How to understand car adverts

Row of cars for sale with prices shown in the windscreen

Information about cars can be difficult to understand. Here are explanations of the most common descriptions:

  • 3dr: 3 door
  • 5dr: 5 door
  • 2×2: Two seats in the front, two small seats in the back
  • 4×4: 4-wheel drive
  • AC: Air conditioning
  • BHP: brake horsepower
  • DVLA: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
  • FSH: Full service history
  • HP: Hire purchase
  • HPI check: a vehicle history check. See
  • LPG: Liquid petroleum gas
  • MOT: An annual safety test
  • PCP: Personal Contract Purchase
  • PCH: Personal Contract Hire
  • PX or Part Ex or p/x: Part exchange. If you have a car already you can swap it for the new one (you might have to pay some money as well)
  • Spec: Specifications
  • Service: a general health check on the car, usually done once a year
  • Valet service: car cleaning
  • Valet parking: someone will park the car for you
  • VED: vehicle excise duty (vehicle tax)
  • VGC: very good condition
  • […]-reg: Shows the year the car was registered.
  • Write-off: A car that has so much damage it is not worth the insurance company paying for repairs. There are 4 categories:

 -CAT A (Category A): So badly damaged the car must be crushed.

-CAT B (Category B): The car must be crushed, but some parts can be reused.

CAT C (Category C): The old name for Category S.

CAT D (Category D): The old name for Category N.

– CAT N (Category N): There is damage that needs repair. This might be just cosmetic, or it might be a problem with the brakes or electrics.

-CAT S (Category S). The car is not safe until it has been professionally repaired.

  • Hatchback: A car with a big door to the boot
  • Coupe: 3-door car with 2 seats. It might have 2 small seats in the back as well (2×2)
  • Crossover: A mix between an SUV and a hatchback
  • Saloon: The boot is separate from the seating area
  • Estate: Like a hatchback with a very big boot
  • Convertible: Has a folding roof
  • MPV: Has 5 or 7 seats, and large luggage space. Sometimes 4-wheel drive
  • SUV: sports utility vehicle. Usually 4-wheel drive

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