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ABS – Anti Lock Brakes or anti lock braking system are designed to help the
driver maintain some steering ability and avoid skidding while brakingAirbags – Designed to prevent serious head injuries in the event of an accident, airbags are often available for drivers, passengers, side impact and head impacts (curtain airbags).

Auto – Automatic transmission – a car with no clutch or manual gears. Select the “drive” function and simply press the accelerator. As you drive the automatic selects the appropriate gear.

AWD – All-Wheel –Drive – a system that powers all four wheels at all times. Most cars in Ireland are two wheel drive which means the engines drives through either the front or back wheels. The benefit of AWD is that it improves grip in snow or ice.

BHP – Brake Horse Power. Unit of measurement of power, often used to indicate a car’s maximum power output. It is the maximum power developed by the engineers at rpm or revolutions per minute

Bluetooth Connectivity –Wireless technology that allows the drive hands free connection to multiple devices such as phones

Brake Assist – a system that detects when emergency braking is occurring and applies maximum braking effort.

cc – A measure of the engine size in cubic centimentres, e.g a 1.6 engine is 1,598cc

CDTI – Stands for Common Rail Diesel Turbo Injection

Chassis – The is the physical frame or structure of a car and consist of suspension, exhaust system and steering .

CO2 Emissions – are quoted in grams per kilometre and are used to determine the amount of tax paid on all new cars sold in Ireland since 2008. The lower the figure the less car tax you pay.

Crossover – Describes a car that blends aspects of a hatchback with a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).

Cruise Control – allows you to select the speed you wish to drive at and the cruise control system automatically maintains that speed. To override this system you can either brake or accelerate.

CTV – Continuously Variable Transmission finds the optimum gearing ratios for the driving conditions and shifts seamlessly. As a result performance and economy is generally increased.

DSG – Developed by the Volkswagen group the DSG, or Double-clutch system allows for virtually seamless gear changing. As there are two clutches when one gear is engaged, another gear is always preselected and this allows for split-second gear changes.

EBA – Electronic Brake Assistance.

Electric Power Steering – By using sensors that detect changes in steering angle, steering angle velocity, speed and acceleration of the vehicle the system uses an electric motor to assist the driver
of a vehicle.

Euro NCAP– European New Car Assessment Programme. This is a European wide vehicle testing programme for safety.

ESP – Electronic Stability Programme. For a detailed explanation click here

Estate – Estate cars are big and practical, and offer a large boot space while still retaining the comfort and driveability of a hatchback or saloon car.

EV – Electric Vehicles

4WD – Four wheel drive system provides a vehicle with power to all four wheels. In situations where one wheel has lost traction or grip the vehicle can still move. Therefore the benefits of 4WD are that it improves grip in snow or ice and allows for off-roading.

FWD – Front wheel drive means power is provided to the front wheels only.

G/km – The unit of measurement of the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a vehicle per kilometre travelled

GPS – Global Positioning System. This refers to the use of satellite generated information to calculate a vehicle’s precise position and is essential reference point for satellite navigation systems.

Handling – A general term used to describe how a car performs when cornering.

Hatchback – Hatchbacks feature three or five doors as they all feature a rear door to the boot

Hybrid – A car that uses more than one source of power. They feature an electric motor coupled with a conventional petrol or diesel engine. They tend to have better fuel economy than and reduced emissions.

ISOFIX – ISO 13216 is the ISO standard for fitting child safety seats in vehicles and is known as ISOFIX.

Km/h – Maximum speed measures in Kilometres per hour as per manufacturers official figures

Lane departure warning system – System that monitors where your car is in relation to road positions and sounds an alarm if the car strays over the line or into another lane.

LED – Light Emitting Diodes. This is a compact, high intensity, fast reacting light source. Brake lights can also respond to the amount of brake pressure applied.

MPG – Miles per gallon. Although we drive in kilometres mpg is still the most widely known interpretation of fuel economy in Ireland. MPV – Multi purpose vehicle, known more as a people carriers

NCT – National Car Testing is required by law for all cars over 4 years old. The NCT lasts for two years, normally, and is a requirement of most car insurance.

Park Assist – A system of electronic sensors and reversing camera to proide assistance when parking.

Platform – This refers to the basic structure on which the car is built on. Many manufactures share developments for production.

Revs – Revolutions, measured in RPM – revolutions per minute

Sat Nav – Satellite Navigation. A digitised mapping system that allows you get to where you want to go using the optimum route.

Start-stop – Designed to improve fuel common and reduce emissions these systems automatically turn the engine off when idle, so when the car stops, so does its engine

SUV – Sport Utility Vehicle.

Traction Control – Traction is essentially the grip you tyres have on the road. When this grip is compromised due to slippery or icy conditions the traction control system is designed to helps limit any loss of grip.

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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