Car Acronyms Explained

September, 2021

Deciding what make and model you want to buy can be confusing when you are faced with things like DSG, CVT, AWD, ABS, SRS…. what does it mean!?

There are plenty of car acronyms flying around which can leave your head in a muddle, but Carz4u is here to help you make sense of the most common ones you will find in the vehicle features list.

2WD – Two-Wheel Drive: Only two of the four wheels rotate and drive the car forward.

4WD – Four-Wheel Drive: All four wheels are powered. Normally the car will use 2WD under normal conditions and be switched to 4WD for off-roading, etc.

ABS – Antilock Braking System: ABS is a safety system that prevents the wheels of a car from locking up and skidding under heavy braking so steering control can be maintained by the driver.

A/C – Air-conditioning: We think you might know this one, the aircon blows refrigerated air into the cabin of the car, cooling it to below ambient air temperature.

ANCAP – Australasian New Car Assessment Program: ANCAP is a 1 to 5 star-rating system used to rank the safety of new cars.

AWD – All-Wheel Drive: AWD’s can distribute power to all four wheels rather than just to the front or rear of vehicle wheels only. The vehicle will mostly run under 2WD but engage all wheels for performance or safety purposes.

CVT – Constantly Variable Transmission: A CVT transmission seamlessly changes through an unending range of effective gear ratios while you drive.

DSC – Dynamic Stability Control: Technology that automatically takes control of the vehicle when skidding is detected. Generally, DSC will drop engine power and apply brakes.

DSG – Direct Shift Gearbox: Made popular by Volkswagen, DSG is a dual-clutch gearbox which allows for pre-selection of gears and a rapid but seamless swap between them.

EBA – Emergency Brake Assist: EBA is technology that will increase braking pressure in an emergency, helping you come to a stop quickly.

ECU – Electronic Control Unit: There are hundreds of ECU’s in your car that control different functions such as engine, power windows, door locks, and safety features like airbags.

FWD – Front-Wheel Drive: The front wheels are powered and are responsible for pulling the car forward and steering.

GVM – Gross Vehicle Mass: The maximum weight a vehicle can weight including fuel, passengers, cargo etc. You can read more about vehicle weights here.

HUD – Head-Up Display: Is a transparent display that reflects things like your speed upon the windscreen so you do not need to take your eyes off the road.

ICC – Intelligent Cruise Control: While standard cruise control maintains the speed of your car, ICC will maintain speed whilst also monitoring and keeping a specific distance from any vehicles travelling in front of you.

LPG – Liquid Petroleum Gas: Is a mix of propane and butane and is a flammable hydrocarbon fuel that is used for heating, cooking and vehicles. Often used in Taxis.

LWB – Long Wheel Base: The front and rear axles are further apart, therefore the body of a commercial vehicle will be longer or have an extended wheelbase compared to the standard model.

PPSR – Personal Properties Security Register: An online register that will tell you if a vehicle has an encumbrance (money owing) or ever been written-off or stolen.

RWD – Rear-Wheel Drive: The rear wheels are powered and are responsible for pushing the car forward. The front wheels still control the steering.

SAT-NAV – Satellite Navigation System: A system based on a wide network of satellites, that send reference information from which navigation, positions and timing can be determined.

SWB – Short Wheel Base: The front and rear axles are closer together, therefore the body of the vehicle will be short compared to the standard model.

SRS – Supplementary Restraint System: The SRS is a computer system that controls the airbags and automatic seatbelt restraints in your car when it detects impact, braking etc.

TDi – Turbo Diesel Injection: Turbocharged diesel engines that have direct fuel injection.

VIN – Vehicle Identification Number: Every single vehicle has a unique 17-digit number that helps identify manufacture date, vehicle history and PPSR.