The Confused Buyer’s Guide to Car Classifications
Some people don’t put much thought about cars. For them, as long as they have a good set of wheels and tires, seat passengers comfortably, and take you from A to B safely, then all is well with the world. But the truth is, there’s more to cars than just how they look and how they perform. There are many different types of cars, and knowing the different classifications can help you get the most of your purchase and enjoy a better driving experience.
If you want to know where your car is classified under, or find out which type is most suitable for you, then let this be your guide.
The smallest automobile classification, microcars or bubble cars are compact, small-engined cars designed to be used in large cities where space is often an issue. They are the perfect choice for those who are looking for cheap yet efficient transportation. Microcars usually have three or four wheels, 500cc engines, and derive their mechanics from motorcycle technology.
Notable microcars include Ford’s Think Nordic, Fiat 500 and Fiat 600, and the Tata Nano which is commonly used in East Asia and Europe.
Hatchbacks, also known as city cars, are designed for all-around performance for the regular, working person. Cars that fall in this category have engine displacement above 50cc and are so called because they feature a door that provides access to the cargo area. Some hatchbacks have 3 doors, or 2 entry doors and the hatch, and 5 doors, or 4 entry doors plus the hatch.
While you’re not going to turn any heads while cruising along with a hatchback, you’re guaranteed that you can reach your destination efficiently and safely since hatchbacks are built to last with efficiency and safety in mind. Hatchbacks are the most commonly driven automobiles today.
Popular hatchbacks include Ford Fiesta, Chevy Sonic, Subaru Impreza, and the MINI 5-door.
Although station wagons feature the same two-box configuration, flexible interior volume for passengers and luggage, and a door for rear access like hatchbacks, what differentiates the former from the latter is that it has larger cargo areas and features two or three rows of seats which can be comfortably folded to make more room. Station wagons or estate cars got their name because of their usage—they are commonly used as modes of transportation to country estates and train stations.
Popular station wagons include the Peugeot 508 RXH, Cadillac CTS, Audi A4, and the 2007 Ford Focus.
Designed for spirited performance, fast acceleration, and superior handling, sports cars are the ultimate eye candy in the world of automobiles. They are usually small, with two doors that provide entry to only a limited number of passengers—often the driver and one passenger.
Common examples of sports cars include those featured in the Fast and Furious film franchise: Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan Skyline GT-R, Mitsubushi Lancer Evolution VII, and the Mazda RX-7.
Vehicles in this category are quite literally meant to go off a more rugged terrain. They are also often referred to as four-by-fours although some vehicles don’t have four-wheel drive. SUVs fall under this category, and further split into large and small off-roaders.
Some examples include the Toyota Land Cruiser, Ford Raptor, Chevy Colorado Z/71, and the Mercedes Benz G-500.