Decoding New Car Jargon: Common Motoring Terms and Answers to Your Questions

Published Date: 23rd Feb 2023

Here is a list of the top 20 car-related car jargon terms that UK Car Discount customers discuss with us or search for when buying their new car, along with an explanation of what each term means:


  1. Image of new Car Parts on ShelvesMPG (Miles Per Gallon) - This is a measurement of a car's fuel efficiency, representing the number of miles a car can travel on a gallon of fuel. A higher MPG means that a car is more fuel efficient, and can save money on fuel costs.
  2. BHP (Brake Horsepower) - This is a measurement of a car's engine power, representing the maximum amount of power that the engine can produce. A higher BHP means that a car has more power and can accelerate more quickly.
  3. Torque - This is a measurement of a car's pulling power, representing the force that the engine can generate to move the car. A higher torque means that a car can accelerate more quickly and tow heavier loads.
  4. CO2 emissions - This is a measurement of the amount of carbon dioxide that a car produces, and is an important factor in determining a car's environmental impact. Lower CO2 emissions mean that a car is more environmentally friendly.
  5. Hybrid - This is a type of car that uses both a conventional gasoline engine and an electric motor to power the vehicle. Hybrids are more fuel efficient than conventional cars, and can also produce lower emissions.
  6. Electric vehicle - This is a type of car that is powered solely by an electric motor, and uses a battery to store and deliver energy. Electric vehicles produce no emissions and can be more cost-effective to run than conventional cars.
  7. Turbocharger - This is a device that is used to increase the power output of an engine by compressing the air that is delivered to the engine. Turbochargers can improve performance and fuel efficiency.
  8. 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive) - This is a type of drivetrain that delivers power to all four wheels of the car, providing better traction and stability on rough terrain or in poor weather conditions.
  9. ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) - This is a safety feature that prevents the wheels of a car from locking up during braking, improving control and reducing the risk of skidding or accidents.
  10. DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) - This is a type of automatic transmission that uses two clutches to improve efficiency and provide faster gear changes than a traditional automatic transmission.
  11. DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) - This is a component that is used to reduce emissions from diesel engines by trapping and removing particulate matter from the exhaust gases.
  12. CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) - This is a type of automatic transmission that uses a system of belts and pulleys to provide an infinite number of gear ratios, improving efficiency and smoothness.
  13. Turbo lag - This is a delay in power delivery that occurs when a turbocharged engine takes time to spool up and provide boost pressure.
  14. Top speed - This is the maximum speed that a car can achieve under optimal conditions, and is an important performance metric for some drivers.
  15. 0-60 time - This is the amount of time it takes for a car to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour, and is an important performance metric for many drivers.
  16. Suspension - This refers to the system of springs, shock absorbers, and other components that are used to absorb bumps and provide a smooth ride.
  17. Wheelbase - This is the distance between the front and rear axles of a car, and can affect stability, handling, and interior space.
  18. Ground clearance - This is the distance between the ground and the underside of the car, and can affect the car's ability to navigate rough terrain or obstacles.
  19. Regenerative braking - This is a feature that is used in hybrid and electric cars to convert the energy generated during braking into electricity, which can then be used to recharge the car's battery.
  20. Torque steer - This is a phenomenon that occurs in some high-performance front-wheel drive cars when the steering wheel jerks to one side during hard acceleration, caused by uneven power distribution to the front wheels.


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