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    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.






    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






    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

    J  Jalopy

    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

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