What is the make and model of a car?

A car's make is the company that made it, for example: Ford, Honda, Volkswagen. A car's model is the car's specific name, for example: Escape, Civic, or Jetta. A car's make and model help determine its value and safety ratings, your insurance rate, and more. When shopping for a car, determine the vehicle class you'd like (midsize sedan, small SUV, etc.), and then compare that class's safest rated makes and models within your price range.

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What is car trim?

When discussing the make and model of a vehicle, the car's trim is also important. Car trim refers to a specific configuration of a vehicle model, usually differing in features, materials, and engine size. If you refer to a manufacturer's guide or even a specific vehicle's website, you'll learn more about a specific model's different trim levels.

Example:A Nissan Altima might have as many as six different trim levels between the Nissan Altima S, the Altima SV, the Altima SR, the Altima SR VC-Turbo, the Altima SL, or the Altima Platinum. Think of a trim as a further categorization of a certain model.

What is a car's model year?

A car's model year refers to which year the specific model was made for. Model year is an important way to date and classify a car model because car manufacturers make changes to car models from year to year.

Model years are often released early, so the model year doesn't always match the year you bought a brand-new car. For example, car manufacturers release their 2025 models in late 2024.

Why do make and model matter?

Different makes, models, and trim configurations tend to be geared toward specific uses. As a result, the make, model, trim, and even year of a vehicle can significantly impact the car's price. Whether buying or selling a car, research the car's make, model, year, and trim level to help you land on a fair price.

Make and model can also affect your car insurance. A car's average insurance rate can especially be affected by make and model if you have comprehensive and collision coverage, which cover certain damages to your vehicle. For example, a standard-trim SUV might have lower car insurance rates on average than a trim level geared toward off-roading and adventure driving because the standard model would likely be less expensive to repair.

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