Subcompact, compact, midsize; these are just one of the few terms that we have become familiar with when classifying automobiles. This is what the North American car market has been using for a long while and which the Philippine market has adopted. More recently however, automakers have begun classifying cars differently.
Some of you may have heard some of these terms, like A-Segment, B-Segment, C-Segment and so on. These are actually what automakers in Europe are using to categorize each kind of automobile. Simply called the Euro Car Segment, it was set and defined by the European Commission back in 1999 as a simpler way of classifying automobiles in their respective classes.
As more and more cars become more globally available, automakers have resorted to using the Euro Car Segment to streamline certain models, particularly here in the ASEAN region. Adopting the Euro Car Segment scheme reduces the sheer number of categories to fewer, more easier to understand ones. Moreover, it doesn't distinguish between trival matters like mass market or premium brands, or body-on-frame or crossover platforms.
Are you familiar as to what segment your car belongs to?
A-Segment – For first time car buyers, this will probably be a likely segment for browsing. Also called microcars or city cars, this is the segment where models like the Chevrolet Spark, Honda Brio, Mitsubishi Mirage Hatch and the Mini 3-Door Hatch are filed under. This particular section saw a significant growth in the country during the mid-2000s with the introduction of such models like the Hyundai Getz and the second-generation Suzuki Swift. But if we go back further, older cars like the Kia Pride Hatch and Toyota Starlet are also examples of A-segment vehicles.
B-Segment – Smaller than a compact but still offering the basic essentials of a four-door sedan or similarly-sized five-door hatchback. This is what defines a subcompact. The Ford Fiesta, Honda City, Hyundai Accent, Mazda2 and the Toyota Vios are classified under this section. Other cars like the Volkswagen Polo, Kia Rio, Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio are also called as such.
C-Segment – Before the prominence of the B-Segment, it was the compact car that ruled the roost. With enough seating for five, along with decent trunk space, the C-segment cars became the quintessential family or company car. The Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, and Subaru Impreza are just some of the most well-known C-segment cars in the market.
D-Segment – Ready to take the jump towards a bigger, better equipped car? What we call midsize is also called an entry-level luxury car according to the Euro Car Segment. Common models classified under this segment include the Honda Accord, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda6, Peugeot 508 and even the Volkswagen Passat. Other examples like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes Benz C-Class and Lexus IS also fall under this segment.
E-Segment – Also called ‘executive sedans’, this segment became the first step in acquiring a car that has enough pep along with a decked out interior. Stalwarts from the German big three (BMW 5-Series, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class) reign at this particular segment. Similar cars like the Jaguar XF, Lexus GS and Chrysler 300 also take a chunk of the E segment.
F-Segment – This is where automobiles like the Mercedes-Benz S Class, Lexus LS and Rolls Royce Phantom reign. Full-size luxury with matching cabin and powertrain options, are available at the disposal of prospective buyers. With their grandeur size, they also offer best-in-class interior space.
S-Segment – Two-door coupes, roadsters, sports cars, muscle cars, grand tourers and convertibles reside here. With an emphasis on delivering full-on driving experience for both driver and passenger/s, the S-Segment is populated by a wide array of automobiles. These include the humble yet exhilarating Mazda MX-5 and Toyota 86; to the more exuberant and wicked Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R.
M-Segment – Focusing on cargo hauling or people carrying, the vehicles here are the work horses of the automotive world. Multi-purpose vans, cargo vans and mini vans take up the bulk of this segment. Such nameplates like the Toyota Alphard, Hyundai Starex, Peugeot Expert Tepee and the Mercedes V-Class populate this particular segment.
J-Segment – Need something that can go over almost any terrain while still being able to deliver decent ride comfort and seating for seven or eight people? This is where 4x4s, SUVs, CUVs and crossovers reside. Featuring a taller ride height and an uprated suspension system, these vehicles can trek through city streets or over muddy terrain. Entries vary from the go-anywhere Toyota Land Cruiser and Range Rover, to the more city-oriented models like the Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-5. Even smaller models like the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Suzuki Jimny also reside here.
You might be wondering where pickup trucks fall under? According to the Euro Car Segment, it's not part of the main roster. Instead, they are just classified as they are. From mini pickups, all the way to the heavy-duty movers, these utility vehicles went from working as farm machinery, to more lifestyle-oriented trucks for today's market.
Over to pickup-platform vehicles (PPVs), since they can seat seven and incorporate an SUV-styled body, they fall under the J-segment as midsize SUVs. Even with their pickup-derived chassis, they get a multi-link rear suspension for better comfort and higher levels of equipment for the occupants.
The Euro Car Segment, in a way, streamlined the model lineup of cars being sold to the market today. Even with so many body styles for a particular model, the Euro Car Segment allows buyers to easily know what kind of car they will be investing in.