Vehicle size class
There are many ways of classifying cars. The common North American parlance is word-based (eg, compact car) while European writers typically use letters for sizes.
|United States||EuroNCAP||Euro size||Example|
|-||Supermini||A class||Fiat Panda|
|Subcompact||B class||Ford Fiesta|
|Compact||Small family car||C class||Ford Focus|
|Mid-size||Large family car||D class||Volkswagen Passat|
|Full-size||E class||Chrysler 300|
|Luxury||Executive car||F class||Mercedes-Benz S-Class|
|-||Small MPV||MIni MPV||Opel Meriva|
|-||Compact MPV||Renault Scénic|
|Minivan||MPV||Large MPV||Toyota Previa|
|Crossover SUV||Small Off-Roader||-||Honda CR-V|
|SUV||Large Off-Roader||-||Jeep Grand Cherokee|
|Car Class||Interior Volume||Modern example|
|Subcompact car||85-99||2400-2800||Hyundai Accent|
|Compact car||100-109||2800-3000||Ford Focus|
|Mid-size car||110-119||3000-3300||Chevrolet Malibu|
|Full-size car||>120||>3300||Lincoln Town Car|
Vehicle segments in Europe don't have formal characterization or regulations. Models are attributed a segment based on comparison to generalist brands models. For example, a car the size of a Volkswagen Golf would be its competitor. The VW Polo is smaller, so it belongs one segment below the Golf, while the bigger Passat is one segment above.
- The A segment, or city cars, describes hatchbacks about 330-360 cm in length, such as the Chevrolet Matiz or Fiat Panda.
- The B segment is for the cars generally known as superminis, like the Opel Corsa or Renault Clio, with size around 370-400 cm, although recent models have broken the 4 metre psychological barrier.
- The C segment, for small family cars, is the most competitive in Europe, absorbing the bulk of the sales, with cars measuring around 410-440 cm, and examples such as the Ford Focus, Opel Astra or Renault Megane.
- The D segment are the cars usually called large family cars, with length around 450-470 cm, the best examples being the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat, as well as more premium cars such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series.
- The E segment cars, usually known as executives, measure around 480-500 cm, with the Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class as examples. There are also "non-executive" cars in this category (sometimes dubbed "upper-medium class"), such as the Renault Vel Satis and Peugeot 607.
- The F segment is reserved for luxury cars over 5 meters in length, such as the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
MPVs are usually atributed to the B, C and D segments, according to the models they are based on. For example, the Opel Meriva belongs to the B segment (called mini MPVs), the Ford Focus C-MAX] is a C-segment car (a Compact MPV), and the Renault Espace corresponds to the D segment (large MPVs).
Off-road vehicles and SUVs are considered a segment apart from normal, as are light commercial vehicles. While classification is more confusing in this case, reporters use to compare different 4x4s the size, off-road capabilities and engine power.
High-performance sports cars and supercars are not part of a normal classification, due to their nature as overpriced exotic vehicles, although some coupés and cabriolets are based on regular models and included in the same segment as the base model.
For safety ratings, the EuroNCAP uses nine categories:
- Superminis (it includes city cars)
- Small family cars (also for stand-alone saloon superminis, like the Dacia Logan)
- Large family cars
- Executive cars (for expensive cars over 4.80m long)
- Small off-roaders (similar to the Northmerican crossover SUV category)
- Large off-roaders (similar to the Northmerican SUV category)
- Small MPVs (both mini MPVs and compact MPVs)
- Large MPVs