The Info List - Car Classification

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Governments and private organizations have developed car classification schemes that are used for innumerable purposes including regulation, description and categorization, among others. This article details commonly used classification schemes in use worldwide.


1 Classification methods 2 Size and usage-based vehicle classification systems worldwide 3 Economy car

3.1 Microcar 3.2 Hatchbacks

3.2.1 Ultracompact car 3.2.2 City car 3.2.3 Supermini/subcompact car

3.3 Family car

3.3.1 Small family car/compact car 3.3.2 Large family / mid-size

4 Saloons / sedans

4.1 Large family / mid-size 4.2 Full size / large 4.3 Crossover SUV 4.4 Minivans / MPVs

5 Luxury vehicle

5.1 Compact executive 5.2 Executive/mid-luxury 5.3 Full-size luxury / Grand saloon 5.4 Estate cars / station wagons

6 Sports cars

6.1 Hot hatch 6.2 Sports saloon / sports sedan 6.3 Sports car 6.4 Grand tourer 6.5 Supercar 6.6 Muscle car 6.7 Pony car 6.8 Convertible

7 Off-roaders

7.1 Sport utility vehicle

8 Commercial vehicle

8.1 Van

9 Other car classification terms

9.1 Non-English terms

10 See also 11 References 12 External links

Classification methods[edit] Vehicles can be categorized in numerous ways. For example, by means of the body style and the "level of commonality in vehicle construction as defined by number of doors and roof treatment (e.g., sedan, convertible, fastback, hatchback) and number of seats" that require seat belts to meet safety regulations.[1] Regulatory agencies may also establish a vehicle classification system for determining a tax amount. In the United Kingdom, a vehicle is taxed according to the vehicle's construction, engine, weight, type of fuel and emissions, as well as the purpose for which it is used.[2] Other jurisdictions may determine vehicle tax based upon environmental principles, such as the user pays principle.[3] In another example, certain cities in the United States in the 1920s chose to exempt electric-powered vehicles because officials believed those vehicles did not cause "substantial wear upon the pavements".[4] Another standard for road vehicles of all types that is used internationally (except for Australia, India, and the U.S.) is ISO 3833-1977.[5] In an example from private enterprise, many car rental companies use the ACRISS Car Classification Code to describe the size, type and equipment of vehicles to ensure that rental agents can match customer needs to available vehicles, regardless of distance between the agent and the rental company or the languages spoken by either party. In the United States, since 2010 the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety uses a scheme it has developed that takes into account a combination of both vehicle shadow (length times width) and weight.[6]

US Highway
Loss Data Institute classification Definition

Regular Two Door Two door sedans and hatchbacks

Regular Four Door Four door sedans and hatchbacks

Station Wagons Four doors, a rear hatch and four pillars

Minivans Vans with sliding rear doors

Sports Two seaters and cars with significant high performance features

Luxury Relatively expensive cars that are not classified as sports (price in USD to curb weight in pounds more than 9.0 in 2010) (small cars over $27,000, midsize cars over $31,500, large cars over $36,000, etc.)

US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Loss Data Institute 'Guide to car size groups' (includes minivans)[7]

Shadow (square footage of exterior length × width)

Curb Weight 70 to 80 sq ft (6.5–7.4 m2) 81 to 90 sq ft (7.5–8.4 m2) 91 to 100 sq ft (8.5–9.3 m2) 101 to 110 sq ft (9.4–10.2 m2) >110 sq ft (10.2 m2)

2,001 to 2,500 lb (900–1,150 kg) Mini Small Small Small Midsize

2,501 to 3,000 lb (1,150–1,350 kg) Small Small Midsize Midsize Midsize

3,001 to 3,500 lb (1,350–1,600 kg) Small Midsize Midsize Large Large

3,501 to 4,000 lb (1,600–1,800 kg) Small Midsize Large Large Very Large

>4,000 lb (1,800 kg) Midsize Midsize Large Very Large Very Large

size groups[8]

curb weight

Mini <=3,000 lb (1,350 kg) and shadow <80 sq ft (7.4 m2)

Small 3,001 to 3,750 lb (1,350–1,700 kg)

Midsize 3,751 to 4,750 lb (1,700–2,150 kg)

Large 4,751 to 5,750 lb (2,150–2,600 kg)

Very large >5,750 lb (2,600 kg) or shadow >115 sq ft (10.7 m2)

The United States National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) separates vehicles into classes by the curb weight of the vehicle with standard equipment including the maximum capacity of fuel, oil, coolant, and air conditioning, if so equipped.[9]

US NHTSA classification Code Curb weight

Passenger cars: mini PC/Mi 1,500 to 1,999 lb (700–900 kg)

Passenger cars: light PC/L 2,000 to 2,499 lb (900–1,150 kg)

Passenger cars: compact PC/C 2,500 to 2,999 lb (1,150–1,350 kg)

Passenger cars: medium PC/Me 3,000 to 3,499 lb (1,350–1,600 kg)

Passenger cars: heavy PC/H 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) and over

Sport utility vehicles SUV –

Pickup trucks PU –

Vans VAN –

The United States Federal Highway Administration
Federal Highway Administration
has developed a classification scheme used for automatically calculating road use tolls. There are two broad categories depending on whether the vehicle carries passengers or commodities. Vehicles that carry commodities are further subdivided by number of axles and number of units, including both power and trailer units.[10] The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
(US EPA) has developed a classification scheme used to compare fuel economy among similar vehicles. Passenger vehicles are classified based on a vehicle's total interior passenger and cargo volumes. Trucks are classified based upon their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Heavy duty vehicles are not included within the EPA scheme.[11]

US EPA car class Total passenger and cargo volume (cu. ft.)

Two-seaters Any (designed to seat only two adults)

Minicompact Less than 85 cu ft (2,400 l)

Subcompact 85 to 99 cu ft (2,400–2,800 l)

Compact 100 to 109 cu ft (2,850–3,100 l)

Mid-size 110 to 119 cu ft (3,100–3,350 l)

Large 120 cu ft (3,400 l) or more

Small station wagons Less than 130 cu ft (3,700 l)

Mid-size station wagons 130 to 159 cu ft (3,700–4,500 l)

Large station wagons 160 cu ft (4,550 l) or more

A similar set of classes is used by the Canadian EPA.[12] The Canadian National Collision Database (NCDB) system defines "passenger car" as a unique class, but also identifies two other categories involving passenger vehicles—the "passenger van" and "light utility vehicle"—and these categories are inconsistently handled across the country with the boundaries between the vehicles increasingly blurred.[13] In Australia, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries publishes its own classifications.[14] Size and usage-based vehicle classification systems worldwide[edit] This is a summary table listing several different methods of vehicle classification.

Vehicle classification

view talk edit

Not well-defined / vernacular Defined by law or regulation Examples

Market segment (American English) Market segment (British English) Market segment (Australian English)[15] US EPA Size Class[16] Euro NCAP
Structural Category[17] Euro NCAP
Class (1997–2009) Euro Market Segment[18]

Microcar Microcar, Bubble car N/A N/A — Quadricycle A-segment
mini cars Bond Bug, Isetta, Mega City, Renault Twizy

Subcompact car Economy car City car Microcar Minicompact Passenger car Supermini Citroën C1, Fiat 500, Hyundai Eon, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Renault Twingo

Supermini Light car Subcompact B-segment
small cars Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Opel Corsa, Peugeot 208, Volkswagen Polo

Compact car Small family car Small car Compact Small family car C-segment
medium cars Honda Civic, Mazda3, Suzuki Ciaz, Renault Mégane, Toyota Corolla

Mid-size car Large family car Medium car Mid-size Large family car D-segment
large cars Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Peugeot 508, Subaru Legacy, Volkswagen Passat

Entry-level luxury car Compact executive car Medium car
Medium car
above $60,000 N/A Acura ILX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A4, Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Full-size car Executive car Large car Large Executive E-segment
executive cars Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Mazda Xedos 9, Hyundai Grandeur, Holden Commodore, first and second generation

Mid-size luxury car Large car
Large car
above $70,000 N/A Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac CTS, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Tesla Model S

Full-size luxury car Luxury car Upper large car above $100,000 N/A — F-segment
luxury cars BMW 7 Series, Lincoln Town Car, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte

Grand tourer Grand tourer Sports car N/A — S-segment
sports coupés Aston Martin DB9, Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari GTC4Lusso, Jaguar XK, Maserati GranTurismo

Supercar Supercar N/A — Bugatti Veyron, LaFerrari, Lamborghini Aventador, Pagani Zonda, Porsche 918 Spyder

Convertible Convertible N/A — BMW 6 Series, Chevrolet Camaro, Mercedes CLK, Volvo C70, Volkswagen Eos

Roadster Roadster Two-seater Roadster sports BMW Z4, Lotus Elise, Mazda MX-5, Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK

MPV N/A Minivan MPV Small MPV M-segment
multi purpose cars Citroen C3 Picasso, Ford B-Max, Opel Meriva, Fiat 500L

MPV Compact MPV People mover Chevrolet Orlando, Ford C-Max, Opel Zafira, Renault Scenic, Volkswagen Touran

Minivan Large MPV Large MPV Chrysler Town and Country, Kia Carnival, Citroën C4 Grand Picasso, Renault Espace, Toyota Sienna

van Van Van Cargo
van — Chevrolet Express 1500 Cargo, Fiat Ducato/Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit, Renault Master, Volkswagen Transporter

Passenger van Minibus People mover Passenger van — Chevrolet Express 1500 Passenger, Ford E350 Wagon, Mercedes-Benz Viano

SUV Mini
4x4 Small SUV Small sport utility vehicle Off-roader Small off-road 4x4 J-segment
sport utility cars (including off-road vehicles) Daihatsu Terios, Ford Ecosport, Jeep Renegade, Peugeot 2008, Suzuki Jimny

Compact SUV Compact SUV Medium SUV Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Jeep Cherokee, Kia Sportage

Mid-size SUV Large 4x4 Large SUV Standard sport utility vehicle Large off-road 4x4 Ford Expedition, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90

Full-size SUV Upper large SUV Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade, Toyota Land Cruiser

pickup truck Pick-up Ute Small Pickup truck Pickup Pick-up — Chevrolet Montana, Fiat Strada, Renault Duster Oroch, Volkswagen Saveiro

Mid-size pickup truck Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, Mitsubishi Triton/L200, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux

Full-size pickup truck Pickup Standard pickup truck Dodge Ram, Ford F-150, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra

Heavy duty pickup truck Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado
HD, Ram Heavy Duty, Ford Super Duty

purpose vehicle — Limousine Special
purpose vehicle — — — Lincoln MKT Livery

Economy car[edit] Main article: economy car Microcar[edit]


Main articles: Microcar
and Bubble car Straddling the boundary between car and motorbike, these vehicles have engines under 1.0 litre, typically seat only two passengers, and are sometimes unorthodox in construction. Some microcars are three-wheelers, while the majority have four wheels. Microcars were popular in post-war Europe, where their appearance led them to be called "Bubble cars". More recent microcars are often electric powered. Examples of microcars:

Isetta Smart Fortwo Tata Nano

Hatchbacks[edit] Main article: Hatchback Ultracompact car[edit]

This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (July 2013)

In 2012, Japan's Transport and Tourism
Ministry allowed local government to use ultracompact cars as transport for residents and tourists in their limiting areas. The size of ultracompact cars will be less than minicars, but have engine greater than 50cc displacement and able to transport 1 or 2 persons. Ultracompact cars cannot use minicars standard, because of strict safety standards for minicars. The regulation about running capacity and safety performance of ultracompact cars will be published in early autumn. Today, there are cars smaller than ultracompact cars, called category-1 motorized vehicles which it has 50cc displacement or less and only one seat for the driver.[19] City car[edit]

Citroën C1

Main articles: City car
City car
and Kei car A city car is a small automobile intended for use in urban areas. Unlike microcars, a city car's greater speed, capacity and (in perception at least) occupant protection are safer in mixed traffic environments and weather conditions. While city cars can reach highway speeds, that is not their intended use. In Japan, city cars are called kei cars.[20] Kei cars have to meet strict size and engine requirements: engines have a maximum displacement of 660 cc and the car's length must be under 3400 mm. Examples of kei cars:

Daihatsu Move Honda Life Suzuki Cervo

Examples of city cars:

Fiat Panda Maruti 800 Mini
(Original 1959 model)

Other small cars:

Carver One Citroën Type C Smith Flyer

Supermini/subcompact car[edit]

Renault Clio
Renault Clio

Main articles: Supermini
car and Subcompact car This class is known as supermini in the UK, subcompact in North America. Superminis have three, four or five doors, and even as an estate shape. They are designed to seat four passengers comfortably. Current supermini hatchbacks are approximately 3900 mm long, while saloons and estate cars are around 4200 mm long. Currently (2013) sedan variants are generally not available in Europe and are marketed at a lower price than hatchback models in North America. In Europe, the first superminis were the Fiat 500
Fiat 500
of 1957 and the Austin Mini
of 1959. Superminis can be premium cars, such as the Citroën DS3, named 2010 Car
of the Year by Top Gear Magazine. Superminis are some of the best selling vehicles in Europe with 25% of the market shares (2013). In 2007, the Peugeot 207
Peugeot 207
has been the most sold car in Europe, whereas the best seller is almost systematically a car from the compact segment. In Australia, the motoring press tends to distinguish between a light car such as the Daihatsu Charade
Daihatsu Charade
or early models of the Holden Barina, and slightly larger models such as the Ford Fiesta
Ford Fiesta
which is considered to be a small car. As the general size of vehicles in this class has gradually increased, the category of light car has almost disappeared. Examples of superminis/subcompact cars:

Opel Corsa Peugeot 208 Volkswagen Polo

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Superminis". Family car[edit] Main article: family car Small family car/compact car[edit]

Volkswagen Golf

Main article: Compact car Small family/compact cars refer to the hatchbacks and shortest saloons and estate cars with similar size. They are approximately 4,250 mm (167 in) long in case of hatchbacks and 4,500 mm (177 in) in the case of saloons and estate cars. Compact cars have room for five adults and usually have engines between 1.4 and 2.2 litres, but some have engines of up to 2.5 litres. Examples of hatchback small family cars/compact cars:

Peugeot 308 Toyota Auris Renault Megane

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Small Family Cars". In Australia, this class is generally referred to as being small-medium sized cars. Large family / mid-size[edit]

Citroën DS5

Main article: Mid-size car Traditionally, mid-size cars are sedans, but recently cars such as the Citroën DS5, which is a large hatchback family car, have introduced other body styles.[21]

Saloons / sedans[edit] Main article: Sedan (automobile) Large family / mid-size[edit]

Toyota Camry

Main article: Mid-size car A class described as "large family" in Europe and "mid-size" in the USA, these cars have room for five adults and a large trunk (boot). Engines are more powerful than small family/compact cars and six-cylinder engines are more common than in smaller cars. Car
sizes vary from region to region; in Europe, large family cars are rarely over 4,700 mm (15.4 ft) long, while in North America, Middle East and Australasia
they may be well over 4,800 mm (15.7 ft). Examples of large family cars/mid-size cars:

Chevrolet Malibu Ford Mondeo Kia Optima

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Large Family Cars". These are known in Australia as Medium sized cars. Full size / large[edit]

Holden Commodore

Main article: Full-size car This term is used most in North America, Middle East and Australia where it refers to the largest affordable sedans on the market. Full-size cars may be well over 4,900 mm (16.1 ft) long. Examples of full-size cars:

Dodge Charger Ford Falcon Toyota Avalon
Toyota Avalon

Crossover SUV[edit]

Mitsubishi Outlander

Main article: Crossover (automobile) Crossover SUVs are derived from an automobile platform using a monocoque construction with light off-road capability and lower ground clearance than SUVs. They may be styled similar to conventional "off-roaders", or may be look similar to an estate car or station wagon. Examples of crossover SUVs:

Chevrolet Equinox Nissan Qashqai Tata Aria

Minivans / MPVs[edit]

Renault Espace, one of the first true minivans

Ford C-Max, a compact MPV

Opel Meriva
Opel Meriva
a mini MPV

Main article: Minivan

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Also known as "people carriers", this class of cars combines a high-roof, five-door one- or two-box hatchback body configuration with a compact, mid-size or large car platform, engine and mechanicals; car-like handling and fuel economy; unibody construction; front-wheel or all-wheel drive and greater height than sedan or station wagon counterparts. The design offers higher h-point seating, two or three rows of seating, easy passenger and cargo access with sliding wide-opening rear doors and large rear hatch, and a re-configurable interior volume with seats that recline, slide, tumble, fold flat or allow easy removal—enabling users to reprioritize passenger and cargo volumes. Examples of mini MPVs:

Citroën C3 Picasso Ford B-Max Nissan Note

Examples of compact MPVs:

Opel Zafira
Opel Zafira
Tourer Peugeot 5008 Renault Scénic

Both categories are equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Small MPVs". Examples of large MPVs / minivans:

Dodge Caravan Ford S-Max Mazda5

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "MPVs". Luxury vehicle[edit] Main article: Luxury vehicle Compact executive[edit]

Lexus IS

Main articles: Compact executive car
Compact executive car
and D-segment These are luxurious equivalents to mid-size and compact cars. Rear seat room and trunk space are smaller than executive cars simply because of their smaller overall size. Examples of compact premium cars/entry-level luxury cars:

Audi A4 BMW 3 Series Buick Regal

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Large Family Cars". Executive/mid-luxury[edit]

BMW 5 Series

Main articles: Executive car
Executive car
and E-segment These are luxurious equivalents to full-size cars. This also refers to the largest hatchbacks within the similar length in this class, such as the Porsche Panamera. Examples of executive cars/mid-luxury cars:

Peugeot 607 Jaguar XF MG Magnette

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Executive Cars". Full-size luxury / Grand saloon[edit]

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

See also: Luxury vehicle
Luxury vehicle
and F-segment Also known as full-size luxury cars, grand saloons, or premium large cars, while "Oberklasse" is used in Germany. Typically a four-door saloon (sedan). These are the most powerful saloons, with six, eight and twelve-cylinder engines and have more equipment than smaller models. Vehicles in this category include some of the models from the flagship lines of luxury car brands, such as Cadillac CT6,[23] Lincoln Town Car
and Maserati Quattroporte.[citation needed] Examples of grand saloons:

Audi A8 Lexus LS BMW 7 Series

Estate cars / station wagons[edit]

Peugeot 508
Peugeot 508

Main article: Station Wagon A station wagon (also known as an estate or estate car) is an automobile with a body style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door (the liftgate or tailgate), instead of a trunk lid. The body style transforms a standard three-box design into a two-box design—to include an A, B, and C-pillar, as well as a D-pillar. Station wagons can flexibly reconfigure their interior volume via fold-down rear seats to prioritize either passenger or cargo volume. Examples of estates/station wagons:

Hyundai i40
Hyundai i40
Tourer Jaguar XF Sportbrake Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz CLS
Shooting Brake

Sports cars[edit] Main article: Sports car Hot hatch[edit]

Peugeot 205 GTI crowned "The Greatest Ever Hot Hatch"[24]

Main article: Hot hatch A hot hatch is a high-performance hatchback, based on standard superminis or small family cars with improved performance, handling and styling. Hot hatches are very popular in Europe, where hatchbacks are by far the most common body style for this size of car. In North America, sport compacts are usually sold as saloons or coupés rather than hatchbacks. Examples of hot hatches:

Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen Golf
GTi Peugeot 205 GTi Fiat 500
Fiat 500

Sports saloon / sports sedan[edit]

Pontiac G8
Pontiac G8

Main article: Sports sedan These are high-performance versions of saloons. Sometimes originally homologated for production based motorsports (touring cars or rally cars) and like regular saloons, seats four or five people. Examples of sports saloons/sedans:

BMW M5 Mazdaspeed6/Mazda 6 MPS Dodge Charger

Examples of sport compact saloons/sedans:

Dodge SRT-4 Lotus Cortina Mitsubishi EVO

Sports car[edit]

Jaguar E-Type

Main article: Sports car The term "sports car" does not appear to have a clear definition.[25] It is commonly used to describe vehicles which prioritise acceleration and handling; however, some people claim it is also defined as a vehicle with two seats.[26] A Sports car
Sports car
(sportscar or sport car) is a small, usually two-seat, two-door automobile designed for spirited performance and nimble handling.[27] Sports cars may be spartan or luxurious but high maneuverability and minimum weight are requisite.[28] Examples of sports cars:

Chevrolet Corvette Mazda MX-5 Porsche 911

Grand tourer[edit]

Maserati GranTurismo

Main article: Grand tourer Larger, more powerful and heavier than sports cars, these vehicles typically have a FR layout
FR layout
and seating for four passengers (2+2). These are more expensive than sports cars but not as expensive as supercars. Grand Tourers encompass both luxury and high-performance. Some grand tourers are hand-built. Examples of grand tourers:

Aston Martin V8 Lexus SC300/400 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti


Lamborghini Countach

Main article: Supercar Supercar
is a term generally used for ultra-high-end exotic cars, whose performance is superior to that of its contemporaries. The proper application of the term is subjective and disputed, especially among enthusiasts.[citation needed] Examples of supercars:

McLaren P1 Koenigsegg Agera R Bugatti Veyron
Bugatti Veyron

Muscle car[edit]

1970 AMC The Machine

Main article: Muscle car The muscle car term generally refers to rear wheel drive mid-size cars with powerful V8 engines, typically manufactured in the U.S.[29][30] Some definitions limit it to two-door vehicles;[31] however, others include four-door body style versions.[32] Although opinions vary, it is generally accepted that classic muscle cars were produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[33][34][35][36] Muscle cars were also produced in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
South Africa
and other nations. Examples of American muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s:

Ford Torino Plymouth Road Runner Pontiac GTO

Examples of Australian muscle cars:

Ford Falcon Holden Monaro Valiant Charger

Pony car[edit]

1966 Ford Mustang

Main article: Pony car The pony car is a class of American Muscle car[37] automobile launched and inspired by the Ford Mustang
Ford Mustang
in 1964. It describes an affordable, compact, highly styled car with a sporty or performance-oriented image.[38][39] Examples of pony cars:

AMC Javelin Chevrolet Camaro Dodge Challenger


Full-sized convertible with its fabric covered top folded behind the rear seat

Main articles: Convertible
and Retractable hardtop A body design that features a flexibly operating roof for open or enclosed mode driving. Also known as a cabriolet or roadster (if a 2-seater). Historically, convertibles used folding roof structures with fabric or other flexible materials. Some designs have roofs made of metal or other stiff materials that retract into the body. Examples of cabriolets:

Mazda MX-5 Honda S2000 Volvo C70

Off-roaders[edit] Main article: four-wheel drive Off-road vehicles, or "off-roaders" are sometimes referred to as "four-wheel drives", "four by fours", or 4x4s — this can happen colloquially in cases where certain models or even an entire range does not possess four-wheel drive. Sport utility vehicle[edit]

Jeep Commander

Kia Sportage

Main articles: Sport utility vehicle
Sport utility vehicle
and compact sport utility vehicle Sport utility vehicles are off-road vehicles with four-wheel drive and true off-road capability. They most often feature high ground clearance and an upright, boxy body design. Sport Utilities are typically defined by a body on frame construction which offers more off-road capability but reduced on-road ride comfort and handling compared to a cross-over or car based utility vehicle. Examples of compact SUVs:

Land Rover Freelander Jeep Patriot Toyota FJ Cruiser

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Small Off-Roaders". Examples of SUVs:

Land Rover Discovery Mitsubishi Pajero Mahindra Scorpio

This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP
class "Large Off-Roaders". Commercial vehicle[edit] Main article: Commercial vehicle Van[edit]

American conversion van

Main article: Van In some countries, the term "van" can refer to a small panel van based on a passenger car design (often the estate model / station wagon); it also refers to light trucks, which themselves are sometimes based on SUVs or MPVs. (But note that those retaining seats and windows, while being larger and more utilitarian than MPVs, may be called "minibuses".) The term is also used in the term "camper van" (or just "camper") — equivalent to a North American recreational vehicle (RV). In the United States, the term "van" refers to vehicles that, like European minibuses, are even larger than large MPVs and are rarely seen being driven for domestic purposes — except for "conversion vans". These possess extremely large interior space and are often more intended for hauling cargo than people. Most vans use body-on-frame construction and are thus suitable for extensive modification and coachwork, known as conversion. Conversion vans are often quite luxurious, boasting comfortable seats, soft rides, built-in support for electronics such as television sets, and other amenities. The more elaborate conversion vans straddle the line between cars and recreational vehicles. Examples of North American "vans":

Dodge Ram
Dodge Ram
Van Ford E-Series GMC Savana

Examples of European "vans":

Ford Transit Volkswagen Transporter Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Examples of Japanese "vans"

Toyota Hiace Nissan NV

Other car classification terms[edit]

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Bakkie  A generic South African term for light pickup truck.[40]

Baquet refers to cars made in the early 1900s in Europe. Baquet means bath tub. These cars had two rows of raised seats similar to horse-drawn carriages. Baquets usually did not have front doors, a top, or windshield.[41]

Buggy A Buggy is an automobile with wheels that project beyond the vehicle body.[citation needed]

Cabrio coach Normally a two-door body design with special form of car roof, where a retractable textile cover amounts to a large sunroof.[42]

Coupé A 2-door, 2- or 4-seat car with a fixed roof. Its doors are often longer than those of an equivalent sedan and the rear passenger area smaller; the roof may also be low. In cases where the rear seats are very small and not intended for regular use it is called a 2+2 (pronounced "two plus two"). Originally, a coupé was required to have only one side window per side, but this consideration has not been used for many years. Occasionally seen as Fixed Head Coupé, or FHC, particularly when referring to a hardtop version of a convertible.

Combi Coupé A 2-door, 4-seat car with hatchback door at rear and, collapsible rear seats, resembling a fastback. The idea is to maximize the carrying capacity without bargaining on the performance.

utility A passenger-car derived vehicle with an integral exterior cargo area.

Crossover (or CUV) A loose marketing term to describe a vehicle that blends features of a SUV
with features of a car — especially forgoing the body on frame construction of the SUV
in favor of the car's unibody or monocoque construction. Crossovers usually borrow drivetrains and other parts from traditional cars in the same manufacturer's line. Crossovers typically employ an FF layout or an FF-based four-wheel drive layout with a transverse engine, rather than an FR layout
FR layout
or an FR-based 4WD layout with a longitudinal engine as is typically used on traditional truck-based SUVs.

Drop Head Coupé Often abbreviated to DHC. Generally a European term referring to a 2-door, 4 place automobile with a retractable canvas / cloth top with both a padded headliner and rollup windows (as opposed to side curtains).[citation needed]

Estate British name for a station wagon.

Fastback A design where the roof slopes at a smooth angle to the tail of the car, but the rear window does not open as a separate "door".

Flower Car in US, similar to ute in Australia, i.e. generic for Chevy El Camino, Ford Ranchero, GMC Sprint/Diablo, etc.[citation needed]

Hatchback Incorporates a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box design, the body style typically includes A, B and C-pillars, and may include a D-pillar.

Hardtop Originally a removable solid roof on a convertible; later, also a fixed-roof car whose doors have no fixed window frames, which is designed to resemble such a convertible (sometimes also called "Fixed Head Coupé", or FHC.)

Hearse A converted car (often a station wagon), light truck or minivan usually used to transport the dead. Often longer and heavier than the vehicle on which they are usually based. Can sometimes double up as an ambulance in some countries, such as the United States, especially in rural areas.

Kammback Originally, a car with a tapered rear that cuts off abruptly.

Landaulet A limousine with the passenger section covered by a convertible top.

Leisure activity vehicle A small van, generally related to a supermini, with a second or even a third seat row, and a large, tall boot.

Liftback A broad marketing term for a hatchback, which incorporates a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a top-hinged liftgate.

Limousine By definition, a chauffeur-driven car with a (normally glass-windowed) division between the front seats and the rear. In German, the term simply means a sedan.

Microvan Term for a boxy wagon-type of car that is smaller than a conventional minivan; often without rear sliding door(s). Examples are Citroën Picasso, Renault Scénic, Toyota Yaris Verso
Toyota Yaris Verso
or Mercedes-Benz A-Class. In Japan, this term is used for Kei car
Kei car
based vans.

Minibus Designed to carry fewer people than a full-size bus, generally up to 16 people in multiple rows of seats. Passenger access in normally via a sliding door on one side of the vehicle. One example of a van with a minibus version available is the Ford Transit.

MPV  Multi-purpose vehicle, a large car or small bus designed to be used on and off-road and easily convertible to facilitate loading of goods from facilitating carrying people.

Notchback A configuration where the third box of a three-box styling configuration is less pronounced — especially where the rear deck (third box) is short or where the rear window is upright.

People carrier
People carrier
or people mover European name to describe what is usually referred to in North America as a Minivan.

Phaeton  A Phaeton is a style of open car or carriage without proper weather protection for passengers.[citation needed]

Pickup truck
Pickup truck
(or pickup) A light-duty, open-bed truck.

Pillarless Usually a prefix to coupé, fastback, or hardtop; completely open at the sides when the windows are down, without a central pillar, e.g. the Sunbeam Rapier fastback coupé.

Ragtop Originally an open car like a roadster, but with a soft top (cloth top) that can be raised or lowered. Unlike a convertible, it had no roll-up side windows.[citation needed] Now often used as slang for a convertible.

Retractable Hardtop aka Coupé
convertible or Coupé
Cabriolet. A type of convertible forgoing a foldable textile roof in favor of a multi-segment rigid roof retracts into the lower bodywork.

Roadster Originally a two-seat open car with minimal weather protection — without top or side glass — though possibly with optional hard or soft top and side curtains (i.e., without roll-up glass windows). In modern usage, the term means simply a two-seat sports car convertible, a variation of spyder.

Sedan A car seating four or more with a fixed roof that is full-height up to the rear window. Known in British English
British English
as a saloon. Sedans can have 2 or 4-doors.

Sedan delivery North American term for a vehicle similar to a wagon but without side windows, similar to a panel truck but with two doors (one on each side), and one or two rear doors[citation needed]

Sport utility vehicle
Sport utility vehicle
(SUV) Derivative of a pickup truck or 4-wheel-drive vehicle, but with fully enclosed passenger cabin interior and carlike levels of interior equipment.

Spyder (or Spider) Similar to a roadster but originally with less weather protection.[citation needed]Nowadays it simply means a convertible with two seater only. The name comes from the old carriages with two seats and no roof, whose small central cabin and big wheels at the corners are reminiscent of a spider.[citation needed]

Shooting-brake Initially a vehicle used to carry shooting parties with their equipment and game; later used to describe custom-built wagons by high-end coachbuilders, subsequently synonymous with station wagon or estate; and in contemporary usage a three or five-door wagons combining features of a wagon and a coupé.

Station wagon A variant of a sedan/saloon, (also known as estate or estate car) or with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume; access at the back via a third or fifth door instead of a trunk lid; flexible configurations to vary passenger or cargo volume; and two or three rows of seating — in a two-box design with a A, B & C-pillar, as well as a D pillar.

T-top A derivative of the Targa top, called a T-bar roof, this fixed-roof design has two removable panels and retains a central narrow roof section along the front to back axis of the car (e.g. Toyota MR2
Toyota MR2
Mark I.)

Targa top A semi-convertible style used on some sports cars, featuring a fully removable hard top roof panel which leaves the A and B pillars in place on the car body.

Town car
Town car
(US) Essentially the inverse of the landaulet, a historical body style in which the front seats were open and the rear compartment closed, normally with a removable top to cover the front chauffeur's compartment. In Europe the style is also known as Sedanca de Ville, often shortened to Sedanca or de Ville. Note that the modern Lincoln Town Car
derives its name, but nothing else, from this style.

Ute A term used originally in Australia and New Zealand to describe usually two-wheel-drive, traditionally passenger vehicles with a cargo tray in the rear integrated with the passenger body; as opposed to a pickup whose cargo tray is not integrated with the passenger body.

Wagon delivery North American term (mainly U.S. and Canada). Similar to a sedan delivery, with four doors.[citation needed]

Van In North America
North America
"van" refers to a truck-based commercial vehicle of the wagon style, whether used for passenger or commercial use. Usually a van has no windows at the side rear (panel van), although for passenger use, side windows are included. In other parts of the world, 'van' denotes a passenger-based wagon with no rear side windows.

Non-English terms[edit] Some non- English language
English language
terms are familiar from their use on imported vehicles in English-speaking nations even though the terms have not been adopted into English.

Barchetta  Italian term for a roadster with no roof. The name, roughly "small boat", comes from an exclamation when the Ferrari 166MM Touring was shown. Berlina  Italian term for a sedan. Berline  French term for a sedan. Berlinetta  Italian term for a sport coupé. Break  French term for a station wagon. Camioneta  Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
term for a station wagon (specially in the state of Rio de Janeiro). Spanish term also used in Argentina and Uruguay. Carrinha  Portuguese term for a station wagon. Not used in Brazilian Portuguese. Espada  Portuguese nickname for a limousine (the same word for Sword – long piece of metal). Not used in Brazilian Portuguese. Furgoneta  Spanish and Polish term for a van, in the latter language almost always used in its diminutive form furgonetka. Furgão  Portuguese alternative term (less used) for a van. Used in Brazilian Portuguese, most often for vans but sometimes for panel van variants of passenger cars. Kombi  is a German abbreviation of "Kombinationswagen" (Combination Car) and it is German name for station wagon. Since Germany
is a major producer of cars for many European countries, the term Kombi in this meaning is also used in Swedish, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Hungarian, Spanish, Portuguese, Bulgarian.

In Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian kombi refers to a van. In Afrikaans and in Australia, Kombi is also used to refer to a Volkswagen Microbus. In Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay the word specifically refers to the VW Microbus.

Perua Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
term either designating a van (especially as spoken in the city of São Paulo) or a station wagon (in the city of Rio de Janeiro). Turismo  Spanish term for a sedan. Literally means tourism, used mostly in Latin American countries and Spain. Ijapa  Yoruba term for a two door car. Literally modeled after a Tortoise animal. Also refers to Volkswagen Beetle. Vagoneta  Bolivian Spanish Colloquial term for a station wagon (with o without SUV

See also[edit]

Classification Code Car
color Car safety
Car safety
and road safety Production vehicle Three-wheeler Truck classification Vehicle category Vehicle size class


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External links[edit]

classifications (unexplained)

v t e



By size

Microcar City car Kei Subcompact Supermini Family car Compact Mid-size Full-size


Hot rod Lead sled Lowrider Street rod T-bucket


Compact executive Executive Personal luxury car


Compact MPV Mini


Compact SUV Crossover SUV Mini


Grand tourer Hot hatch Muscle Pony Sport compact Supercar

Antique Classic Economy Leisure activity vehicle Ute Van Voiturette

Body styles

2+2 Baquet Barchetta Berlinetta Brougham Cabrio coach Cabriolet / Convertible Coupé Coupé
de Ville Coupé
utility Drophead coupe (Convertible) Fastback Hardtop Hatchback Landaulet Liftback Limousine Multi-stop truck Notchback Panel van Phaeton Pickup truck Quad coupé Retractable hardtop Roadster Runabout Saloon / Sedan Sedan delivery Sedanca de Ville ( Coupé
de Ville) Shooting-brake Spider / Spyder (Roadster) Station wagon Targa top Torpedo Touring car Town car
Town car
( Coupé
de Ville) T-top Vis-à-vis

Specialized vehicles

Amphibious Driverless (autonomous) Hearse Gyrocar Roadable aircraft Taxicab Tow truck


Alternative fuel Autogas Biodiesel Diesel Electric (battery NEV) Ethanol (E85) Fuel cell Gasoline / petrol (direct injection) Homogeneous charge compression ignition Hybrid (plug-in) Hydrogen Internal combustion Liquid nitrogen Steam

Drive wheels

Front-wheel Rear-wheel Two-wheel Four-wheel Six-wheel Eight-wheel Twelve-wheel

Engine position

Front Mid Rear

Layout (engine / drive)

Front / front   Front mid / front   Rear / front   Front / rear   Rear mid / rear   Rear / rear   Front / four-wheel   Mid / four-wheel   Rear / four-wheel 

Engine configuration (internal combustion)

Boxer Flat Four-stroke H-block Reciprocating Single-cylinder Straight Two-stroke V (Vee) W engine Wankel