Ultimate Car Buying Guide: All Car Features Explained


BHP, Torque, Cylinder Configuration, Kerb-Weight, and Wheelbase are all popular automobile terms that are likely new to you. Even if you are part of the remaining 10%, you are most likely unaware of the significance of these phrases. This is completely valid, because these phrases have no meaning in your life other than while you’re driving.

According to statistics, over 71 percent of auto commuters in India spend between 5 and 20 hours each week behind the wheel. Given the importance of driving in your everyday routine, knowing these words might be extremely beneficial. Apart from assisting you in selecting the appropriate vehicle for your needs, actual use of that information will enhance your skill, intuition, and overall driving ability. So, today, we’ll look at some of the most significant vehicle spec sheet phrases and see why they’re vital.

Dimensional Attributes

Car Features Explained


This is by far the simplest phrase on a car spec sheet to comprehend. Almost all of us will be able to deduce right away that this refers to the car’s overall length. It’s usually written in millimetres on the spec sheet. The length of the vehicle has a significant impact on its handling and stability. The car’s straight line stability improves as its length grows, but its turning agility declines. Keep in mind that increased length does not always imply more internal leg room.


The width, like the length, merely refers to the car’s measurements when measured cross-sectionally. Unlike length, increased width results in more interior space and more comfortable sitting, particularly for rear passengers. Aside from that, increasing the width enhances the straight line stability in the same way as increasing the length does. More width also implies more frontal area, which increases air resistance and slows down the total peak speed. It’s also measured in millimetres, and the spec sheet will typically state whether or not the mirrors are included.


The height of an automobile is defined as the distance between its lowest point (where the tyres make contact with the road) and the tallest point on the roof. Aside from headroom, the car’s height has a direct impact on the vehicle’s handling. A taller automobile will have a higher center of gravity, less down-force, and greater body-roll than a shorter car. As a result, when pushed into bends, a higher automobile will feel highly unsettled. This is why all sports vehicles have low-slung body structures that allow them to turn very quickly.


Now we’ll get into the more technical words found on the car’s specification sheet. The wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear wheel centers of the vehicle. Unlike length, the wheelbase may be utilized to estimate interior space. On straight roads, a car with a longer wheelbase will feel more grounded, but will go slower around curves. Shorter wheelbase vehicles will have better handling, but they will not feel as stable on the straights. These parameters are influenced by the wheelbase, which has a direct impact on turning radius, as we will see in the next paragraph.

Infotainment System

A touch screen LCD with a considerably decreased number of physical control buttons make up an infotainment system. Its features include music and movie playback, vehicle information, a live feed from the rear view camera, and even electronic route maps with GPS navigation.

Some systems also include connection functions that allow users to surf online or make phone calls without having to take their hands off the wheel.

It’s beneficial to have a basic understanding of the terms used by automobile manufacturers to describe their products. You’ll not only get more information, but you’ll also avoid the stress of being unsure of which automobile best matches your needs or appealing to your preferences. We hope you find this short instruction useful.

Cruise Control (Cruise Control)

Car Concept
The cruise control’s primary function is to allow the driver to configure the car to maintain a certain speed without having to press the accelerator pedal. With Adaptive Cruise Control, certain automobiles take it to the next level. This employs a radar and/or video system to detect traffic ahead and safely alter the vehicle’s speed.

Turning Radius

A car’s turning radius is a measure of its maneuverability and flickability. It is defined as the lowest diameter semi-circle that the automobile must make in order to accomplish a full U-Turn. The turning radius is largely determined by the car’s wheelbase, as we covered in the preceding paragraph. The turning radius is used to assess the vehicle’s manoeuvring skills. In congested areas, cars with a smaller turning radius will always be simpler to maneuver. Cars with a larger turning radius, on the other hand, may feel more clumsy in congested areas since they will need more room to complete any manoeuvre.

Boot Space

One of the more straightforward phrases on the automobile spec sheet is boot space. The boot space determines how much luggage may be stored in the car’s trunk. If your vehicle has split rear seats, the cargo capacity increases dramatically. Due to the lack of a designated boot area, hatchbacks and 5-seater SUVs frequently use this feature to increase their luggage storage capacity. The size of the boot is always expressed in litres.

Ground Clearance

Ground clearance is the distance between the lowest point of the automobile body (without the wheels) and a leveled ground surface underneath it. Ground clearance has a big impact on two things: off-road capabilities and handling. Naturally, with greater space between the ground and your car’s underbody, you’ll be able to handle larger obstacles without them colliding with the car’s base. Ground clearance, like height, has an impact on handling. Reduced ground clearance lowers your car’s height and reduces body roll, giving it better and more stable handling.

Kerb Weight

On the automobile spec sheet, kerb weight is a relatively basic yet sometimes misunderstood word. If you look at any car’s spec sheet or brochure, you’ll note that the weight is never stated separately; it’s either in kerb weight or gross weight. The kerb weight of an automobile is the weight of the vehicle without passengers or cargo. It considers all of the car’s components, as well as the nominal amounts of fuel and other fluids.

Engine Terminologies

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is a braking system that prevents wheels from locking up.
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is a braking system that prevents wheels from locking up.
An anti-lock braking system, or ABS, is a device that prevents your wheels from locking up when you brake forcefully, according to Auto Deal. You may feel a vibration in your brake pedal when this system engages, which is typical. This safety function helps prevent you from sliding on the road when you need to brake quickly.

Airbags are quick-inflating cushions that protect passengers in the event of a collision. In today’s automobiles, airbags are very much standard.


The dimensions of a vehicle refer to its length, width, height, and other characteristics. In a vehicle’s list of measurements, you’ll frequently discover statistics like wheelbase length, trunk and cargo capacity, ground clearance, and more. The dimensions of a vehicle simply tell you how large or tiny it is.

EBD, Or Electronic Brake Distribution

A vehicle’s anti-lock braking system includes an electronic brake distribution subsystem. Its function is to determine which wheels require the most braking power. An EBD system analyzes data such as traction, road conditions, and the vehicle’s weight distribution on the wheels, and sends braking force to the appropriate wheels based on this information.


The engine is what gives a car its power and allows it to move ahead. You’ll notice four sorts of engines while shopping for a car: gasoline, diesel, electric, and hybrid, which combines gasoline and electric power sources. There are several varieties of hybrid vehicles that employ various gasoline-electric systems. These are the sorts of fuel or energy that your vehicle’s engine utilizes to generate the power that propels it forward.

Engine Displacement

Engine displacement is a measurement of the volume of the engine’s cylinders, according to How Stuff Works. Cubic centimeters and liters are the units of measurement. Motorcycle engines are measured in cubic centimeters, or cc, whereas vehicle engines are measured in liters. Although the units are interchangeable, cubic centimeters are more accurate.

Here’s an example: The four cylinders of a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine each have 1.3 liters in capacity. The displacement of an engine determines how much horsepower and torque it can produce.


The power output of a vehicle’s engine is measured in horsepower. One horsepower is traditionally equivalent to the strength of one thoroughbred horse. One horsepower, to put it another way, is the amount of force required to lift 550 pounds one foot in one second.

Horsepower isn’t a single metric that indicates how powerful or competent a vehicle is. Torque, aerodynamics, gearing, engine displacement, and other elements are all taken into account when determining a vehicle’s real performance level and strength.

MPG, or Miles Per Gallon, is a unit of measurement for how efficient a vehicle is.
The miles-per-gallon rating of a car indicates how far it can drive on a single gallon of gas. This is a common element in affecting people’s car-buying decisions, but it should be viewed with caution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States tests automobiles to determine MPG ratings, but not in real-world situations. When you read phrases like ‘up to 30 MPG,’ keep in mind that the car may only get 30 miles per gallon in perfect conditions.

Drivetrain Type

Red Car
The drivetrain is the mechanism that transmits power from the transmission to the axles of the automobile. In today’s market, there are four main types of drivetrains: front wheel drive (FWD), rear wheel drive (RWD), all wheel drive (AWD), and four-wheel drive (AWD) (4WD). The names AWD and 4WD are confusing since power is transmitted to all four axles in both situations. The distinction is that AWD is permanently locked in this mode. 4WD is more often seen on tough SUVs and must be activated manually by the driver. If you become trapped in mud or slush when off-roading, you may use the 4WD mode to assist you get out.

Max Power

Torque’s sibling function is power. On the automobile spec sheet, the two major metrics evaluating engine performance are power and torque. Power and torque are both produced from the same mechanism in terms of physics. (Torque*RPM)/5252 equals power. The highest amount of power that the engine can produce at a given RPM is known as max power. When we talk about power, we’re talking about performance.

Engines built to produce a lot of power have a lot of peak speed, a lot of acceleration, and a lot of adrenaline. They may not have a lot of pulling power and may struggle with a lot of luggage or a large number of passengers. However, in normal circumstances, a car with greater horsepower will always be faster. Such vehicles will be at home in the higher RPM range, but not so much in the lower. Brake Horse Power (BHP) is a unit of measurement for power.


Torque is defined as the force utilized to spin the body to which it is applied, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Torque is a measure of a vehicle’s low-end power, or its capacity to compel your vehicle’s wheels to revolve. Torque is represented in Newton-meters, or N m, but it’s most commonly seen as pounds-per-foot. Diesel engines, on average, will produce more torque than their gasoline-powered equivalents.

Transmission Speeds

Each of the car transmission gears, like the gears on a bicycle, is designed for a certain speed and workload. You’ll need a lower gear if you’re traveling slowly or climbing a steep slope. Higher gears correspond to faster speeds. When a vehicle is described as having an eight-speed gearbox, it indicates it has eight speeds.

Every year, CVTs (continuously variable transmissions) become increasingly popular. There are no gears in these automated gearboxes. You may think of them as having a single gear that can adapt itself to handle all speeds.


The number of valves refers to the number of holes on the top of each cylinder that allow air to be introduced or exhaust gases to be removed. Almost all automobiles nowadays use a four-valve system (2 for intake and 2 for exhaust). 2 valve designs were highly popular in the previous decade, but they have almost totally been superseded by their current 4 valve counterparts. A few high-performance automobiles have 5-valve engines (3 intake and 2 exhaust).

Valvetrain Type

The alignment of the camshafts inside the engine head is referred to as the valvetrain. There are two types: SOHC (Single Overhead Camshaft) and DOHC (Double Overhead Camshaft) (Dual Overhead Camshafts). The intake and exhaust valves are both actuated by a single camshaft in a SOHC valvetrain. This is accomplished by using rocker arms that are connected to the valves on each side of the camshaft.

Two camshafts, one for the intake valves and the other for the exhaust valves, are used in a DOHC valvetrain. In general, a DOHC configuration is better than a SOHC configuration. The contact between the cam and the valves is direct in a DOHC, which improves accuracy, timing, and performance. A well adjusted SOHC valvetrain can perform as well as or better than a DOHC valvetrain, although in its most basic form, the DOHC is preferred.

Transmission Types

You’ll be able to pick between manual and automatic gearboxes in addition to speeds. When using a manual gearbox, you must shift through the gears by manually using the shifter and clutch pedal while braking and accelerating. These are more traditional systems that allow for more hands-on driving.

Automatic gearboxes take care of things for you, leaving you with only the accelerator and brake pedals to deal with. Automatic gearboxes are meant to make driving more comfortable by allowing for smoother shifting.


The wheelbase of a vehicle is the distance between the front and rear axles. The rods that connect to the centers of the wheels and turn them are known as axles. A longer wheelbase usually translates to a larger vehicle cabin, which provides greater interior space for passengers and luggage.


The time it takes a vehicle to accelerate from a standstill to 60 miles per hour is known as the zero-to-sixty time, abbreviated as 0-60. A 0-100 km/h measurement, which converts to 62 miles per hour, may be used in European automobiles.

You’ll be able to identify the difference between an excellent automobile and a bad one after you have a basic grasp of these words. Reading a car specifications page before starting your search for a new vehicle may save you time and money.

Chassis Terminologies

Front Suspension

We’ll start with the automobile spec sheet words for the chassis section in the last portion of this essay. The sort of spring and control arm arrangement on the car’s front wheels is referred to as the front suspension. The MacPherson Strut is the most common front suspension configuration.

Rear Suspension

The sort of spring and control system on the car’s rear wheels is referred to as the rear suspension. The Torsion Beam design is the most prevalent here.

Tyre Size

The tyre size merely refers to the tyre’s measurements. Understanding what the dimension implies, on the other hand, is something that few people are familiar with. The dimension is usually expressed as “Tyre Width in mm/Aspect Ratio-Rim Diameter in inches.” So, if the size is 245/55-R15, that indicates the tyre is 245 mm wide. The aspect ratio of 55 percent indicates that the side wall takes up 55 percent of the width. R-15 indicates that the steel/alloy rim is 15 inches in diameter.

Brakes (Type and Size)

Finally, we’ve come to the end of our list of automobile spec sheet terminology. The brakes section describes the kind and size of the car’s brakes. Drum and disc brakes are the two most common types of brakes. Drum brakes are the most basic sort, and they’re only available on lower-end C-segment and below automobiles.

Over the last 8-10 years, more technologically advanced disc brakes have gradually surpassed their less advanced equivalents, and they should be phased out shortly. The diameter of the brake is used to determine its size. The greater the diameter, the greater the stopping power.


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