We live in a world full of different kinds of vehicles. From submarine vessels to advanced spacecraft and everything in between, there is a wide variety of vehicles operating around us at all times, even when we don't know it.
These vehicles are byproducts of human engineering and technological progress. Whether it's for recreational purposes or deep-sea exploration, vehicles play a huge role in the world as we know it, so it's a worthwhile endeavor to learn more about them.
To help you better understand the vast array of motorized vehicles navigating the seas, roads, and air, we created a list of 31 types of vehicles you should know. This list will focus on motorized vehicles since they are most common. Without further ado, let's get into it!
Main Types Of Vehicles On Land
1. Cars And SUVs
Cars and SUVs are the most common vehicles on the road, and they have been for quite some time. The automobile was first invented in the late 19th century, and it quickly grew in popularity until it became the dominant means of transportation.
2. Pickup Trucks
The first pickup truck came on the scene in the 1920s as a means not only of transportation but of utility. The pickup truck was revolutionary in its own right because it enabled the commoner to transport relatively heavy cargo payloads. Pickup trucks are used to haul all kinds of loads.
The Ford F-150 is arguably the most notable pickup truck in history, and it currently holds the title of the most popular vehicle in the United States.
3. Big Trucks (Semis And Tankers)
Large trucks like semis and tankers were conceived in the late 19th century. These trucks were significantly improved over the next 50 years or so. They were designed to haul extremely heavy loads for logistical purposes. The semi-truck remains one of the most popular means of transport for a myriad of different goods.
Some of the most popular semi-truck manufacturers include Kenworth, Peterbilt, and Volvo.
4. Motorcycles And Scooters
Motorcycles and scooters are two-wheeled vehicles designed for speed (in the case of the motorcycle, at least), fun, and ease of maneuverability. The first motorcycle was invented in the late 19th century, and since then it has become a quite popular mode of individual transportation. The Kawasaki Z900 is a popular motorcycle model.
The scooter (commonly called a moped), is an adaptation of the classic two-wheeled design, and it was designed for individual transport within a local area.
Campers, RVs, and motorhomes are essentially houses on wheels. These vehicles allow you to take a home anywhere. They're commonly used for camping and cross country travel. The motorized camper was invented in the early 20th century, and the overall design has since been developed significantly. In fact, some modern RVs are more luxurious than some regular homes!
Some of the most common camper and RV manufacturers are Coachmen, Jayco, Airstream, and Winnebago.
The American railroad started to be developed in the early 19th century, and its inception radically transformed logistics and general transportation in the United States. The train and railroad provided more efficient routes for people traveling and freight being transported. Today the train remains the backbone of American logistics, and regional trains still provide people with a means of travel.
Some of the most well-known train companies in the United States include Amtrak, BNSF Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad.
7. ATV And Snowmobile
The ATV, or all-terrain vehicle, and the snowmobile are relatively small motorized vehicles that are designed for off-road or all-terrain travel. These vehicles are primarily used for recreational purposes, but both can certainly provide utility depending on the climate. As the name suggests, snowmobiles are designed to traverse snowy terrain.
Types Of Cars By Build And Body Type
The sedan is the most simple type of automobile found on the road. Sedans sit lower to the ground than SUVs and pickup trucks, and they typically have four doors. Sedans have long been the predominant means of automotive transport for families that simply need to get from one location to another. The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular sedans on the road today.
A coupe is similar to a sedan, except for the fact that coupes typically have two doors. As such, they are ideal for transporting one or two people. Before cars were invented, a coupe referred to a horse-drawn carriage with two seats. The Honda Civic is one of the most popular coupes.
Hatchbacks are similar to sedans and coupes, but where they differ is window height. Hatchbacks are designed with taller windows for increased visibility, and they also have a hatch-type rear opening, hence the name.
The Volkswagen Golf is an example of a common hatchback.
The SUV, or sport utility vehicle, was conceived in the 1930s by Chevrolet as a means of transporting a larger number of people along with some cargo. Since then, the SUV has been continuously developed, and it's now one of the most common vehicle types on the road. As its name suggests, SUVs provide a lot of utility due to their cargo payload capacity and the number of seats.
Some of the most popular SUVs include the Chevrolet Suburban and the Ford Expedition.
A crossover is essentially a cross between a smaller passenger car and an SUV. Thus, crossovers have many of the driving characteristics of smaller passenger cars but with a bit more power, storage space, and payload capacity. A crossover vehicle is built on a car's platform.
The Chevrolet Equinox and Jeep Cherokee are two of the most popular crossovers.
6. Pickup Truck (Full-Size And Mid-Size)
The pickup truck is characterized by its larger and sturdier chassis. Pickup trucks also have a bed that is used to haul different loads. The pickup truck is one of the most popular vehicles on the road due to its increased utility. There are both 2-door and 4-door varieties.
The Ford F-150 is an example of a popular full-size pickup truck while the Toyota Tacoma is an example of a popular mid-size truck.
Minivans are larger vehicles designed first and foremost as a means of transporting a lot of people. A minivan can typically transport between 6 and 8 people. The hallmark feature of a minivan is the sliding side doors that enable passengers to easily enter and exit the vehicle. Minivans are perhaps the most popular vehicle for families with children. The Honda Odyssey is an example of a popular minivan.
A van is another large vehicle designed to transport a lot of people. Bigger vans like the Chevrolet Express can transport as much as 15 passengers. These types of vans can also be used as work vans for holding and transporting lots of equipment. Large vans have a big sturdy chassis that can support heavier loads.
The cabriolet, also referred to as a convertible, is a small vehicle that has a removable or retractable top. When the top is removed, the occupants can directly enjoy the sun, wind, and fresh air. There are 2-door and 4-door variants. Some vehicle models have both a standard version and a convertible version, such as the Ford Mustang.
Limousines are long luxury vehicles that are driven by a chauffeur. These vehicles are used to transport large groups of people to special events. There is a partition that separates the driver's compartment and the rest of the vehicle, so the occupants have a fair amount of privacy to socialize and hang out on the way to their special event. There are sedan and SUV limousine varieties.
A roadster is a two-seat vehicle with an open top. In other words, a roadster is essentially a convertible with two seats. Roadsters are also characterized by their sporty appearance. Roadsters are definitely made for sport. The Mazda MX-5 is an example of a popular roadster.
12. Sports Car (Supercar)
A sports car is built low to the ground and is designed for speed and performance. Sports cars typically only have two doors, and they have a long hood that covers the large engine underneath. The Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most popular sports cars.
13. Racing Car
Racing cars and sports cars have a similar build, but racing cars are generally built even lower to the ground for optimal aerodynamics and performance. These types of vehicles are primarily seen on the racetrack.
Most Types Of Aerial Vehicles
1. Airplane And Seaplane
The airplane is the most popular type of aircraft navigating the skies. Airplanes are characterized by their fixed wings. Airplanes are used to transport passengers and packages. The Boeing 737 is one of the most popular airplanes in the world.
Seaplanes are simply airplanes that have been outfitted to be able to land and take off from bodies of water. These planes look like airplanes with the addition of floats that are mounted underneath the fuselage. An example of a seaplane is the Beaver DHC-2.
Helicopters are characterized by their rotor systems. These rotor configurations vary depending on what the helicopter is used for. Most helicopters, like the Bell 407, have a standard rotor configuration that consists of a main overhead rotor and a tail rotor. The Boeing CH-47, on the other hand, is outfitted with a set of tandem overhead rotors for increased lifting capability.
3. Hot Air Balloon
The hot air balloon dates back to the late 18th century. The hot air balloon's design is fairly simple and has remained essentially the same over the years with the exception of the implementation of modern technology. Believe it or not, hot air balloons were utilized during the U.S. Civil War. Now, however, they are used for recreational purposes. There are even hot air balloon festivals hosted around the world.
4. Motorized Ultralight Vehicles (Motorized Parachutes And Paragliders)
Motorized ultralight vehicles, commonly referred to as paramotors, are simply a combination of a small engine and a parachute. Paramotorists sit in a small seat, and they use an engine-powered prop system and an overhead parachute to maneuver through the air. These aircraft are used for recreational purposes, and they have become quite popular over the last few years.
Spacecraft are extremely advanced vehicles designed to transport people and cargo from the earth into space. Historically, spacecraft have consisted of a shuttle attached to a pair of rockets. When the craft gets into space, the shuttle would separate from the rockets and would be piloted by the crew.
The SpaceX Dragon is a spacecraft that was recently used to carry astronauts into space. However, Dragon's design differed from that of previously used spacecraft.
Main Types Of Marine And Amphibious Vehicles
The boat is the most common type of watercraft. Boats float on top of the water and are powered by at least one motor. There are several different kinds of boats, but the most popular are the pontoon, speed boat, and schooner.
A pontoon is a relatively flat boat that sits on top of a set of floats. These boats have fairly large decks, so they are often used by larger groups for recreational purposes.
Speed boats are characterized by a sleek aerodynamic appearance and powerful engines. These boats are mostly used for water sports like tubing, water skiing, and wakeboarding.
Schooners are long and slender boats with sails and multiple masts. Schooners were designed for optimal performance in coastal winds.
Submarines are marine vessels designed to operate underwater. Military submarines are characterized by their long, slender, whale-like bodies and dark coloring. There are also smaller submarines that are designed for deep-sea exploration.
A hovercraft is an amphibious craft that can traverse water, land, and ice. Hovercraft use large fan-like blowers to propel them, and they essentially glide over the surface of what's beneath them. Hovercraft have an inflatable skirt around the hull that enables them to glide over all kinds of terrain without sustaining damage.
4. Jet Ski
A personal watercraft is a vessel that can seat one or two people. These watercraft are primarily used for recreational purposes in lakes, rivers, and coastal waters. These types of vehicles are commonly referred to as a Jet Ski, which is one of the most popular models that is made by Kawasaki.
A barge is a large, flat-bottomed boat used to transport freight by way of rivers and canals. Barges vary in size, and they can be seen transporting a wide variety of materials. The Mississippi River in the United States is a popular thoroughfare for barges.
A catamaran is characterized by its two large parallel hulls separated by a deck. Catamarans are highly efficient watercraft, and they vary in size. These boats are used for all kinds of things, from shipping to recreation.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand the different types of motorized vehicles. Before you go, be sure to check out these other helpful vehicle guides: