A Guide to Car Jagon for Absolute Beginners Part One

A Guide to Car Jagon for Absolute Beginners Part One

It's possible to appreciate cars without necessarily being a massive petrol head – we get that. And as such, you might find yourself wanting to read about the latest vehicles to see what's on the market. Even if you aren't a big fan of cars, you might find yourself occasionally perusing sites like these ones when it's time to upgrade your vehicle.

The only problem is that understanding these articles can sometimes be very difficult. There's often just so much jargon and terminology that you actually don't know what it is you're reading. Sure, all those numbers sound good… but what on earth does it all mean? Are those good things or bad things?

Unfortunately there's so much jargon and terminology to learn when it comes to automobiles that many people just don't know where to start and thus give up before they've even begun. For others, it can be somewhat embarrassing to admit that perhaps they don't know all that much about cars – especially for guys who often feel as though they're supposed to know these things.

If you find yourself in this position then don't worry, we've got you covered. Read on and you'll find a basic guide to car terminology and jargon to help you understand what it all means.


Horsepower is a measurement of an engine's output in terms of pure power. Of course the term dates back to horse drawn carriages – when the only way to get more speed was to add more horses.

Today one horse power is equal to the amount of force required to lift 550 pounds one foot off the ground for one second. This doesn't always correspond with a car's actual speed or performance though as many other factors come into play such as aerodynamics, gearing, vehicle weight etc.


Torque is the rotational equivalent to force in 'pound-feet'. This describes the twisting force that is generated when one pound of force is applied to the end of a foot-long lever.


MRSP stands for 'Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price'. It's RRP for cars and it's worth knowing before you start haggling with your car dealer.


If you read about a car's fuel economy then you're likely to see the abbreviation 'MPG'. This has nothing to do with video formats but is instead a measure of 'Miles Per Gallon' and tells you how many miles you get for one gallon of fuel. Of course the mileage will vary and manufacturer's predictions are often on the 'generous' side, but the figure is still useful for the sake of comparison. The higher the number, the more efficient the car.

Wheel Drive

The difference between all-wheel drive and four wheel drive is how involved you are with a vehicles power train operation. That sounds confusing, but basically four wheel drive cars are controlled by the driver using dashboard controls, whereas all-wheel drive seamlessly handle the four wheels. The difference is relatively marginal.

Front wheel drive meanwhile means that the power is in the front wheels, whereas rear-wheel drive puts the power in the rear wheels.


You'll likely have heard people say that a car can do '0-60 in X seconds'. This tells you about the acceleration and how quickly a car can reach 60 miles an hour or roughly 100 kilometers from a dead standstill. You'd expect a powerful sports car to do this in about four seconds, while an SUV will likely be closer to nine seconds or even more. For everyday use, this figure can tell you how quickly you can get to highway speeds. It's also useful for bragging to friends…

These are some basic terms, but stay tuned for part two to complete your education!