Car Abbreviations Explained

Rebecca Ives

By: Rebecca Ives

There are so many terms that are shortened in the automotive industry it can often be confusing when buying a car. We have made a list to help you understand more about the car you are thinking of buying:

2WD (Two Wheel Drive) - This denotes that the car is driven by either the front or rear wheels.

4WD (Four Wheel Drive) or 4X4 – This is a mode that can be activated or de-activated for the vehicle to use all four wheels to power traction on the road. It is different to All Wheel Drive.

ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) – This safety feature allows the wheels on a vehicle to maintain traction on the road surface when the brakes are applied. It prevents the wheels from locking to avoid skidding.

AFS (Adaptive Front-light System) – When driving at night the front lights distribute light more accurately to improve the driver’s viewing distance according to the angle that the steering wheel is turned. It helps improve visibility when taking a corner.

APR (Annual Percentage Rate) – The interest charged on top of any money borrowed to pay for something, i.e. the car.

ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation) – Also known as traction control. This prevents wheel spin and aquaplaning when accelerating by increasing grip and stability. The engine power is briefly reduced so that the car can accelerate stably on slippery road surfaces.

AWD (All Wheel Drive) – All wheels are fed power to provide traction for the car to drive on the road surface.

BHP (Brake Horse Power) – This is a unit of power. It refers to how much power is available in an engine before losses caused by other parts of the car such as the gearbox.

CC (Cubic Centimetres) – This tells you how big the car’s engine is in cubic centimetres. For example the Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Pop Star has an 875cc engine.

CC (Cruise Control) – When activated, the cruise control of a vehicle allows you to maintain the same constant speed without using the accelerator pedal.

CC (Coupe Convertible) – A bodystyle featuring a low sloping roofline with 2 doors and a folding roof.

CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) – The carbon dioxide that a car emits is measured in grams per kilometre (g/km) and will affect the amount of road tax you pay for your vehicle.

CPU (Central Processing Unit) – A computer in the vehicle that controls electronics.

CVT (Continuously variable Transmission) – This is a type of automatic gearbox.

DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) – Many modern cars are fitted with a DAB Radio. They offer a larger range of stations than an analogue radio with much clearer sound quality.

DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) – A type of automatic gearbox.

DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) – Responsible for driver and vehicle records.

EBA (Electronic Brake Assist) – Technology within the braking system increases braking pressure when it senses an emergency, such as the brake being depressed in an emergency stop.

EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) – A vehicle safety feature that distributes the force needed to bring the vehicle to a halt. This is based on the idea that each wheel will not need the same amount of force to stop safely.

ESC (Electronic Stability Control) or ESP (Electronic Stability Program) – Part of the vehicle’s computerised system, it recognises and reduces the loss of traction to improve the stability of the car and prevent skidding.

Euro6 – All cars sold in the European Union must meet the Euro6 standards for exhaust emissions. This is the latest version of this directive, hence the 6, and the aim is to reduce harmful levels of exhaust emissions within the atmosphere.

EVA (Emergency Valve Assistance) – Mechanical assistance allowing you to brake fully in an emergency.

EV (Electric Vehicle) – A vehicle powered by electricity.

FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) – This regulator monitors and maintains the financial market to ensure that consumers are treated fairly. They regulate the conduct of financial services offered by the Stoneacre Motor Group.

FWD (Front Wheel Drive) - The engine power is sent to the front wheels of the vehicle to make the car move.

GMFV (Guaranteed Minimum Future Value) or MGFV (Minimum Guaranteed Future Value) – This is the expected value of the car at the end of your PCP finance contract. One of the options is to pay the GMFV, or balloon payment, so that you own the car.

HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist) – This helps you in emergency braking situations by boosting the brake pressure for as long as the brake pedal is depressed.

HP (Hire Purchase) – This type of finance means that once the financial agreement ends and all payments have been made you will own the car 100%.

HPI (Hire Purchase Inspection) – This is a company that checks the history of a vehicle. It includes information such as confirming the details you have match what is registered with the DVLA, if there is outstanding finance and if it has ever been written off in an incident.

ICE (In Car Entertainment) – Technologies such as a car stereo.

ISOFIX (International Standards Organisation Fix) – You may see this in reference to child safety seats. It means the anchoring system for the seat adheres to the safety and security standards set by this international organisation.

LED  (Light Emitting Diode) – Many modern cars have LED headlights as they offer a lower energy consumption and provide a brighter light than regular light bulbs.

LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) – An alternative fuel source used to power vehicles instead of petrol or Diesel. Your car must have an LPG engine for you to use this.

MOT (Ministry Of Transport) – An MOT test is an annual vehicle safety check to ensure your car is roadworthy and your exhaust emissions are as expected. An MOT test is required as part of the Road Traffic Act 1988 laws on vehicles over three years old.

MPG (Miles Per Gallon) – Miles Per Gallon is used to define a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. In other words, the more miles your car can cover per gallon of fuel, the more fuel efficient your car is. There are ways to improve your driving to make your fuel more efficient.

MPH (Miles Per Hour) A reference to speed and distance; essentially how fast your car can travel i.e. 60 mph refers to an average of 60 miles can be travelled within an hour.

MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) – This classification is used to describe cars that can carry up to seven people, offering either 2 or three rows of seats, and is also referred to as a people carrier.

MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung/Engine Drag Torque Control) – A preventative measure to stop wheels locking on slippery surfaces when braking.

NOX (Mono-nitrogen oxides) – This is a gas that is passed through the exhaust of the vehicle and into the atmosphere. The lower the amount of NOX produced, as a waste product of powering your car, the better for the environment.

OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) – This is part of the car’s computer and alerts you to issues with the vehicle through lights or messages on the dashboard panel.

OTR (On The Road) – This refers to the price of the vehicle including any other charges such as delivery, registration, road tax or fuel.

PAS (Power Assisted Steering) – Most modern cars are fitted with power steering. It assists the driver with the effort needed to turn the steering wheel.

PCH (Personal Contract Hire) – This is a type of finance available for those who are not interested in owning a car.

PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) - A type of flexible car finance with low monthly payments. The deposit on a PCP deal is usually around 10% of a car’s value and monthly payments are based on an annual mileage allowance. At the end of the contract there are various options on what to do next.

PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) –This type of car can be plugged in to certain types of electrical outlets in order to charge the battery that powers it.

PPM (Pence Per Mile) – With PCP finance your contract includes an annual maximum mileage. If you go over the mileage at the end of your contract this is the additional price you will have to pay per mile.

P/X (Part Exchange) – You can use your car as part-payment for a new one.

RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) – The number of times engine components rotate around a fixed point in one minute. This is sometimes referred to as ‘revs’.

RV (Residual Value) – The remaining value of the car once the finance contract ends.

RWD (Rear Wheel Drive) – Power is sent to the rear wheels of the vehicle to give traction on the road.

SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) – This is a classification of car and usually refers to a larger family or estate type car. Often they have four wheel drive.

TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) – A diesel engine that uses direct fuel injection and a turbocharger for a more economical fuel consumption and higher levels of torque.

VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) – This is also known as car tax and is paid when a vehicle is driven or parked on public roads.

VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) – Is a unique code used to identify a car. No two cars have the same number; each one is unique to that vehicle.