VEHICLE CLASS DIVISION

Accurate class distinctions are critical to fair and reliable automotive performance assessments. Therefore, ASG’s 2016 classifications are based on objective data to the fullest extent possible, using the calculated interior volume index as defined and driven by the Code of Federal Regulations (Title 40 Section 600.315.08, 1 July 2013) Classes of Comparable Automobiles (CCA). Automobiles that fall at a class intersect were further evaluated by interior and exterior dimensions to develop an advanced model that differentiated the class gap.

The automobiles that were included in this Study are model year 2016 Cars and SUVs available to North American consumers in the first quarter of 2016, and with full production capabilities. Several model year 2016 PHEVs and EVs are not available to consumers nationwide, and are in fact extremely limited in production numbers; these vehicles were therefore removed from the 2016 Study findings.

Light-duty Trucks included in the Study are available to North American Consumers in the first quarter of 2016, with full production capabilities. Two-seater cars were omitted from the 2016 Study given the specialized nature of this class of vehicle and limited number of vehicles that are of relative size and function.

 

CAR

While the CCA specified eight unique car classes, ASG determined these classes were not necessarily allocated with mainstream consumer preferences in mind. ASG therefore consolidated several classes based on 2016 market trends to better serve the consumer automotive search.

CCA named Mini-Compact and Sub-Compact classes as distinct; ASG concluded that these two small car classes did not present attributes that were clearly differentiated; ASG therefore consolidated these two classes into ASG’s defined Mini-Compact class.

Further, CCA named three wagon classes - small, mid-size and large wagons, but ASG concluded that one wagon category served the 2016 wagon market offerings most appropriately. ASG determined that some small wagons in CCA’s assessment were in fact small cars with hatchback configurations that better fit standard car classes of relative size. Likewise, some CCA defined Mid-size and Large wagons were in fact Crossover vehicles that better fit into the Crossover class. For these reasons, each vehicle defined by CCA as a wagon in 2016 was scrutinized beyond the interior volume index to ensure appropriate class distinctions.

 

SUV

CCA named two SUV classes – Small and Standard. CCA also defined the SUV class distinctions by Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – the maximum operating weight/mass of a vehicle including the vehicle's chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo. This method for distinguishing SUVs by GVWR harkens back to a time when SUVs were considered trucks. This does not accurately reflect the marketplace in 2016, in which SUVs are used most commonly as passenger vehicles, not trucks where operating load is of prime consideration.

ASG thereby took a different approach with SUV classification by using Interior Volume Index to calculate the usable interior space as the primary marker for classification, in much the same way as cars were classified. ASG also identified four unique SUV classes that better serve the consumer search – Compact Crossover, Crossover SUV, Mid-Size SUV, and Full-Size SUV – given the vast range of sizes across the four SUV classes.

 

TRUCK

ASG adopted the CCA GVWR distinctions between Small and Standard light-duty trucks, however ASG expanded the light-duty truck categories by differentiating between trucks of varying cab sizes. The reason for this distinction was to offer the consumer truck categories that best reflect their preferences. If one desires a crew cab, it is not beneficial for them to see how a regular cab compares in terms of environmental, economic and social performance, for example.

Similarly, ASG defined CCA’s Small Trucks as Mid-Size Trucks in Regular, Extended and Crew Cab classes, with CCA’s Standard Trucks as Full-Size Trucks in Regular, Extended and Crew Cab classes. These detailed class distinctions provide the basis for comparative vehicle assessments.

 

ASG CLASSES OF COMPARABLE CARS

CAR CLASS

INTERIOR VOLUME INDEX (CUBIC FEET)

MINI-COMPACT

< 99

COMPACT

100 - 109

MID-SIZE

110 - 119

FULL-SIZE

120 <

WAGON

Style & 120 <

 

 

SUV CLASS

INTERIOR VOLUME INDEX (CUBIC FEET)

COMPACT CROSSOVER

< 124

CROSSOVER SUV

125 - 140

MID-SIZE SUV

141 - 170

FULL-SIZE SUV

170 <

MINIVAN

Style

 

 

TRUCK CLASS

GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)

MID-SIZE REGULAR

Regular cab < 6,000 lbs.

MID-SIZE EXTENDED

Extended cab < 6,000 lbs.

MID-SIZE CREW

Crew cab < 6,000 lbs.

FULL-SIZE REGULAR

Regular cab 6,000 - 10,000 lbs.

FULL-SIZE EXTENDED

Extended cab 6,000 - 10,000 lbs.

FULL-SIZE CREW

Crew cab 6,000 - 10,000 lbs.

 

 

 

TITLE 40 SECTION 600.315.08

CAR CLASS

INTERIOR VOLUME INDEX (CUBIC FEET)

MINI-COMPACT

< 85

SUB-COMPACT

85-99

COMPACT

100 - 109

MID-SIZE

110 - 119

LARGE

120 <

SMALL WAGON

< 130

MID-SIZE WAGON

130 - 159

LARGE WAGON

160 <

 

 

SUV CLASS

GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)

SMALL SUV

< 6,000 lbs.

STANDARD SUV

6,000 – 10,000 lbs.

MINIVAN

Style

 

 

TRUCK CLASS

GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)

SMALL TRUCK

< 6,000 lbs.

STANDARD TRUCK

6,000 – 8,500 lbs.