Should help you understand what your dealer, or car geek friend, is banging on about!
4WD – Four wheel drive. Means the engine sends power to all four wheels, rather than just the front of back ones. Good for off-road cars, and for getting more grip. Also known as AWD (All wheel drive).
ABS – Anti-lock braking. An electronic system that stops the wheels skidding when you brake. Makes your car safer!
BHP – Brake horsepower. Tells you how much power the engine produces. The bigger the number, the more powerful the engine is.
CO2 – The nasty gas that spews out the back of your exhaust. The more CO2 your car emits, the more you’ll pay in road tax.
DSC – Dynamic Stability Control. Another electronic safety system. Helps prevent the car skidding.
DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox. A modern type of automatic gearbox, that is especially smooth and fast.
DVLA – The government organisation that deals with cars and drivers. Deals with road tax, licences and who owns what car. Often send you fines!
ESP – Electronic Stability Programme. Another electronic safety system that helps prevent skidding.
Ex-Demonstrator – A car that the dealership has been using for test drives, that is now for sale. They are usually fairly new, and will be cheaper than a brand new model. If you buy one, you will usually be classed as the first owner (the dealership won’t be classed as an owner).
Facelifted version – Car makers are constantly changing little things about their cars. A facelifted version means that certain areas of the car have been updated or improved, sometimes it's just visual changes.
FWD – Front wheel drive. Means the engine sends power to the front wheels.
Gearbox – The thing that changes gears! There are two broad types – Manual (where you change gears yourself), or Automatic (where the car does it for you). Car makers like to confuse people, by giving them their own special names!
Hybrid – A car with two different sources of engine power. Usually they have an electric engine and a petrol engine, and the power comes from either one, or both at the same time.
ICE – Not the cold stuff, but in-car entertainment. Basically the car’s music system, or if they’re showy, may include some TVs!
ISOFIX – Attatchment points for child seats. Isofix points make it safer to transport small kids around in baby, or child seats.
Keyless entry – A fancy system that means you don’t have to get your keys out your pocket to open or drive the car.
MPG – How many miles a car does per gallon of fuel. The higher the number, the less you’ll spend on fuel.
NCAP score – A EU safety rating program, that measure how safe new cars are. The overall scores are out of 5 stars. The higher the number of stars, the safer it will be in a crash.
Oversteer – When the back wheels start to slide (picture rally cars and you’ll get the drift).
Ride-Quality – How comfortable the car feels while driving. Poor ride quality might mean you feel the bumps in the road too much, making your journey less comfortable!
Road Tax – The tax you have to pay to the government for driving on the road. Prices are based on your car’s age, and how much CO2 it spews out.
Run-flat tyres – Tyres that can be driven for a short distance if they get a puncture. So save you having to change your tyre on the roadside. Some people reckon they make the ride quality uncomfortable though.
RWD – Rear wheel drive. Means that the engine sends power to the back wheels. Car geeks argue RWD cars are more fun to drive.
Supercharger – A part that makes more air go into the engine, which makes the car faster.
Tiptronic – The word some manufacturers use to describe their automatic gearbox.
Torque – Basically the pulling power of the car. The more torque the better the car acceleration will be. Not really worth looking at for car novices.
Turbo – A part fitted to engines that provides more power. A car with a turbo is referred to as ‘turbocharged’
Understeer – Describes when the front wheels start to slide off-course. Happens most in front wheel drive cars.
V5C – The DVLA document that proves who is the owner/keeper of the car.
V6/V8/V12 – Engines that have the cylinders arranged in a V-shape. The number refers to how many cylinders they are. Usually associated with performance cars. Fun!
VIN – Vehicle Identification Number. A unique number that is stamped in various points in each car. Helps identify stolen cars.
Wankel – A funny word. But also a type of engine that doesn’t use cylinders.
Xenon – A type of headlight which are brighter than usual headlights. Produce a blueish light.