A – Z of Car Jargon

Cars can be complex and the same goes for the terminology.

It is important to try to understand a vehicle’s credentials so here goes:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control

       Automated vehicle speed management system that identifies traffic ahead.

  • Appreciation

       The opposite of depreciation in the cars value.

  • AWD

       All Wheel drive, the power sent to all four wheels.

  • BHP

       Brake horsepower. Usually means the higher the cars BHP the higher it’s top speed & acceleration.

  • Cabriolet

       A vehicle fitted with a folding roof but often manufacturers use this to refer to any soft top, whilst others may use the term Convertible.

  • Coupe

       A two-door vehicle which has a fixed roof.

  • Depreciation

       A reduction in value of an asset over time

  • Dampers

       Component of a vehicles suspension system also known as “shock” absorbers.

  • Electronic Stability Control

       This helps combat under & over steer plus improves safety, individually applies the brake to one wheel if it detects a loss of steering.

  • E-Rev

       Extended range electric vehicle which uses an electric motor but able to use an internal combustion engine to generate power.

  • Estate

       An elongated (extended) vehicle body type.

  • EV

       Electric vehicle largely powered by an electric motor. This can cover all from E-Rev’s to Hybrids.

  • FSH

       Full-Service History.

  • Fuel Injection

       Where atomised fuel is applied to the combustion chamber of each cylinder.

  • FWD

       Front Wheel drive.

  • HP

       Horsepower - a unit of measurement of an engine’s work rate.

  • Hybrid

       Any vehicle which is powered by both a fuel engine & an electric one.

  • Immobiliser

       A safety device that prevents the engine starting or unless the correct key is used.

  • Kerb Weight

       The weight of a car with, fuel, oil & water plus passengers inside.

  • LED

       Light emitting diode (allows flow & current) with much less power than a standard filament bulb. Now widely used across many models.

  • List Price

       The cost of a car as it is driven off the forecourt, prior to any depreciation.

  • LWB

       Long Wheelbase, an extended version of an existing vehicle chassis.

  • Milometer

       A device in a vehicles dashboard that counts the total of miles driven.

  • Monocoque

       Structure type of most modern cars.

  • MPG

       Miles per Gallon – the number of miles a car can travel for every gallon of fuel.

  • PHEV

       Plug in Hybrid electric vehicle, using electric power.

  • Power Steering

       Steering assisted by hydraulic or electrical motor

  • PS

       Alternative measure of engine power to BHP

  • RWD

       Rear wheel drive power sent to rear wheels

  • Saloon

       Distinct body type comprising of three separate sections for, engine, passengers & cargo

  • SUV

       Sports utility vehicle refers to tall, large size with various off-road capabilities

  • Torque

       Twisting & turning force generated by the motor often shown in Newton metre (NM) number of revolutions per minute

  • Transmission

       Type of gear box fitted

  • VIN

       Vehicle ID number, a unique number designated to each individual car

  • Wheelbase

       Distance between the two middle points of the front & back wheels

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