Microcars to SUV Behemoths, and Everything in Between
When Raj was visiting Dubai for two days of intensive meetings, he needed a car to get around. A friend told him that a microcar would be his best option, since his need was for an urban runabout vehicle. Another friend recommended a standard sedan. A third told him that an SUV was the way to go, because, well, “you’re going to be in Dubai, dude!”.
A totally confused Raj finally called Carlease, explained his need to the agent, and settled for a sub-compact.
In their effort to tap newer and newer segments of potential car users, manufacturers have been slicing vehicle categories into numerous bits and pieces, not realizing that this has served mainly to confuse customers. Gone are the days when the only choice you had was between a standard sedan and a coupe.
In fact, there is nothing standard about the sedan anymore!
Vehicles are now categorized on the basis of shape and utility on the one hand (examples: hatchback, sedan, SUV) and by size on the other (such as compact, sub-compact, full-size). So the next time you feel the need to acquire a car the first thing to do is to take a look at the Carlease guide below and figure out the category in which you would like to be.
SHAPES AND USES
Most countries classify vehicles based on their shape, engine capacity, and number of wheels, the usage configuration, and other factors. They do this in order to understand how much tax to levy on any given vehicle. Microcar: These started life in the 1940s as “cycle cars”, because they usually had only three wheels. Even today, the “cycle” nomenclature digs these vehicles. For instance, the Renault Twizy is legally classified in Europe as a quadricycle. Slightly larger microcars include the Spark, the Picanto, and the Celerio.
This is the category of car which has a rear door that opens upward. Such cars typically come in a four-door configuration, excluding the rear door. However, two-door hatchbacks are not uncommon. Examples of four-door hatchbacks are the Kwid and i10, and the i20. Two-door hatchbacks include the Polo GTI and the Cooper S.
Sometimes referred to as the three-box construction – the engine compartment, the passenger cabin, and the trunk – the sedan is perhaps the longest serving popular car type, although it has faced serious challenges from the sport utility vehicle, or SUV, and the hatchback. Popular sedans include the Corolla and Camry, the Accord, and a hundred others.
This is the most difficult car category to define. In fact, more than an official category, it is a marketing term used to describe any vehicle that has features common to more than one established category. For instance, the BMW X6 is a cross between an SUV and a sports car, and actually leans more toward sportiness than toward utility. Others are a mix of SUV and hatchback, yet others blur the line between 4WD capability and sedan handling.
Emerging as one of the largest-selling category of cars, the sport utility vehicle, also referred to as SUV or sport-ute, has typical characteristics such as off-road capability, raised ground clearance, and a high seating stance and center of gravity. Manufacturers have been concentrating their production lines to produce more of these vehicles to meet demand. SUVs overtook other cars to become the world’s largest automotive segment in 2015, accounting for 22.9 percent of global light vehicle sales in that year, increasing to 36.8 percent of the world’s passenger car market in 2017. SUVs come in multiple sizes, from the Tucson to the Suburban.
From minivans – also referred to as multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) or multi-utility vehicles (MUVs) – such as the Carnival, the Sienna, and the Odyssey, to large vans like the H1, these are essentially people carriers with minimal other frills. With demand for these vehicles increasing in value-driven markets with large family sizes, manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, and Kia have started making these vehicles much more driver-friendly.
Coupe / cabriolet:
This is the most exciting category of cars. Coupes are sports cars with only two doors. Add a retractable roof, however, and it becomes a cabriolet, more commonly referred to as a convertible. With extremely limited seating or luggage space, low ground clearance, and ultra-powerful engines, coupes and cabriolets are firmly positioned in the performance variety of cars. Although they are production models, they often feature sporty characteristics like racing steering wheels, wind deflectors, and rear spoilers. From the Koenigsegg to the Lamborghini, from the Porsche to the Japanese ‘affordable’ options, there’s a coupe for every wallet.
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