Mid-size car


Mid-size car
A Japanese-designed mid-size sedan, 2004 Honda Accord / Honda Inspire (Japan)

A mid-size car (occasionally referred to as an intermediate) is the North American/Australian standard for an automobile with a size equal to or greater than that of a compact. In Europe mid-sizers are referred to as D segment or large family cars.

Contents

The United States

The car that defined this size in the United States was the Rambler Six that was introduced in 1956, although it was called "compact" at that time.[1] The mid-size class then grew out of the compacts of the early-1960s. For example, the Ford Fairlane was referred to at its introduction in 1962 as a compact intermediate because it was barely bigger than its close relative, the Falcon. General Motors' first entries in the class, such as the Oldsmobile F-85, Pontiac Tempest, and Buick Special were not mechanically related to the compact Chevrolet Corvair, but were similar in size. At that time vehicle classes were defined more by their wheelbase than interior passenger space and cargo capacity. The class began to grow rapidly, and for the next ten years each expansion in size in the full-size field was followed by a proportionate growth in the mid-size models. By the mid-1960s, they were as big as the full-size cars of the mid-1950s. By the mid-1970s, they were nearly as big as the full-size cars of the mid-1960s.

1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna Coupe

During the 1970s, the intermediate class was generally defined as vehicles with wheelbases between 112 inches (2,845 mm) and 118 inches (2,997 mm).A turning point occurred in the late 1970s, when rising fuel costs and government fuel economy regulations caused all car classes to shrink, and in many cases to blur. New "official" size designations in the U.S. were introduced by the EPA, which defined market segments by passenger and cargo space.[2] Formerly mid-sized cars, like the AMC Matador sedan that had a combined passenger and cargo volume of 130 cubic feet (3.68 m3), were now considered "full-size".[3] The situation was complicated when General Motors began to downsize its models about two years before everybody else. In 1978, the Chevrolet Malibu nameplate had been redesigned on a 108-inch (2,743 mm) wheelbase, while the Ford Granada moved to the 105-inch (2,667 mm) wheelbase of the Ford Fairmont's Fox platform in 1981. Both competed with the Chrysler standard and extended K-cars, often classified as compact, though mid-size by EPA standards. Former mid-size platforms such as the Plymouth Satellite would be rebranded as full-size, rebodied, or dropped in the face of the downsized Chevrolet Caprice. Some were subsequently replaced by what used to be large compacts, like the Plymouth Gran Fury in police applications. The Granada would be badged with the (formerly full-size) LTD moniker before being replaced by the class-defining Ford Taurus. Similarly, import models such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry that had been classified by the EPA as compact in 1985 grew to the mid-size class by the 1990s. The Accord has since grown larger; its current North American sedan version is classified by the EPA as a full-size car, although its coupe version remains in the mid-size class.

Mid-size vehicles today usually have wheelbases between 105 inches (2,667 mm) and 110 inches (2,794 mm). Another widely used definition is that of the EPA, which classifies cars between 110 cubic feet (3.11 m3) and 119 cubic feet (3.37 m3) of interior volume as mid-size. This is currently the most popular size car sold in the United States.

Europe, Australia and New Zealand

The full-sized Opel Omega B was marketed in the United States as the mid-sized Cadillac Catera, despite their identical dimensions. This vehicle was also the donor vehicle for the full-sized Holden Commodore, and the full-sized Holden Caprice and Holden Statesman.

Cars in Europe's equivalent category to North America's mid-size are generally known as D segment or large family cars , whereas Australia and New Zealand also use the mid-size label. European and Australasian mid-size/family cars are usually a little smaller than the North American norm, even from the same manufacturer. For comparison, the 1998 Ford Taurus weighed around 1,500 kg (3,307 lb), had a 2,757 mm (108.5 in) wheelbase, and was powered by a 3.0 L V6 engine, whereas a 1998 Ford Mondeo weighed around 1,300 kg (2,866 lb), had a 2,704 mm (106.5 in) wheelbase, and was often powered by a 2.0 L I4.

European and Australasian mid-size/large family cars are also usually offered in sedan and hatchback form, as opposed to the sole sedan form found in the models populating the North American category. European mid-size cars tend to be front-wheel drive with a focus on ride comfort, although the twisting nature of European roads demands a high level of handling agility which would not normally be required in the USA.

As elsewhere, upsizing has blurred the distinction between types, with models that and are considered compacts in North America, such as the Ford Focus and Opel Astra, approaching the mid-size category by growing larger and fitting more powerful engines with every iteration. However, it is usually thought that the categories grow along the years rather than the cars switching categories.

Sometimes the definitions of car categories are manipulated to serve marketing ends. In Australia, Toyota had categorized the V6 equipped Camry as a large car and the 4-cylinder Camry as a medium or mid-size car in order to dominate more segments, despite the physical size of the cars being identical. Similarly, the Opel/Vauxhall Omega/Cadillac Catera, which had dimensions right on the border between the North American categorizations of full-size and mid-size, was marketed as a luxury full-size car in Europe and a mid-size car in North America.

Japan

In Japan, the term mid-size car probably does not have the intermediate sense that it does in other markets. Due to space restrictions the range of cars available in this market starts from a much smaller size. As such, the models that Japan exports to other markets to compete in mid-size market segments such as the Mazda 6 and Subaru Legacy Honda Inspire (Accord US Version) occupy a more exclusive segment in the Japanese marketplace.

An interesting quirk of Japanese automotive tax codes is that width is one of factors determining which category a car is taxed under. The standards state any vehicle that is more than 4.7 m (15.4 ft) long, 1.7 m (5.6 ft) wide, 2 m (6.6 ft) high or with engines larger than 2000cc is what is called a "passenger size vehicle". This regulation also mandates that all passenger vehicles can not exceed 5 m (16.4 ft) length or 1.8 m (5.9 ft) width. Therefore even mid-sized cars destined for export markets from Japan had widths of less than 1,700 mm (66.9 in), as manufacturers had to look to domestic consumption as well as export. However, as export markets have become progressively more significant for Japanese car manufacturers, more models have been produced that break this 1,700 mm (66.9 in) wide limit.

See also

References

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • mid-size car — At one time (during the 1960s) a mid size car was between the large full size car (like Cadillac, Lincoln, and Imperial) and the compact cars (like Nova, Falcon, and Valiant). They included the Chevelle, Torino, and Coronet. However, with the… …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • mid-size — or midsize [mid′sīz΄mid′sīz΄] adj. of or being a size intermediate between large and small [a mid size car] …   English World dictionary

  • mid-size — /mid suyz /, adj. 1. (of an automobile) being between a compact and a large car in size and having a combined passenger and luggage volume of 110 120 cu. ft. (3.1 3.4 m3). 2. intermediate. [1965 70] * * * ˌmid ˈsized [mid sized] (also …   Useful english dictionary

  • mid-size — [[t]ˈmɪdˌsaɪz[/t]] also mid′sized adj. 1) aum (of an automobile) being between a compact and a full size car in size 2) intermediate in size …   From formal English to slang

  • mid-size — adj. Mid size is used with these nouns: ↑car …   Collocations dictionary

  • mid-size — /mid suyz /, adj. 1. (of an automobile) being between a compact and a large car in size and having a combined passenger and luggage volume of 110 120 cu. ft. (3.1 3.4 m3). 2. intermediate. [1965 70] * * * …   Universalium

  • Mid-size passenger car —   A passenger car with between110 and 119 cubic feet of interior passenger and luggage volume.   U.S. Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration s Energy Glossary …   Energy terms

  • Full-size car — A full size car is a marketing term used in North America for an automobile larger than a mid size car. In the United States, the EPA uses large car to denote full size cars.Full size is defined in measurement as greater than 120 ft³ (3,300 L) of …   Wikipedia

  • Full-Size Car — (englisch: etwa Auto voller Größe) bezeichnet eine Fahrzeugklasse bei PKW, vor allem in den Vereinigten Staaten. Offiziell heißt sie Large Car, also großes Auto. Sie entspricht von der Größe der deutschen Oberklasse, bedingt aber, anders als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Car classification — is subjective since many vehicles fall into multiple categories or do not fit well into any. Not all car types are common in all countries and names for the same vehicle can differ by region. Furthermore, some descriptions may be interpreted… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.