Confused by automotive phrases? We’re right here that can assist you decipher them


What determines an SUV, a crossover, a compact, a heavy-duty, and extra?

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You’re trying to purchase a automobile, so would you like a compact, midsize or full-size? A coupe, a crossover, sport-utility, or possibly a sports-exercise?

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There are lots of phrases, and typically it is determined by what the producer decides to name it. We’ll translate the phrases that can assist you decide what it’s you need to drive.

By the numbers

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An automaker can name its automobile just about no matter it needs, however there are classifications for gas financial system figures, decided by Pure Assets Canada (NRCan). This lets the company evaluate equivalently-sized autos for one of the best or worst gas financial system.

Toyota calls the C-HR a crossover, but Natural Resources Canada classifies it as a car.
Toyota calls the C-HR a crossover, however Pure Assets Canada classifies it as a automotive. Photograph by Toyota

Automobiles are rated by NRCan by their inside quantity, from mini-compact (fewer than 2,405 litres) by way of subcompact, compact, midsize, and full-size, which is 3,400 litres or bigger. Two-seaters and station wagons get their very own rankings. SUVs are thought of “mild vehicles,” and so are measured by their gross automobile weight (its weight plus the utmost weight of passengers and cargo it will probably carry), as pickup vehicles are. They’re divided into simply two classes, with “small” SUV at 2,722 kg or lighter; and “commonplace,” from 2,722 to 4,536 kg. Any SUV heavier than that’s exempt from testing.

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Turning the wheels

Entrance-wheel drive, or FWD, means the entrance wheels are powered. Rear-wheel drive, or RWD, means it’s the again ones.

All-wheel drive (AWD) means energy to each axles, as does four-wheel drive (4WD or 4×4), however the distinction isn’t all the time clear. Normally, AWD signifies an computerized system that you simply don’t have to have interaction, when you change a 4WD  into four-wheel when wanted, comparable to on a pickup truck. That stated, some automakers could label an AWD system as 4WD, particularly in the event that they need to make the automobile sound extra off-road rugged. Know which sort you’re getting before you purchase.

Door dedication

These of us at Driving.ca assume a sedan is a four-door, and a coupe is a two-door. However some automakers design a four-door with a raked roof and name it a coupe, or maybe “four-door coupe.”

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Although it has four doors, Mercedes-Benz calls the CLS a coupe.
Though it has 4 doorways, Mercedes-Benz calls the CLS a coupe. Photograph by Mercedes-Benz

And what a couple of “five-door”?  That’s what some automakers name their hatchbacks, counting the hatch as a door. Some have used “three-door” to explain a two-door hatchback – after which there was the Hyundai Veloster, with three actual doorways, and it was known as a coupe.

Sporty utility

SUV stands for sport utility automobile, though not all of them are sporty, and a few aren’t even all that utilitarian (however at the least they’re all autos). They’re often divided by measurement, and we’ve got some common examples of how it’s possible you’ll hear these autos described:

  • Subcompact SUV: Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V
  • Compact SUV: Hyundai Tucson, Nissan Rogue, Ford Escape
  • Midsize SUV: Subaru Ascent, Kia Sorento, Lexus RX
  • Full-size SUV: Chevrolet Suburan, BMW X7, Mercedes-Benz GLS

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Observe that we are saying common examples, as a result of it may be difficult. Most individuals classify them by their bodily measurement – however there’s no commonplace measurement for every class. NRCan truly considers the C-HR, CX-3, and HR-V to be vehicles, for the aim of gas score, however on their web sites, their producers listing them together with different SUVs.

A unique SUV?

Generally, as a substitute of SUV, you’ll see SAV. BMW makes use of it to imply Sports activities Exercise Automobile, whereas Hyundai calls its new Santa Cruz pickup a Sport Journey Automobile. It’s only a advertising deviation from the more-familiar SUV designation.

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What number of rows?

If an SUV is marketed as a three-row, then relying on how the seats are configured, it will probably maintain six, seven, or eight folks. “Captain’s chairs” means a second row of two separate seats, reasonably than a three-passenger bench seat. Most three-row SUVs are midsize or full-size.

The minivan

Their recognition has waned, however minivans are nonetheless one of the best at hauling folks and their stuff. All have three rows of seats, and their rear doorways slide again, reasonably than swing out as on an SUV. Minivans embody the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica and Grand Caravan, and Kia Carnival.

Crossing over

Presumably probably the most complicated time period is “crossover,” or CUV, for crossover utility automobile. It initially described an SUV-style automobile constructed on a unibody automotive platform, reasonably than these constructed on truck frames, such because the Lincoln Navigator.

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Subaru calls the Crosstrek a “compact crossover.”
Subaru calls the Crosstrek a “compact crossover.” Photograph by Subaru

Right this moment, automakers use whichever they like. A “crossover” often simply means a smaller SUV, particularly if it’s FWD as a substitute of AWD. After which it may be diced even finer, comparable to “subcompact crossover” or “compact CUV.”

What About Vehicles?

Full-size pickup vehicles are fashions just like the Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado. Midsize are vehicles just like the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, or GMC Canyon. The brand new Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are thought of to be compacts.

Ford uses “Super Duty” to designate its heavy-duty trucks.
Ford makes use of “Tremendous Obligation” to designate its heavy-duty vehicles. Photograph by Ford

Ford, GM, and Ram price their full-size vehicles by weight class. There’s “light-duty,” such because the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, or Ram 1500, all popularly often known as half-ton. The “heavy-duty” fashions are 250/2500 (often known as three-quarter-ton) and 350/3500 (one-ton). Ford calls these fashions “Tremendous Obligation,” and consists of an F-450 as effectively.

The heavy-duty vehicles have extra towing and payload capability, though they’re bodily the identical measurement as their corresponding half-ton siblings. The total-size Toyota Tundra is available in a single weight class and is taken into account light-duty.

The underside line for all autos: At all times ask for a full clarification earlier than you signal on the dotted line, as a result of what you assume must be getting won’t be what you get.

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