Today's consumer has quite a few classes of cars to choose from than were available just a few years ago. This is both good AND bad news. It's easier to find a car that fits your specific needs, but at the same time the different categories may be difficult to understand. Here is an explanation of a few different classes of cars available on the current market. Choose the vehicle that's best fit for you and shop away. You may find more cars you like when you shop within a specific class of vehicles than you would otherwise.
- Luxury Cars - This is a traditional class of cars most people recognize. Luxury cars have been available as long as cars have been around. These cars offer more comfortable surroundings and options than standard cars and are usually larger than other vehicles. Usually luxury cars fall in brand-specific categories, meaning they are manufactured under nameplates that deal exclusively in this class of vehicles. Examples of luxury cars include most cars built by Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Cadillac and Lincoln.
- Full-Size Cars - Full-fusize cars include most sedans over 5000 pounds. These cars offer more room and tend to be more comfortable. They may be more suitable for people who have a hard time dealing with driving or getting in and out of the car. However, they tend to suffer a bit on fuel mileage, so they may not be a good option for someone who drives a lot or over long distances. Cars in this category include the Ford Grand Victoria and related Mercury Grand Marquis, as well as the Buick Lucerne, and Volkswagen Phaeton.
- Mid-size Cars - The mid-size car includes the most popular vehicles on the road today, including the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Taurus, Honda Accord, Chevy Impala and Malibu and many others. This class is known for its versatility, and fuel mileage. This class has improved drastically in recent years. They are a good fit for people with families.
- Sport Utility Vehicles/SUV's - This class of vehicles makes for a great people mover and family car. They are often times equipped with 4 wheel drive and have great off-road capability. They suffer on fuel mileage and often lack the reliability of other classes. Some examples are the Nissan Pathfinder, the Chevy Tahoe, or the Toyota 4 Runner. More compact SUVs include the Honda CRV and Ford Escape.
- Crossovers - This is a relatively new class of automobile that combines some of the advantages of the SUV with a few of the attributes of the smaller classes of vehicles. They often come equipped with 4 wheel drive, and usually have better ground clearance than normal cars, which gives them some limited off-road capability. Expect this class to have better fuel mileage than SUV's but lag behind the mid-size and compact models. They are also a great choice for families and people who want a vehicle with a little more room. Some examples are the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano.
- Trucks - Another class of Vehicle that has been around for a long time. Most people are well acquainted with pickups in general. They offer the best load-carrying capability and 4 wheel drive models tend to have the best off-road capabilities than vehicles in any other class. Available models include the best-selling Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado and the Toyota Tundra.
- Vans - The quintessential "Family Car." Minivans have been around since the 80's and full-size vans even longer. Minivans offer excellent safety ratings and are clearly a great option for families. Full-size vans are excellent load-carriers and make great work vehicles, especially for people that have cargo needing to be protected from the weather. Examples include the Hyundai Entourage, Ford Econoline, and Dodge Caravan.
- Green Cars - "Green Cars" comprise a very new class of vehicles that have emerged in the last few years. Green cars are notable for their low emissions and excellent fuel mileage. They use the newest fuel-saving technology like hybrid drivetrains and clean diesel. However, expect to pay a premium price for these new technologies. Examples include the Toyota Prius, Honda civic hybrid, and Ford Escape Hybrid.
Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each type of car and pick the class that fits you best.