Depending on the size, deployability and target group, a passenger car is divided into a certain segment. As a result, the prices and performance of cars of different brands, but divided into the same segment, can be compared more effectively. It is also possible to compare the sales figures of different brands and to take targeted marketing actions towards the different target groups.

The A and B segments are usually the smaller city cars. The C and D segments are the most common types for the middle class. From the E-segment onwards, the larger and more luxurious executive-type cars are usually used. The J to L-segments are often the larger MPVs or minibuses, of which the L-segment are often the SUVs and the 4×4 off-road vehicles.

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Door or flap
When describing models of passenger cars, in addition to the type of bodywork, reference is often made to two, three, four or five doors. In this form of naming, it is important to distinguish between flap and door. The difference lies in the fact that a door can be used to gain access to the passenger compartment of the car.

It can also be said that if the window opens with the opening, it is a door. A car therefore has a 3rd or 5th door if the passenger compartment is opened when it is opened. When access is provided to an independent space at the front or rear of the car, this is referred to as a flap. This concerns access to the engine compartment or the boot.

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A sedan often has a bonnet (or hood) at the front and a boot lid at the back, but there are exceptions; there are also car models where the engine is placed in the back of the car. A well-known example of this is the Volkswagen Beetle which has the boot on the front and the engine in the back of the car.

Operation
Cars are equipped with hand and foot controls to control the car and regulate comfort. These include a steering wheel, pedals for braking and accelerating and, in the case of a manual gearbox, clutch control, handbrake and gear lever. In addition, a car around the steering wheel includes a number of levers for the indicators, headlight, rear light, windscreen wipers and heating. The dashboard gives an overview of the status of the car.

Over time, some of the controls have been replaced by automatic controls such as a starting mechanism, reversing light and, in some cases, an automatic gearbox. For cars from about 2010 onwards, most of the controls are not mechanically connected, but are connected to an electronic CAN-bus and an on-board computer that controls the car’s brakes and engine, among other things. This electronic control makes adaptive cruise control and an anti-lock braking system possible. With servo-assisted steering, a lane keeping system is possible in which the car steers itself. With the development of sensors, a self-propelled car is possible in the long run, whereby the control can be limited to entering an end point.

Engine
The placement of the engine in a car is usually in the front of the car, in exceptional cases the engine is placed in the back of the car as with the Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche 911. The handling of the car is influenced by the weight of the engine behind or in the front of the car. Most ideal is a centre engine because such a car suffers the least from understeer or oversteer.

Different types of engines are used to drive the car.

Internal combustion engine
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Internal combustion engine
A car is usually powered by an internal combustion engine. An internal combustion engine derives its energy from the (explosive) combustion of petrol, diesel, LPG or another fuel. These fuels are for sale at petrol stations.

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In the case of a mixed engine, petrol (or LPG, for example) is detonated in a special chamber (cylinder) by a spark plug. The explosion pushes down a piston that drives the crankshaft and then this movement is transmitted to the wheels.

In the case of a diesel engine, diesel is ignited in the same type of special chamber by injecting the diesel under high pressure into the chamber. The ignition pushes down a piston that drives the crankshaft, after which the movement is transmitted to the wheels.

The residues from the combustion process that takes place in the engine are discharged through the exhaust. Nowadays there are strict requirements for this. Combustion engines running on ethanol, methanol, biomass and similar technologies have been increasingly introduced recently. Some are at an experimental stage, but most have been available for some time and are sometimes even inexpensive.

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