This very interesting info about car classification defines clearly what are the characteristics and specification of each vehicle / car categories. Nowadays, there are so many type of cars and sometimes we got confused which category a car fall into. There is also a “crossover” which combines a few car categories to the shape characteristic of a car. Basically, there are categorised according to the size, the capacity, shape and engine performance.
Often we heard in Malaysia, car categories like Sedan, compact cars, supercars, MPV, Vans, SUV and Kei cars. Below are the definition of each categories.
CAR CATEGORY CLASSIFICATION – VEHICLE TYPE DEFINITION
Microcar and Bubble car Category / Segment
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”. A descendant of the microcar is the modern Smart Fortwo.
Examples of microcars: Isetta Messerschmitt microcar Subaru 360 Hatchbacks, saloons (sedans) and estate cars (station wagons)
City car and Kei car Category / Segment
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. 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 Ford Ka Citroën C1 Supermini/subcompact car
Supermini car and Subcompact car Category / Segment
This class is known as supermini in Europe, subcompact in North America. Superminis have three, four or five doors and 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.
Examples of superminis / subcompact cars: Ford Fiesta Opel Corsa Volkswagen Polo This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Superminis”. Small family car/compact car
Compact car Category / Segment
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. These are the most popular vehicles in most developed countries.
Examples of hatchback small family cars/compact cars: Ford Focus Toyota Corolla Volkswagen Golf 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 car/mid-size car
Large family car and Mid-size car Category / Segment
Large family/mid-size 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 4700 mm long, while in North America, Middle East and Australasia they may be well over 4800 mm.
Examples of large family cars/mid-size cars: Ford Mondeo Citroën C5 Toyota Camry This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Large Family Cars”. These are known in Australia as Medium sized cars. Full-size car/large car
Full-size car Category / Segment
Full-size cars may be well over 4900 mm long and are the roomiest vehicles.
Examples of full-size cars: Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger Ford Crown Victoria Toyota Avalon Compact executive car/entry-level luxury car
Compact executive car and D-segment Category / Segment
These are luxurious equivalents to mid-size and compact cars. Powerful four-, six- and even eight-cylinder engines are available, but rear seat room and trunk space are more reduced than in more common executive or luxury vehicles simply because of their smaller size and sport characteristics.
Examples of compact premium cars / entry-level luxury cars: BMW 3 Series Lexus IS Acura TSX This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Large Family Cars”.
Executive car/mid-luxury car Category / Segment
An executive car or mid-luxury car is larger than a large family car/mid-size car and a compact executive car/entry-level luxury car. They are usually very roomy, powerful and luxurious, making them more expensive than “standard” saloons. This also refers to the largest hatchbacks within the similar length in this class.
Examples of executive cars/mid-luxury cars: Audi A6 Jaguar XF Mercedes-Benz E Class This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Executive Cars”.
Full-size luxury car/Grand saloon Category / Segment
A full-size car is 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.
Examples of full-size cars: BMW 7 Series Lexus LS Mercedes-Benz S-Class This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Executive Cars”.
Hot hatch Category / Segment
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, and originated from the original Volkswagen Golf GTI. In North America, sport compacts are usually sold as saloons or coupés rather than hatchbacks. The hot hatches are now expanded to large family hatchbacks, and is called as large hot hatch as these are larger than small hot hatches.
Examples of hot hatches/sport compacts: Citroën Saxo VTR Honda Civic Type R Volkswagen Golf GTI Examples of large hot hatches: Saab 9-3 Viggen Ford Sierra RS Cosworth/XR4Ti Sports saloon / sports sedan
Sports sedan Category / Segment
These are high-performance versions of saloons. Sometimes originally homologated for production based motorsports (touring cars) and like regular saloons, seats four or five people.
Examples of sports saloons/sedans: BMW M5 Dodge Charger SRT-8 Ford Mondeo ST200 Opel Insignia OPC Examples of sport compact saloons/sedans: Dodge SRT-4 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Sports car Category / Segment
This small-size vehicle class combines performance and handling. Sometimes inspired by racing vehicles, this class ranges from lightweight derivatives such the Lotus Elise and “average consumer” focused models such as the Mazda MX-5, to heavier and more powerful models such as the Dodge Viper.
Examples of sports cars: Chevrolet Corvette MG T-type Porsche 911
Grand tourer Category / Segment
Larger, more powerful and heavier than sports cars, these vehicles typically have a FR layout and seating for four passengers (2+2). These are more expensive than sports cars but not as expensive as supercars. Some grand tourers are hand-built.
Examples of grand tourers: Aston Martin DB9 Lexus SC300/400 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
Supercar Category / Segment
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.
Examples of supercars: Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Ferrari Enzo Lamborghini Reventón Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Muscle car
Muscle car Category / Segment
The muscle car term refers to a variety of high-performance vehicles, mainly affordable 2-door rear wheel drive mid-size cars with powerful V8 engines, that were most often made in the United States. Although opinions vary, it is generally accepted that classic muscle cars were produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Muscle cars were also produced in Australia 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
Pony car Category / Segment
The pony car is a class of automobile launched and inspired by the Ford Mustang in 1964. It describes an affordable, compact, highly styled car with a sporty or performance-oriented image.
Examples of American pony cars (and some automotive journalists state that “Pony Cars are an expressly American creation. AMC Javelin Chevrolet Camaro Dodge Challenger
Convertible Category / Segment
Convertible and Retractable hardtop. A car that features a flexibly operating roof for open or enclosed mode driving. Also known as a cabriolet or roadster.
Examples of convertibles: Honda S2000 Volkswagen Eos Volvo C70
Off-roaders Category / Segment
Off-road vehicles, or “off-roaders” are sometimes referred to as “four-wheel drives”, “four by fours”, or 4x4s — this sometimes happens colloquially in cases where certain models or even an entire range does not possess four-wheel drive.
Sport utility vehicle Category / Segment
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 SUVs: Land Rover Discovery Jeep Grand Cherokee This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Large Off-Roaders”.
Crossover SUV Category / Segment
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: BMW X5 Chevrolet Equinox Lexus RX This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Small Off-Roaders”.
Multi-purpose vehicles / Minivans Category / Segment
Also known as “people carriers”, this class of cars resembles tall estate cars. Larger MPVs may have seating for up to eight passengers. (Beyond that size, similar vehicles tend to be derived from vans (see below) and in Europe are called minibuses.) Being taller than a family car improves visibility for the driver (while reducing visibility for other road users) and may help access for the elderly or disabled. They also offer more seats and increased load capacity than hatchbacks or estate cars.
Examples of mini MPVs: Daihatsu Grand Move Citroën C3 Picasso Opel/Vauxhall Meriva
Examples of compact MPVs: Chrysler PT Cruiser Fiat Multipla Ford C-MAX Both categories are equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “Small MPVs”.
Examples of large MPVs / minivans: Chrysler Voyager Ford Galaxy Toyota Sienna This category is equivalent to the EuroNCAP class “MPVs”. Van, camper, RV, minibus etc.
Van Category / Segment
Interior of above conversion van, showing large interior area (Seating removed for clarity) 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 Van Ford E-Series GMC Savana
CAR CATEGORY LISTS
A ACRISS Car Classification Code Aero-engined Armored car (VIP)
B Barn find Bike-engined car Bubble car
C Cab over Classic car Compact car Compact executive car Compact MPV Compact SUV Compressed air car Compressed-air vehicle Coupé Cyclecar
E Econobox Economy car Econosport Euro Car Segment Executive car
F Family car Fleet vehicle Full size van
G Gas-guzzler Girl car
G cont. Grand tourer Grand Tourer Injection Gyrocar
H Hatchback High-performance vehicle Hot hatch
I Indonesian car
K Kei car Kei truck
L Landyacht Large family car Leisure activity vehicle Lemon (automobile) Light car Light truck Limousine Liquid nitrogen vehicle Low-speed vehicle Luxury vehicle
M Microcar Microvan Mid-size car Mini SUV Minivan Muscle car
N Neoclassic (automobile) Nonroad vehicle
O Official state car
O cont. Old man’s car Orphan (car)
P Personal luxury car Pickup truck Pony car Professional car
R Roadster Rocket car Royal Dutch State Limousine
S Safety car Sedan (automobile) Shitbox Short Commute Vehicle Show car Spectacle lift Sport utility vehicle Station wagon Supercar Supermini
T Tilting car Truck classification Tuner (car)
V Van Glider (automobiles) Vehicle size class Vintage car Voiturette