Auto Shopping Advice In Grand Rapids, Michigan

Types of Cars, Trucks and SUVs

Guide to car types

Convertibles Usually available as two-door passenger cars and SUVs, these commonly have a fabric top that folds down, but some sporty versions offer a removable or retractable hardtop. Advantages: A sporty appearance, usually good resale value, and open-air driving in warm, dry weather. Disadvantages: Bodies tend to twist and flex on rough roads. Interior noise is often high even with the top up. If the convertible has rear seats, access with the top up can be a chore. Without power assistance, putting the top up and down or removing and mounting a separate hardtop may be tedious. Some have a flexible plastic rear window that may crease or become cloudy. Trunk room is often more cramped than in an equivalent sedan. Convertibles are more expensive, more vulnerable to robbery, and costlier to insure.

Coupes These two-door models often are the sportier incarnation of a four-door “family” sedan. Advantages: Coupes normally have a sporty appearance with a roof that slopes low toward the rear. The suspension is often tuned for better handling. Disadvantages: The rear seats are often cramped and access to them can be a chore. The low roof often limits head room in the rear. The wide doors are often heavy and difficult to open all the way in tight parking spaces.

Hatchbacks These small or medium-sized cars have a trunk lid that’s all one piece with the back window. Advantages: A practical, versatile layout that maximizes cargo space and provides a large loading door through the rear. Usually cheaper than trunk-equipped counterparts. Disadvantages: The sloping roofline of some designs can limit head room in the rear. Interior noise levels may be higher than in a sedan, and the rear cargo area is not as secure as an enclosed, lockable trunk, though roll-out covers are often available to hide cargo from curious eyes.

Medium-sized sedans The biggest selling automobile segment, medium-sized sedans make a good choice for a family. Advantages: They’re usually roomy compared with small cars and should seat five in reasonable comfort. They’re often more powerful and better riding than a small car. Some specialty “sports sedans” may handle particularly well. Disadvantages: Some may seat only four people in comfort. Rear leg room can be tight. Towing is usually limited to light loads.

Large sedans These are usually long and wide, with powerful engines and fully equipped interiors. They’re a good choice as a family sedan. Advantages: Roomy and plush compared with smaller vehicles, these cars have a long wheelbase that helps provide a smooth ride. They’ll seat five with ease, sometimes six, and they’re the best choice among sedans for towing heavy loads. They can be relatively inexpensive to insure, and their weight and bulk may provide safety advantages in a collision. Disadvantages: Handling is often not very agile, and fuel economy is mediocre to poor. Parking can be more difficult than with smaller cars.

Luxury sedans These medium-sized-to-large cars are usually high-priced and often include a full complement of equipment. Advantages: Such cars usually, but not always, provide a luxurious ride–refined and quiet, with precise handling, comfortable seats, effortless power, all the latest features, and plush appointments. Disadvantages: These cars may cost two or three times as much as a non-luxury car. Besides being costly to buy, they’re costly to service and insure. Fuel economy may be poor and may require premium fuel.

Minivans These vehicles offer large interiors but are usually no longer than a medium-sized car. They are the most practical, utilitarian choice for moving lots of people or cargo. Advantages: Many have a car-like ride and are easy to drive. There’s seating for up to eight passengers and plenty of room for cargo, especially with the seats folded down or removed. Fuel economy is generally good, considering what they can carry. Some offer all-wheel drive. Disadvantages: Smaller vans can take lots of people, but not their luggage.

Pickup trucks These vehicles are primarily meant to haul cargo, not people, so it’s not surprising that most do not provide a car-like ride or good fuel economy. Newer crew-cab versions with four full-sized doors and two rows of regular-sized seats are addressing the people part of the equation, however. Pickups are sold in far more variations than sedans–with many engine choices, diverse bed lengths, and often several cab and door configurations. Advantages: They’re able to carry loads too high, bulky, or dirty for enclosed vehicles, and they’re good for towing. Four-wheel drive is usually available. Extended-cab versions offer three or four doors, as well as lockable cargo space and small seats behind the front seats. Disadvantages: Cargo in the pickup bed is unsecured and unprotected although a hard, fixed cap or tonneau cover can hide it from sight. Handling is often sluggish, the ride often uncomfortable. Rear-drive-only pickups can be difficult to control in wet or snowy conditions. Passenger accommodations are minimal. Fuel economy is often poor, particularly with larger trucks.

Sports cars and sporty cars This category includes true sports cars–two-seaters–and models such as coupes and hatchbacks that blend sportier performance, handling, and looks with more practical considerations. Advantages: Most have good acceleration and braking, plus nimble handling. Fuel economy ranges from excellent to poor. Disadvantages: The ride is often stiff and jarring. The cabin is usually noisy and cramped. They’re often expensive to buy, service, and insure. Practicality is sacrificed for a fun-to-drive attitude.

Sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) These are popular for their versatility, often blending all-weather-capable drivetrains, off-road prowess, and rugged or trendy styling with a wide range of people and cargo-carrying configurations. Advantages: SUVs give a high, commanding view of the road. All model lines offer four- or all-wheel-drive capability for optimum traction. The better ones have a car-like ride and are easy to maneuver in routine driving. Disadvantages: Many SUVs are costly to buy and maintain. Larger models can be ponderous and clumsy in emergency-driving situations and are more prone to rollovers than cars. A steep step-in height can make access difficult. Fuel economy is often poor.

Wagons These are usually four-door passenger cars with a long roof stretching to the rear of the car and a cargo area behind the rear seat. The rear opening is usually a tailgate with a window that can often open separately. Advantages: A wagon’s main appeal is its large, open cargo space. Some have accessory rear (third-row) seating, so the car can carry seven people in a pinch. A wagon usually rides and handles as well as its sedan counterpart. Disadvantages: Compared with minivans, their cargo space is quite limited, though often on par with an SUV’s. Accessory rear seating tends to be cramped, more suited for kids than adults.


© 2024 - Borgman Ford Mazda Grand Rapids News