—are workhorses. Some trucks emphasize style and comfort, and others are known for their ruggedness and ability to haul lots of cargo over uneven terrain. All pickups have a separate cabin and a bed for carrying cargo. Some pickups have extended cabs, which are larger in order to carry more passengers. An extended-cab truck will have either a shorter bed or a longer overall length. These are typically more popular with families. The main differences among trucks are their overall size, engine power and hauling ability, and gas mileage. Three trucks that are popular with CarMax customers at the moment are the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and the Dodge Ram 1500.