Glossary to's Search Classifications

Glossary to's Search Classifications

What to Know When Searching for a Vehicle on CarSoup.comShopping for a new car is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming! To make the process easier for you, put together this helpful categorical guide to help you find the car that perfectly suits your needs.


2-Door Coupes: Traditionally, a sporty hard-top car with two doors. It used to be a fancy two-syllable French word – coupe – until the Beach Boys Americanized the pronunciation in their 1963 hit, “Little Deuce Coupe” Examples: Ford Mustang, Subaru BRZ, BMW 4-Series

4-Door Sedans: The stereotypical car with four doors, a hard top and a conventional trunk. It seats 4 to 5 people, and is generally larger than a coupe. Examples: Hyundai Elantra, Buick Lacrosse, Audi A6

  • Subcompact: Smaller than a compact, typically less than 165 inches (13 feet) in length. They’re extremely short and very light. Examples: Chevrolet Sonic, Fiat 500, Toyota Yaris

  • Compact (Car): This used to be a euphemism for “small” until they came out with even smaller cars. It’s between a subcompact and a mid-size car, and the EPA defines it as between 100 cubic feet and 109 cubic feet of combined passenger and cargo capacity. Examples: Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze, Volkswagen Golf

  • Mid-size: The most popular size car in America, larger than a compact but smaller than a full-size. Their total length tends to be between 161 and 175 inches (about 13 to 14 feet). Examples: Mazda6, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord

  • Large (Car): The traditional large (full-size) American car designed to carry five to six people and their luggage comfortably. Lengths can range from 197 to 211 inches (roughly 16 to 17 feet). Examples: Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Chrysler 300.

Convertibles: An open top car that dates back to the early origins of the automobile. Today, convertibles come in either a soft top, or a retractable metal roof, seating two to five people, depending on how many seats are available. Examples: Porsche Boxster, Mazda Miata, Chevrolet Camaro

Wagons: Named after its function of transporting people and luggage from train stations, the station wagon is a sedan with an elongated roof that extends to the rear of the vehicle. The cargo area is shared with the passenger space, and is approached via a tailgate. Examples: Subaru Outback, Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, Volvo XC70

SUV (Crossover): A Sports Utility Vehicle is a station wagon body on a light truck frame, often capable of off-road driving with four-wheel drive capacity. Originally modeled on the Jeep. Examples: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Land Cruiser, Chevrolet Suburban



Trucks: Three of the four best selling automobiles sold in America happen to be pickup trucks. Today’s pickup consists of a cab of two-to-four doors and bed installed onto a rigid frame. Trucks are not just used for work; they are also used for recreation – from towing campers to hauling ATVs in the bed. Examples: Ford F-150, GMC Sierra 2500HD, Nissan Frontier

  • Compact (Mid-sized Truck): Small pickup trucks that can handle light hauling and towing. Handles better on streets and highways, and typically gets better gas mileage than its big brothers. Examples: Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma

  • 1/2-Ton (Truck): Loosely refers to the amount of cargo a truck can carry. The name has stuck around, even though today’s “half-ton” trucks can safely carry more weight. Examples: GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra

  • Heavy Duty (Truck): Large and powerful pickup trucks weighing anywhere from 4,500 to more than 8,500 pounds. Examples: Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD, Ford F-Series Super Duty, Ram 2500 Heavy Duty

Minivan: Smaller than a van but taller and with more legroom than standard cars, minivans typically have three rows of seats and a sliding door. Epitomized by the 1960s Volkswagen microbuses, minivans are the legendary favorites of soccer moms. Examples: Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, Honda Odyssey

Full-Sized Vans: A shortened form of “caravan,” the original vans were covered wagons used in the Army. Now they are box-like vehicles used to carry goods or serve special purposes, such as an ambulance or mail truck. Examples: Chevrolet Express, Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV

Commercial Vehicle: This kind of vehicle is used strictly for work. They would range from a work-ready pickup to a cab-chassis medium-duty truck. Commercial vehicles require different licensing and registration, as slated by the state. Typical consumers range from small businesses run by single proprietors to major corporations managing fleets of thousands of vehicles. Examples: Ford F-450, Ram ProMaster, Isuzu NPR

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