We use a lot of different terms on our site.  More than 400.  For many terms, manufacturers will often uniquely brand a feature, even though it can be found on other vehicles.  Look up the definition of the terms found in our Search tool in our Glossary.  Where we can, we’ve included what the different manufacturers might call the feature too, so you know what you’re looking at from one vehicle to another.

We have compiled these descriptions to help you better understand the terms used on our site.  All of the information in this glossary is for informational and educational purposes only. Not all vehicles are equipped with these features and you should always consult your owner’s manual for how any given feature will perform on a specific vehicle. Carefully inspect any vehicle and check its feature specifications before purchasing it.  We’re not responsible or liable for the presence or absence of any features on a vehicle, nor for how well any of the features found on a given vehicle actually perform.  We will make reasonable efforts to keep this glossary up to date; however, we are not responsible or liable for any consequences resulting from any errors or omissions. If you notice any missing or inaccurate information, please contact us.
115V accessory outlet
Gives the user the ability to power small, conventional appliances that use AC power.  Often used for gaming consoles, small coolers and other low power items.  There is usually a watt limit on the outlet, depending on the vehicle.
12V accessory outlet
Allows items with an accessory plug to be powered, often used to recharge phones.
A pillar
The roof structure support on a vehicle between the leading edge of the driver’s door window/frame and the front windshield on sedans and two row sport utility vehicles.
Active brake limited slip (front)
This traction feature is usually enabled by the vehicle’s stability control system.  The front wheels are braked, often individually, by the system’s computer when wheelspin is detected using the braking system instead of a hardware based system.
Active brake limited slip (rear)
This traction feature is usually enabled by the vehicle’s stability control system.  The rear wheels are braked, often individually, by the system’s computer when wheelspin is detected using the braking system instead of a hardware based system.
Active head restraints (front)
Often accomplished through a mechanical lever system, in the event of a rear-end collision, the headrests will pivot forward, meeting the head as it ‘whips’ backward, to help reduce the severity of an impact.
Active noise control
Usually part of a vehicle’s audio system, the noise control system monitors the sounds inside the vehicle.  Sound waves of an opposite frequency are emitted by the system to cancel out the undesirable sound waves.
Adaptive cruise control
In addition to a preset speed, the driven vehicle can maintain a set distance to the vehicle in front, even if the vehicle in front slows down.  As the vehicle in front speeds up, the driven vehicle will speed up to the preset speed.  Ideal for long distance highway driving. This feature is the core of many driver assistance features.  Automatic emergency braking using this system to detect that the vehicle in front is slowing down.  In stop and go traffic, the system is used to follow the vehicle in front at low speeds.
Adaptive steering feedback
The ability to change the steering effort and steering feedback.  Often with a‘comfort’ and‘sport’setting, the steering feel can be changed to suit the driver’s preferences.
Adjustable front seat head restraints
The ability to move the headrests up and down to position them correctly to help mitigate the effects of a rear end collision.
Adjustable rear seat head restraints
The ability to move the headrests up and down to position them correctly to help mitigate the effects of a rear end collision.  Some rear seat head restraints cannot be adjusted for height.  They will often be designed to swing out of the way to facilitate the folding of the seat.
Adjustable shock absorbers
Often used to allow a vehicle to carry an increased load without disturbing optimal ride height.  Another use is to provide a softer or more firm ride for a more comfortable or sporty feel.
Adjustable stabilizer bars
System that will vary the degree of pitch experienced while cornering that uses the stabilizer bars rather than an adjustable shock or spring.  A rare feature found on some trucks and sports cars.
Adjustable third row head restraints
The ability to move the headrests up and down to position them correctly to help mitigate the effects of a rear end collision.  Some rear seat head restraints cannot be adjusted for height.  They will often be designed to swing out of the way to facilitate the folding of the seat.
Adjustable traction control
The amount of wheel slippage can be adjusted depending on the type of terrain.  Different settings can include sand, mud and snow.  Setting programmed into the system help the driver navigate these different driving surfaces.
Air compressor
Often found in vehicles with run flat tires, along with a tire repair kit, the air compressor can re-inflate a flat tire after an emergency repair. Some vehicles allow for the inflation of air mattresses and other inflatables.
Air conditioner settings memory feature
Often tied to the memory system for the seats, the system ‘remembers’ the settings for the air conditioning system and defaults to those settings when the driver activates the memory setting switch.
Air conditioning
Used to cool the interior of the vehicle.  There are still vehicles that offer air conditioning as an option.
Alloy wheels
Alloy wheels can have a brushed aluminum look, sometimes with painted accents.  The most common upgraded wheel found on today’s vehicles.
AM/FM radio
Amplitude and Frequency Modulation are the two most commonly used systems to receive radio broadcasts in a vehicle.
Apple Carplay Android Auto
Systems that allow the user to simulate the interface of their smartphone or tablet on the vehicle’s instrument panel.  This is usually combined with the functionality of the phone, allowing the use of navigation, text messaging and phone calls while using the vehicle.
Apps integration
The ability to use apps contained on a smartphone on the screen of a vehicle.  This is rapidly being replaced by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  Often the manufacturer will have their own suite of apps that will appear on a smartphone, then again on the vehicle’s display.  We expect this feature to disappear as Apple and Android’s OS is used more and more.
Audio anti-theft system
In order for the audio system to work in a radio with an anti-theft system, a code needs to be entered, known only to the owner.  Without the code, the radio will not function, acting as a deterrent to keep it from being stolen.
Auto dimming headlights
Headlights on high beam that will automatically dim to low beam when the vehicle senses the presence of an oncoming vehicle. It prevents the oncoming vehicle’s driver from being temporarily blinded by your headlights.
Auto exit feature for driver
A feature where the steering wheel will tilt up and/or the driver’s seat will automatically move back to makeit easier to get in and out of a vehicle.
Auto leveling headlights
When a heavy load is placed in the back of a vehicle, the headlights will point upwards.  Auto leveling headlights will adjust for this so that oncoming vehicles are not’dazzled’ by the headlights.
Auto lock feature
As the vehicle accelerates away from rest, the doors automatically lock.
Auto on off headlights(vs.manual)
Set it and forget it.  Headlights illuminate automatically when a sensor determines that light levels are below a certain threshold.
Auto-dimming inside mirror
A sensor detects the light coming from the headlights of vehicles to the rear and tints the mirror surface to reduce glare.
Automatic emergency braking
Can either automatically bring a vehicle to a stop or reduce the severity of an impact by reducing vehicle speed when the system detects that a collision is imminent. It is usually part of distance pacing cruise control features. Also known as Intelligent emergency braking.
Automatic engine start stop
When a vehicle comes to a stop, the engine turns off.  When the accelerator is pressed, the engine restarts and the vehicle pulls away.  Can amount to as much as a 5-10% saving in fuel consumption. Value reflects one year saving based on $2,000 annual fuel cost. Also known as Automatic start stop
Automatic ride control
Continuously varies the suspension settings(springs, shocks, sometimes engine torque output) for a smoother, more comfortable ride.
Automatic temperature control
Set it and forget it.  Automatic temperature control allows the vehicle occupants to choose a set temperature, and the vehicle will either heat or cool the interior to that temperature.
Automatic transmission
A transmission takes engine power and converts it into forward and reverse motion, usually with gears than change depending on vehicle speed.  Continuaously variable transmissons use two pulleys that can change diameter, and a steel belt that help keep the engine in an optimal range for power and fuel economy.  The lack of traditional gears eliminates the ‘shift shock’ that can occur in traditional transmissions.
Auxiliary cargo lighting
Extra lighting in the cargo area that makes it easier to load and unload cargo.
Auxiliary input jack
Gives the user, with the correct cable, the ability to plug in their smartphone or table to listen to the audio on the device.
Auxiliary instrument panel storage
An extra storage space found in the instrument panel, such as an auxiliary glove box (in addition to the actual glove box), cubby hole at the base of the centre stack (beneaththeradio and the HVAC controls), that can hold small items.
Auxiliary overhead storage
Any additional overhead storage bin(s) are accounted for with this field.
Auxiliary visor
In addition to the standard sun visor that can block sunlight from the front, a second visor can be swung over to block sunlight coming in from the side window.
B pillar
The roof structure support on a vehicle between the front door window/frame and the back door window/frame found on sedans and two row sport utility vehicles.
Backup automatic emergency braking
A system that will automatically slow or stop the vehicle when it detects the likelihood of a collision when in reverse. Also known as Backup collision intervention.
Blind spot intervention
While changing lanes, the system detects another vehicle in the driver’s blind spot.  The system will steer the vehicle back into the lane without changing the lane, thereby avoiding an accident.
Blind spot monitoring
A alert sounds and/or a warning light illuminates when a vehicle is in the driver’s blind spot.  The warning light is often on the mirror in the direction of a potential lane change. Some systems are active all the time (will warn or illuminate any time another vehicle is in the driver’s blind spot) or only when the turn signal is activated.
Body motion control
Keeps the vehicle stable while driving in high winds, and can also help control body sway while towing.
Body side cladding
Cladding can help protect the lower sides of a vehicle from stone chips and other debris when off-roading.  Usually used to help improve the appearance of a vehicle.
Body side moulding
Body side moulding helps protect the vehicle from the door opening of an adjacent car in a parking lot.  Often found in black, colour-keyed and chrome.
Bottle holders
Often found in doors, bottle holders help keep taller drink bottles close at hand without spilling.
Brake assist
Increases the braking pressure when the system detects an increase in speed while applying the brake.  It can help apply the maximum braking pressure to shorten stopping distances.
Brake cornering assist
This feature will brake an individual wheel when the vehicle is rounding a corner, and can increase the tire contact patch on the road for better traction. Not as complex as a hardware based limited slip differential, and usually triggered by the vehicle’s stability control system. Also known as Torque vectoring brake, Active trace control.
Brake energy recovery
Harvests power from the wheels, turning them into power generators. Generally stored in a battery system.
C pillar
The roof structure support on a vehicle between the trailing edge of the back door window/frame and the rear windshield found on sedans and two row sport utility vehicles.
Camera mount
A fixture to mount a small dash cam or portable camera inside the vehicle.
Capless fuel system
No need to remove a fuel cap with the capless system.  Just insert the fuel filler to fill the vehicle with fuel.  One less step while filling, especially appreciated during inclement weather.
Cargo area strap
A strap mounted in the cargo area can help keep small objects from rolling around.
Cargo area tie-downs
Small loops, rings or brackets that can be used in conjuction with bungee cords or rope to anchor objects in the trunk or cargo arear.
Cargo bed liner
A drop in box or spray in liner helps protect the cargo bed from damage.
Cargo bed storage system
Often a system of rails with movable tie downs or cleats make it easy to anchor large objects in the cargo bed.
Cargo box light
Illuminates the cargo box area on pickup trucks.
Cargo hidden storage
Usually found under the cargo floor or to the side of the cargo or trunk compartment, a space to keep valuables out of the sight of prying eyes.
Cargo hooks on ceiling
Anchor points for a net or to hang wet clothing, mounted on the inside of the cargo or rear passenger compartment.
Cargo light
Illuminates the rear cargo area, in the back of SUVs and hatchbacks and the trunk area of sedans.
Cargo mats
A extra layer of carpeting helps protect the interior of the vehicle.
Cargo net
A net to help keep shopping bags upright.  Often an envelope style that cradles the cargo.
Cargo organizer
A system that holds items like grocery bags, windshield washer fluid and other sundries.  The organizer keeps the objects from sliding around in the cargo area.
Cargo side net
A small net off to the side of the cargo area helps keep objects from sliding around.
Cargo tray
Usually made of vinyl or plastic, the cargo tray protects the interior of the vehicle especially when cargo is damp or dirty.
CD prewire
Factory installed cabling to make it easy to install a CD player or changer.
Cellular internet access
The ability to access the internet via the cellular phone network.  The vehicle is equipped with on-board cellular service with data capabilities.  Used to access the vehicle remotely by the manufacturer, enable telematics services and for the owner to control vehicle functions through a companion app.
Central locking
By pressing a single button, the doors will lock and the moonroof, if equipped, will lock.
Centre armrest
Positioned between the two front seats, a place for the driver and front passenger to rest their elbows.
Centre console box
A container found between the two front seats that can hold small items that the driver and front passenger would like close at hand.
Centre console front folding tray
A tray between the front seats that can be folded out of the way to make it easier to get into the rear seats. Usually found on minivans.
Chrome alloy wheels
Alloy wheel with a bright chrome-like finish.
Chrome exhaust finishers
Exhaust finishers add a sporty appearance to the rear of a vehicle. They’re often chrome in colour.
Chrome wheels
Wheels are plated with chrome for a more upscale  appearance.
Class III trailer hitch
Class three trailer hitches are rated to tow up to 5,000 lbs.
Class IV trailer hitch
Class four trailer hitches are rated to tow from 5,000 to 10,000 lbs.
Climate controlled seat
A system of fans blowing air through a perforated seating surface cools the seat.  Especially good for driver and front passenger comfort in hot weather.
Tells the time.
Cloth door trim inserts
Door panels made of cloth or other fabric soften the interior look of a vehicle.
Coin box
A place to keep coins.  This is a spot that is either small enough to contain the coins, either with a felt lining to keep the coins quiet as you drive, or with pre-formed spots that will physically hold the coins.
Provides direction in your life.
Conversation mirror
A convex mirror, often located in the overhead console near the front of the vehicle, can be used to keep an eye on rear seat passengers. Usually found on minivans and some SUVs.
Convertible roof
A retractible fabric roof allows open air motoring.
Cornering lights
Illuminate the area to the front right or front left of a vehicle, usually triggered by the steering wheel being turned beyond a certain point or when the turn signal for that direction is activated.
Courtesy lights
Small lights placed on the bottom or sides of the doors.  When the door is opened, the area beneath the door is illuminated, helping the vehicle passengers avoid puddles or hazardous footing.
Crawl control
This feature allows a 4WD vehicle to slowly proceed without the driver touching the accelerator, allowing them to concentrate on braking and driving.  Think of it as cruise control at very low speeds.
Cruise control
The vehicle can be driven at a preset speed.  This avoids having to continuously press on the accelerator pedal, reducing driver fatigue.
Cup holders
A place to help keep a cup or drink from spilling.
Cylinder deactivation
By disabling a number of cylinders, usually at highway speeds, cylinder deactivation can save fuel.  The deactivated cylinders don’t burn any fuel.  The pistons in those cylinders still go up and down, but without the fuel being burned.
D pillar
The roof structure support on SUVs and minivans between the rearmost window and the rear liftgate.
DAB receiver
Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) is the digital transmission of sound, rather than emitting radio waves such as AM and FM.  The system can yield superior sound quality to standard audio transmissions.
Day/night rearview mirror
A manual switch moves the mirror to a night-time position that reduces glare from the headlights of vehicles to the rear.
Delay off headlights
Headlights that stay on for a brief period after the ignition is turned off.  This can help you find your way in the dark.
Digital touch entry system
A keypad, often positioned either below the driver’s door handle or on the B-pillar of the vehicle, can be coded with a combination, allowing the driver to enter the vehicle without using their key.
Directional headlights
Headlights that ‘steer’ as the steering wheel is turned. This can help illuminate the area as you turn a corner.
Disc brakes
Disc brakes feature a rotor or disc and a caliper that contains pads. The pads squeeze down on the disc to help stop the car.  For theirability to dissapate heat and simple construction, disc brakes perform better than drum brakes.
Always consult your owner’s manual for how any given feature will perform on a vehicle.  Not all vehicles are equipped with these features. These descriptions are meant as a primer for the terms used on our site.  We’re not responsible for how well any of the features found on a given vehicle actually perform.
Diversity antenna system
Two or more antennas are used to improve the reception of AM and FM. The system monitors the strength of the radio signal and can automatically switch to the antenna with the best signal.
Dome light with fade
When a vehicle is turned off, the interior dome light illuminates.  After a short period, the dome light extinguishes by fading out, usually from 30-60 seconds after the vehicle is turned off.
Door handles
Exterior door handles can be finished in black, colour-keyed to the body colour, or in chrome.  If there is chrome and colour on the door handle, we evaluate it as a chrome door handle.
Door map pockets
A bin in the door can hold maps and other small objects, and is often paired with a bottle holder.
Downhill assist control
The vehicle maintains a slow speed when descending a hill, usually found on off-road capable 4WD vehicles.
Drag coefficient
A number used to describe how easily a vehicle moves through the air.  It can depend on the shape of the vehicle, the size of the tires and design of the grille, among other items.  The lower the number, the better the drag coefficient.
Driver (front passenger) folding armrest
Often found on vehicles without a centre console, the driver or front passenger seat has a folding armrest attached to the seat itself, rather than a centre armrest found on top of a centre console box.
Driver and passenger front air bags
A safety device designed to rapidly inflate when a collision is detected. The bag cushions the driver and passenger from hitting the interior surfaces of the vehicle, in addition to keeping them located properly so that other safety systems can do their job.  Air bags are inflated in less time than it takes to blink, and deflate quickly.
Driver assist interior rear mirrors
Small mirrors located in the upper portions of the roof so the driver can keep an eye on the passengers in the vehicle without turning around.  Usually found in minivans and large sport utility vehicles.
Driver attention alert
 A system that uses sensors in the steering wheel or a camera focussed on the driver to determine if the driver is getting tired.  The driver is warned through a combination of seat vibrations, warning lights, warning chimes and steering wheel vibration.   Also know as Fatigue alert
Driver or front passenger seat memory feature positions
A button allows the driver or front passenger, if equipped, to set a favourite seating position and have it stored to memory. When another driver changes the settings to their preference, the original driver can restore their settings by simply pressing a button.
Driver selectable programs
Examples of driver selectable programs are snow, mud, and sand settings, often found in SUVs.  It can also allow the driver to lock the differential in a four-wheel drive vehicle for better traction in deep snow.  It can be an ‘Econ’ or ‘Eco’ setting that will change transmission and engine settings for improved fuel economy.  A ‘Sport’ mode changes transmission and engine settings for more responsive driveline performance. For PHEV, HEV and EVs, this can include choosing electric mode only, gas/electric mode, Normal, Eco, Sport (e.g. Prius Prime).  We don’t count levels of regeneration or the ability to recharge the battery while driving for this feature (charge mode). 
Driver side monitor
A camera, often mounted on the driver’s side mirror, shows the area to the left of the vehicle.  Usually part of a system that includes other cameras around the vehicle to aid in parking.
Driver-side auto-dimming sideview mirror
The mirror becomes less reflective, usually triggered by the auto-dimming inside mirror, so that the headlights of the vehicle following do not dazzle the driver.
Driver-side illuminated visor vanity mirror
Lights that illuminate the driver and/or passenger when the vanity mirror is in use.
Driver-side sliding door
Instead of a hinged door, a sliding door runs on a track system, which requires very little room to the side of the vehicle, making it especially easy to get in and out of the vehicle in parking lots.  The door opening is usually much larger than a conventionally hinged door.  Usually found on minivans.
Drum brakes
Drum brakes use shoes that press against the inside surface of a drum.  The friction between the surfaces reduces the speed of the vehicle.  Drum brakes are generally recognized as not as efficient, and are more complex than disc brakes.
Dual trip odometers
Usually expressed as Trip A and Trip B, dual trip odometers can help track personal and business mileage.
Dual zone air conditioning
The driver and front passenger can set individual temperatures for their respective areas of the vehicle. Often credited with keeping marriages together.
DVD audio
The ability to play DVD quality audio in the vehicle.  A feature that fewer vehicles are offering with the demise of the physical media offerings.
DVD entertainment system
A saviour on many long family road trips, the entertainment system usually contains a number of TV screens combined with wireless headphones for use by rear seat passengers to watch movies and television programs on DVD.  Newer systems allow playing Blu-ray discs in addition to DVDs and attaching HDMI capable external devices(videogame consoles).  Some systems can be controlled through smartphone apps.
Electroluminescent gauges
Fully backlighted gauges give an upscale appearance to the interior of the vehicle.
Electronic brake force distribution
Helps balance the braking system depending on vehicle load.  If the system detects more weight in the back of a vehicle(forexample, increasing the weight of the trunk or cargo area), it changes brake pressure to the rear of the vehicle to account for the additional load, resulting in shorter stopping distances. Also known as Dynamic Brake Control (DBC)(BMW)irreverent
Engine block heater
A block heater is a small heating element that will warm the coolant in a vehicle’s engine. This makes it easier to start in winter and provides more heat, faster, to the vehicle’s occupants.
Engine compartment light
Illuminates the area under the hood, especially to make it easier to fill washer fluid at night.
Engine cylinders
Cylinders are part of an engine block. They contain pistons that move up and down, creating the power for the engine.  Traditionally, the more cylinders a vehicle has, the more power it makes.  However, in search of better fuel economy, manufacturers are moving to smaller, turbocharged engines that are more fuel efficient.  There is still a prestige value to more cylinders.
Extendable mirrors
Mirrors that can be pulled out for towing, and pulled back closer to the vehicle for regular driving.  Helps eliminate the need for separate, added on towing mirrors.
Exterior welcome lights
Also known as puddle lights or approach lights, perimeter lights positioned either at the door handle or under the outside mirrors illuminate the area around the door.  The improved visibility helps prevent stepping into a puddle or slipping on ice.  We also include this for vehicles that turn on their headlights when the keyless remote unlocks the vehicle, lighting a path to the vehicle at night.
Fender flares
Pronounced fenderextensions that help contain water, mud and snow from spraying the sides of a vehicles.  Can be black, grey, or colour-keyed to the vehicle’s body colour.
Fender lip mouldings
A moulding that accentuates the contour of the wheelwheel and offers some protection to the fender from stone chips.
Fibre trim
Fibre trim gives the interior of a vehicle the look and feel of a sports car by simulating the look of carbon fibre.  Variations include embossed patterns or actual carbon fibre.  Can be found on the doors, console, dashboard and steering wheel.
Fixed glass moonroof
Often found in conjuction with large, or panoramic moonroofs, a fixed glass moonroof increased the glass area of a roof on a vehicle.
Fixed rear armrest
A place to rest an elbow for the rear passengers.  This armrest cannot be folded out of the way.
Flip-up liftgate glass
The rear window found on some SUVs and minivans will open separately from the rest of the liftgate.
Flip-up liftgate glass remote release
The liftgate glass, when equipped, can be opened by using a switch on the instrument panel or keyfob.
Flip-up liftgate remote release
A button inside the vehicle or on a fob will unlock the liftgate on SUVs.
Floor mats
Help protect the interior carpets from outside debris.
Folding sideview mirrors
Allows the mirror to pivot closer to the body of the vehicle.   If the mirror is hit, it reduces the likelihood of damage by pivoting rather than breaking off.
Fore/aft adjustable rear-seats
The seats slide on rails forward and backwards. This can increase cargo space by moving the seats forward, or increase rear seat legroom by sliding the seats backwards.
Forward collision warning
Usually part of the adaptive cruise control system, forward collision warning provides a visual or audible warning alerting the driver that a collision might take place.  Some systems include automatic emergency braking to slow or stop the vehicle in advance of a collision to minimize the damage to the vehicle.
Four wheel anti-lock brakes
Anti-lock Brake System(ABS) pumps the brakes faster than humanly possible in order to help maintain steering control. It prevents the front wheels from locking up, often shortening braking distances, but primarily allow the driver to steer in slippery conditions.
Four wheel drive low range
Used in extremely low traction situations, often by dedicated off-road drivers.  It has a lower utility than 4WD Hi as it is rarely used by most people in everyday driving conditions.
Four wheel drive selector panel
Usually a dial or a push button, this panel is convenient and simplifies changing drive modes from 2WD to 4WD and often 4WD Lo.  Also for vehicles that can switch between AWD and FWD/RWD using a dial or push button controller.
Four wheel steering
Turns the rear wheels in sync with the front wheels at highway speeds and in the opposite direction at low speeds to assist in parking.
Front camera
A camera positioned at the front of the vehicle shows the area below the hood line that ordinarily can’t be seen from the driver’s seat.  This can help the driver park the vehicle by seeing how much space they have between their vehicle and the parked car.
Front fog lights
Auxiliary lighting to help illuminate the way ahead in adverse driving conditions.  They are usually placed low on a vehicle to undercut fog.
Front head restraints memory feature
The height and position of the headrest is stored in the vehicle’s memory system. When a different driver takes over, and the memory setting is activated the headrest returns to the new driver’s preferred setting.
Front passenger baby seat sensor
When properly equipped, a sensor in the baby seat communicates with the vehicle to deactivate the front passenger air bag.  This feature also tracks child presence sensors.  When the sensor detects a child in the front passenger seat, the front passenger air bag won’t inflate.  Transport Canada recommends that all children aged 12 and under ride in the back seat.
Front passenger seat cushion air bag
This air bag is designed to prevent the pelvis from sliding below the seatbelt, keeping the body in a proper position so the front air bag and seatbelt pretensioners work effectively.
Front passenger side occupancy sensor
A sensor that detects whether or not the front passenger seat is occupied.  If the sensor determines that it isn’t occupied, in the event of a collision the passenger side air bag will not inflate.
Front row inboard air bag
The air bag inflates between the driver and front passenger seats to help prevent the driver and front passenger from hitting each other in the event of a side impact, and to provide additional protection to the front passenger when the vehicle is hit on the driver’s side.
Front seat belt height memory feature
The height adjustment setting of the front seat belt is memorized by the vehicle memory system, and can be returned to the same position by touching the memory button.
Front side overhead air bag
An interior air bag mounted on the outboard headliner, it protects the driver and front passenger in the event of a side impact or roll over.  Found primarily in vans.
Front spoiler
A fairing added onto the front of a vehicle to improve the look and aerodynamics of a vehicle.
Front-wheel drive(vs. rear-wheel drive)
The front wheels drive and steer the vehicle.  Traction is enhanced in slippery conditions because the weight of the engine(inmost vehicles) is over the driven wheels.  The drawback to front-wheel drive is the demands made on the front tires, to both steer and drive the vehicle.  This is often the arguement on the merits of what handles better, a front-wheel drive vehicle or a rear-wheel drive vehicle.
Fuel economy feedback
Can consist of a dial or light that communicates when the vehicle is achieving its best fuel economy.  Can help modify driver behaviour to reduce fuel consumption.
Full size spare tire mounted on chrome wheel
When changing a tire, a full size spare means you can continue on your journey and get the flat tire repaired at your convenience.
Full wheel covers
A full wheel cover that improves the appearance of steel wheels.
G-force gauge
Measures the road holding or lateral acceleration of a vehicle. 1.0 g is the force of gravity at sea level.  If a vehicle is cornering and the lateral acceleration is 1.0 g, then the driver will be pushed as hard to the side of the vehicle as they are seated in the vehicle.
Garage door opener
By pairing a garage door remote opener to the vehicle, the remote no longer needs to be carried inside the vehicle.  Buttons on the inside of the vehicle are used instead to open the garage door.  This improves the interior appearance of the vehicle, and eliminates the need to keep a separate garage door remote in the vehicle.  Also known as HomeLink®
Glove compartment light
A light contained inside the glove compartment to light up the interior.
Gooseneck hitch
A gooseneck hitch is often found in the middle of a pickup truck’s flat bed.  It is used to tow large trailers and motor homes.
Grocery bag hooks
A spot to hang a grocery bag, keeping it upright to help avoid spilling the contents.
Hands free phone system
The ability to pair a device, usually a smartphone, to the vehicle wirelessly.  No physical connection to the vehicle is needed. Calls can be made and received using switches provided by the vehicle.  Also known as Bluetooth® capability
HD Radio
High Definition Radio provides a cleaner signal for better sound reproduction.  The system can also allow radio stations to broadcast more than one program at a time, while being tuned to the same station.
HDMI port
High Definition Multimedia Interface is used to move audio and video from video players and game consoles to the monitors in the vehicle.  By combining the audio and video in one cable, it’s easy to connect the systems together.  Past systems relied on at least three cables (two audio, one video) to connect a player to the monitor in the vehicle.
Headlight washer jets
Jets of windshield washer fluid spray the headlights to help keep them clean.  A great feature for rural owners.
Headlight wipers
Not as common as it once was, headlight wipers would help keep the headlights clean in rainy or snowy conditions.
Heads-up display
Speed, direction and other information is projected in front of the driver just out of the driver’s line of sight. The information is readily available and helps keep driver attention on the road, rather than glancing down at the instrument panel. Some drivers find a head-up display to be very distracting.
Heated cooled interior storage
Air vents direct heated or cooled air from the vehicle’s HVAC system to the glove box or centre console to keep these areas cool.
Heated front armrests
Elements in the armrest warm up the top of the armrest for greater comfort in cold weather.
Heated front windshield
An electrical current is passed through a special layer of material sandwiched in between the laminated layers of a front windshield to heat the surface without wires obscuring the driver’s view.  This is different than a heated wiper park, which usually has wires similar to a rear window defroster embedded in the lower front windshield area.  When activated, it heats the area of the windshield where the wipers sit to help prevent them from freezing to the windshield.
Heated headlight washer jets
In cold climates, the headlight washer jets are heated to help prevent them from icing up.
Heated seats
Elements in the seat cushion, and often in the seat back and sometimes in the side bolsters, heat the seat for more comfort in cold weather.
Heated sideview mirrors
A heating element helps keep the sideview mirrors clear in cold and inclement weather.  This feature is often activated when the rear window defroster is turned on.
Heated steering wheel
For frosty mornings, the steering wheel is heated to help take the chill off getting into a cold vehicle.
Heated windshield wiper park
A heating element, similar to a rear window defroster, is placed on the lower front windshield area.  Usually, when the defroster or heated mirrors are turned on, this element is turned on to help keep the wipers from freezing to the windshield.
Heated windshield-washer fluid
To help prevent clogging and freezing, windshield washer fluid is heated before being sprayed on the windshield. This can help defrost the outside of the windshield more quickly.  Not a common feature these days.
Height adjustable armrest
The height of the centre armrest can be changed for greater comfort.
Height adjustable seat belts
The pivot point for the seat belts, usually mounted on the B pillar, can be moved up and down to enhance driver and front passenger comfort.
Height adjustable seat belts power feature
The seat belt pivot point can be moved up and down using a switch rather than manual adjustment.
Height adjustable suspension
Allows the ride height to be varied.  Especially for the rear, the height can help compensate for heavy cargo or passenger loads.
High intensity discharge headlights
HID or Xenon headlights consist of a metal halide lamp that lights using an electric arc to provide light.  Xenon gas is used to balance the colour temperature of the light.  Expensive to replace, these lights are extremely bright.
Hill start assist control
The vehicle holds its position when on a hill, usually for a short duration(often 2 seconds) when the brake is released. This is especially convenient for manual transmission equipped vehicles to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards on a hill.
Hood deflector
A fairing added to the nose of a vehicle, usually at the front of the hood to help protect the hood from stone chips.
Horsepower is a measure of an engine’s power.   James Watt coined the term to try to compare the output of steam engines with draft horses.  Generally speaking, the more horsepower, the faster the vehicle.
Hydraulic hood prop
Gas pistons or springs are used to support the hood when opened, rather than a manual prop rod.
Illuminated entry
A light, usually a dome light, illuminates when the keyless remote is pressed, or when the driver’s door is unlocked.  After a short time, the light will go out.
Illuminated switches
Illuminated interior switches make them easier to find at night.  Often found on the steering wheel, door window switches and power lock buttons.
Immobilizer key system
Federally mandated, found on every vehicle sold in Canada, the key contains a unique code that is read by the vehicle. Without this code, the vehicle won’t start, helping prevent theft of the vehicle.  Not an extra cost option.
In-dash CD changer
By loading CDs into the system, a wide variety of music can be played. A feature that is rapidly disappearing.  Many vehicles no longer have CD players or changers.
Measures the degree of ascent and descent of a vehicle, particularly helpful with off-road vehicles.
Inside mirror memory feature
The inside mirror automatically moves to a pre-set position to suit the preference of the driver.
Instrument panel storage
A storage area, either an auxiliary glove box(inaddition to the actual glove box), cubby hole at the base of the centre stack(beneath the radio and the HVAC controls), that can hold small items.
Interior air quality system
By monitoring dust, dirt and other pollutants entering the air conditioning system, the vehicle can automatically put the system into a recirculation mode.  This recycles the air inside the vehicle, keeping the more polluted air out of the vehicle.
Knee air bag
Knee air bags are located below the steering column for the driver and below the glove box for the front passenger.  It’s designed to inflate when there is a front impact to help keep the driver and front passenger in the proper position so other systems (such as the front air bags) can work properly.
Lane departure warning system
A system of cameras monitors the lane markers on the road.  When the system detects that the vehicle is straying into the next lane, it sounds a warning for the driver to intervene and steer back into the lane.
Lane keeping assist
A system of cameras monitors the lane markers on the road.  When the system detects that the vehicle is straying into the next lane, it sounds a warning and will brake the wheels on the opposite side of the next lane or the median strip and/or provide steering input to actually steer the car back into its lane.  Also known as Lane departure prevention.
Larger rear tires
Improves handling, traction and braking. Is sometimes referred to as ‘stagger’.
LATCH child safety seat system
Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren is a system that makes it easier to mount a child safety seat in a vehicle.  Lower anchors built into the vehicle
Leather seating surfaces
Leather is used as the seating surfaces in a vehicle to add to the luxury look of the interior.  This is a premium interior over vinyl or cloth seats.
Leather wrapped dashboard
Through the use of leather and stitching, the dashboard helps provide a more luxurious appearance.
Leather wrapped gear shift knob
Wrapping a gear shift knob in leather adds a sporty appearance to the interior.
Leather wrapped parking brake handle
The parking brake handle is wrapped in leather rather than cloth or vinyl for an upscale interior appearance.
Leather wrapped steering wheel *
Sometimes accompanied by ‘baseball stitching’, a leather wrapped steering wheel adds to the luxury look of an interior over vinyl or other plastic steering wheel coverings.
Leather-wrapped transfer case shift lever
Found mainly in off-road oriented vehicles, the transfer case shifter (toshiftbetween four-wheel drive high, four-wheel drive low and two-wheel drive) is wrapped in leather for a more luxury look.
Leatherette interior
Not cloth, not leather.  Back in the 70s, we called this vinyl.  Internally we call it artificial cow.  Materials have been developed to give the appearance of leather without the demise of any bovines.  We see a gradual movement to leather-like interiors.  Also known as Alcantara, Softex.
LED headlights
Light Emitting Diode(LED) headlights are energy efficient and should last longer than conventional halogen headlights.  They provide a whiter, brighter light with very low energy consumption.
Light bar
An overhead light bar that is used in severe off-road conditions.  Usually added as an accessory.
Limited-slip differential front
Increases traction by limiting wheel slip in low friction situations. In FWD vehicles, it keeps one wheel from spinning by transferring torque to the opposite wheel.
Limited-slip differential rear
Increases traction by limiting wheel slip in low friction situations.  In RWD vehicles, it keeps one wheel from spinning by transferring torque to the opposite wheel.
Load leveling suspension
System automatically accounts for increased load, increasing safety, stability and ride comfort.  Often uses air springs, adjustable shocks to control ride height.
Locking rear differential
Used by off-road enthusiasts, it applies engine torque equally to both rear wheels when encountering low friction surfaces
Low speed follow
When equipped with the right hardware, the system allows the driven vehicle(often in stop and go traffic) to follow the vehicle in front.  This keeps the driver from constantly having to switch between the accelerator and brake pedals to maintain a proper following distance.  Also know as Distance control assist.
Lumbar support
Usually an air-bladder or manual bar that can be positioned to provide more support for the lower back area.  This can help prevent fatigue on long trips.
Manual driver or front passenger seat
Usually found in 2, 4 or 6-way configurations, this describes how many ways a seat can be manually moved.  Fore/aft, recline(forward/back) and height(up/down).
Manual flip up moonroof
A panel covering an opening in the roof that can be tilted or removed manually.
Manual mode shift feature
This feature mimics a manual transmission without needing a clutch.  The controls can found on the console or on the steering wheel itself. Also known as Sportmatic Shift(Kia).
Manual roll down second row windows
Found in minivans, the middle windows can be rolled down using a crank to improve air flow to the rear of the vehicle.
Map lights
Small, usually ceiling mounted lights that allow passengers to direct light to their immediate seat area.
Massaging seat
Seats that combine heat, vibration or ‘magic fingers’ to soothe sore muscles as you drive.
Mast antenna
A rod that is often positioned on the passenger side front fender that is used as a radio antenna to improve reception.  Usually found on pickups and some SUVs.
Memo pad
A recording function that allows the driver or front passenger to record notes for future use.
Memory feature for radio stations
The radio presets are memorized by the system and can be restored when the memory button is pressed.
Message centre
A display that can communicate vehicle status such as service intervals, icy road conditions, door ajar, tire pressure and summarize the status of fuel consumption, audio settings etc.
Metallic accelerator and brake pedals
Adds a sports-car feel to the vehicle.
Metallic door sill kick plates
Metallic coverings for the doorsills provide an upscale look as you get into a vehicle.
Metallic trim
Metal or metallic trim can add a sporty appearance to the interior of a vehicle.  Can be found on the doors, console, dashboard, shift knob and steering wheel.
Microfilter ventilation
A filter that traps dust and pollutants before they enter the passenger compartment via the air conditioning/heating system.  It is usually replaced periodically according to a schedule set by the manufacturer.
Moonroof one touch open/close
By pressing once on the control switch, the moonroof will either open or close.  This is an advantage over moonroof controls that have to be continuously held until the moonroof is completely closed.
Motion activated access
By waving a hand or foot, the vehicle unlocks or opens a door.  This is a handy feature when your arms are full of packages and you can’t get to the remote keyfob to unlock the vehicle or open a power hatch on an SUV or van.
MP3 playback capability
MP3 is a common audio format of music files.  Most vehicle audio systems allow the playing of MP3 files.
Navigation system
A system to guide the driver on how to get from point A to point B.  The mapping information that the system uses can be stored on DVD, hard drive, flash drive or be cellular based using cloud servers.  Built into the vehicle, it can also provide information such as flight departures and arrivals, the location of points of interest (fuel stations, restaurants, bank ATMs), the time it will take to arrive at your destination, the distance from the destination, among other features.  In addition to mapping the route, the system usually provides voice commands to reduce the distraction of the driver having to look at the map.
Night vision assist
Using a thermal imaging system, Night vision assist scans the road ahead, and reacts to the heat given off by objects.  A computer assembles the images that can be displayed on a monitor or projected in a head up display.  Can help prevent hitting poorly lit pedestrians or animals crossing the road.
Oil pressure gauge
Measures engine oil pressure.   An early alert to a loss of pressure can help reduce the chance of engine damage.
Oil temperature gauge
Measures engine oil temperature.   An early alert to increased oil temperature can help reduce the chance of engine damage.
On board telematics
A system that allows the vehicle to be monitored.  Types os services can be: for navigation services; a concierge that can place restaurant reservations; notify emergency services in the event sensors determine that the vehicle has been in an accident; notify the driver that the vehicle needs service; send the owner a vehicle diagnostics report on the automotive ‘health’ of the vehicle; among other features, depending on the manufacturer. The vehicle can do this one of two ways: using on-board cellular access, or by using the cellular capability of the driver’s cell phone.  Also known as On board telematics cellular assistance
One button open/close all windows
By pressing or lifting a single button, all the windows will open or close.  Sometimes the system allows a moonroof to be opened and closed with the same button.
One piece folding rear seat
A long seat that has a seat back that will fold down in one long piece to allow access to the cargo area.
Outside temperature display
Gives the temperature outside the vehicle.  Some systems also warn the driver when the temperature is approaching the freezing mark, alerting them to the possibility of black ice or slippery conditions.
Overhead storage bin
Usually found in the centre front roof area between the driver and front passenger, this is a spot often used to hold sunglasses.
Panic alarm
Usually a button on a key fob, a panic alarm will flash the lights and beep the horn to alert others that the user needs assistance.
Park assist
A system that monitors an available parking space, and assists the driver in steering and sometime braking, to successfully park the vehicle.  Some systems steer and brake, where the driver need only apply a bit of throttle to move the vehicle.
Passenger air bag cutoff switch
A switch found in some sports cars and pickup trucks that allow the driver to disable the air bag.  Used on vehicles without a back seat which necessitates the use of a baby car seat to be used in the front passenger seat.
Passenger footwell storage
A net, hook or bin that can hold small objects handy to the front passengers.
Passenger side monitor
A camera mounted on the passenger side of the vehicle can show the area immediately beside the vehicle.  A great feature to assist in parking the vehicle.  Can also be used to detect vehicles in the driver’s blind spot(HondaLaneWatch).
Passenger-side auto-dimming sideview mirror
The mirror becomes less reflective, usually triggered by the auto-dimming inside mirror, so that the headlights of the vehicle following do not dazzle the driver.
Passenger-side power sideview mirror
On vehicles that don’t include power mirrors on both sides of the vehicle, this mirror can be adjusted using power controls rather than having to reach across the vehicle to adjust the passenger mirror.
Passenger-side sliding door
A door, usually found on minivans, that slides rather than pivots.  This allows for a wider opening to make it easier for passengers to get in and out, and prevents the door from hitting adjacently parked cars.
Pedestrian detection
The system, sometimes tied into the Adaptive cruise control, can detect a pedestrian in the path of the vehicle.  Depending on the system, the car will either automatically brake, slow the vehicle down, or sound a warning that there is a pedestrian ahead.  Also known as object detection
Pelvic air bags
Seat mounted air bags that protect the pelvis area.  They are mounted below the normal seat mounted side air bags.
Picnic table
A small table that is kept in the cargo area of SUVs and minivans that can be taken out and used for picnics.
Power adjustable foot pedals
A switch often located on the lower left of the driver’s seat allows the accelerator and brake pedals to be moved forward and back to suit the position favoured by the driver.
Power adjustable foot pedals memory feature
The preferred position of power adjustable foot pedals can be memorized by the system.  When a new driver enters and changes the settings, another driver can restore their settings with a touch of a button.
Power assist door closer
When a door is almost closed, the power assist will cinch the door closed completely.
Power door locks
Activated either through a door switch or a remote fob, all doors will lock without the occupant having to press individual switches on every door.
Power driver side sliding door
Found on vans, this feature includes a switch and motor to easily open and close the sliding side door(s).  Look for switches handy to the driver as well as the rear seat passengers for ease of use.  The power feature should include a safety reverse in case, as the door is closing, something or someone is in the path of the door.
Power driver’s seat or power passenger’s seat
Usually found in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12-way configurations, this describes how many ways a seat can be moved using power switches.  Fore/aft, recline (forward/back), seat pan tilt, which also incorporates height(frontup/down) and(rearup/down), side bolsters(in/out), thigh support(in/out).  Sometimes power controls are supplemented with manual controls, often for thigh support.
Power folding rear seat
The seatbacks can be raised and/or lowered using a power switch.
Power folding sideview mirrors
At a push of a button, the mirrors fold up close to the vehicle.  A great feature to help damage when parking in close quarters.
Power front head restraints
The head restraints can be raised and lowered using a system of switches and motors to suit the driver and front passenger.  Can sometimes be tied into the memory system of a vehicle so that the positions can be changed to suit different drivers.
Power front windows
A feature found in coupes where the rear windows are fixed, power front windows denotes just the driver and front passenger window being power operated.
Power hatch pull down
When a hatch is almost closed, the pull down feature will cinch the hatch to its closed position automatically.
Power lift gate window up down operation switch
The rear window can be raised and lowered either by putting a key in a slot in the rear liftgate, from a button on a remote key fob or by a button near the driver’s seat.  Usually found in SUVs.
Power liftgate window up down operation fob
The rear window can be raised and lowered either by putting a key in a slot in the rear liftgate, from a button on a remote key fob or by a button near the driver’s seat.  Usually found in SUVs.
Power liftgatewindow
The rear window can be raised and lowered either by putting a key in a slot in the rear liftgate, from a button on a remote key fob or by a button near the driver’s seat.  Usually found in SUVs.
Power lumbar support
A power switch increases and decreases the amount of support from a lower back seat bolster.
Power moonroof
A panel covering an opening in the roof that can be tilted or retracted using an electric switch.
Power moonroof shade
A cover for a moonroof that can be retracted with an electric switch.
Power parking brake actuation
The parking brake is set by pressing a button, rather than a foot operated pedal or a hand operated lever.  Can sometimes be automatically released when the driver accelerates, unlike a manual lever which will keep the parking brake on, increasing wear.
Power passenger side sliding door
By pressing a button near the driver or the passenger door, the door will slide open automatically.  A great feature when dropping children off who then forget to close the door behind them.
Power rear head restraints
The head restraints can be raised and lowered using a system of switches and motors to suit the rear seat passengers.
Power rear liftgate
On SUVs and mini-vans, the rear liftgate is raised and lowered either with a motor driven strut or powered lift pistons. This makes it easy to raise and lower the liftgate with a touch of a button, the key fob, or with hand-free access.
Power rear sunshade
A motorized blind that covers up the rear windshield, to reduce sun load and glare on the rear seat passengers.
Power reclining rear seatbacks
Power controls change the seat back tilt for increased comfort.
Power remote sideview mirrors
Power controls allow the driver to tilt and pivot the sideview mirrors to suit their preference.
Power running boards
Deploy when a door is opened, and retract when a door is closed to provide a cleaner look to the side of a vehicle.
Power sliding rear window
Using a switch located near the driver, a panel in the rear window can slide open to increase airflow in the passenger compartment.  Can sometimes be utilized to carry long objects.  Saves the driver from having to reach around or get out of the vehicle to open the window.
Power steering
This feature reduces the effort needed to turn the steering wheel.  Almost every vehicle sold now has power steering, but a few specialty vehicles may not have it.
Power telescoping steering wheel
A power switch moves the steering wheel towards and away from the driver to position it for greatest comfort.
Power third row head restraints
The head restraints can be raised and lowered using a system of switches and motors to suit the third row passengers in minivans and SUVs.
Power tilt out rear quarter windows
Often found on minivans and SUV, the rearmost side windows can be pivoted open to improve airflow to the back of the vehicle, usually by a switch or switches located near the driver.  Saves the driver from having to manually open and close the windows.
Power tilt steering wheel
A power switch moves the steering wheel up and down to suit the driver.
Power trunk
A switch, when pressed, will open the trunk to its full height.  Some vehicles allow the trunk to be closed by the same switch, others do not, with safety in mind.
Power trunk pull down
When the trunk is brought to an almost closed position, the pull down will close the trunk the rest of the way.  A feature that prevents slamming a trunk lid shut.
Power windows
By pressing down or pulling up on a switch, the windows will roll down or up.  Replaces the manual crank on each window, making it much easier to close up the vehicle before locking it.  Entry level vehicles, to save cost, will often not be equipped with power windows.
Pre-crash seat belts
When the system senses that an impact is imminent, the seat belts will tighten around the vehicle occupants, reducing the slack to improve the performance of the belts.
Premium audio system
A system that has more than 250 watts of power.  Most standard audio systems are under this level.  Premium systems often have brand names such as Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Harmon Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Kenwood, Meridian, Rockford Fosgate, Pioneer and Sony, among others.  They can feature high performance sound reproduction, active noise control, subwoofers for superior bass reproduction, tweeters for better high frequency reproduction, and a better quality of speaker magnet to improve overall sound quality.
Premium shock absorbers
Usually brand name shocks, (Bilstein, Rancho) often suited for performance or off-road vehicles.
Privacy glass B pillar back
Dark tinted glass in the rear windows of a vehicle help to keep the vehicle’s interior cool while also reducing sun load on rear passengers.
Privacy glass B pillar back
A dark tint on the rear windows and rear windshield reduces glare and sun load on the rear seat passengers.  Also provides some security to valuables left in the rear of the vehicle by making it more difficult to see inside.
Proximity key
Known by many names[Keyless Go(Mercedes-Benz), Comfort Access(BMW), SmartKey(Toyota), Keyless Access(GM), Intelligent Access(Ford), Proximity Key(Honda) ], Passive entry system, the vehicle senses the presence of a fob carried by the driver.  By pressing on a small button on the door handle or by pulling on the door handle, the door will open without pressing a button on the fob to unlock the vehicle.  A great feature when your arms are full of packages.
Push button start
Eliminates the need to insert a key into an ignition cylinder.  The system is often used in conjunction with a Proximity key.  The system detects the proximity of the fob, and allows the vehicle to start once the button is pressed.  Some vehicles with push button start do not use the Proximity key system.  The fob needs to be inserted into a slot, which reads the presence of the fob, then the push button start will work.
Quick charge port
Enables an electric vehicle to charge at 3-4 times the rate of a Level 2 charger.
Radio Data System
RDS displays the driver with the radio station, call number and often the song title and artist on an AM or FM station.
Radio prewire
Found in the most basic models, the radio prewire makes it easier for a dealer to install a radio in a vehicle.  Usually found on entry level trucks and vans.
Rain sensor controlled wipers
A sensor in a module mounted on the windshield(often by the rear-view mirror) detects the frequency of rain drops on the windshield. This information is used to vary the wiper speed.
Rear air conditioning
A system where the rear passengers can control the temperature of their area of the vehicle.  It can also be referred to as a ‘tri-zone'(driver, front passenger, rear passengers) or ‘quad-zone’  (driver,front passenger, right rear passenger, left rear seat passenger).
Rear air conditioning heater controls
Gives the rear seat passengers the ability to control the temperature of their seating area.
Rear air skirt
A faring added to the lower rear of a vehicle to enhance the appearance of a vehicle and sometimes added to improve aerodynamic performance by improving air flow as it exits the back of the vehicle.
Rear armrest storage
A drawer or bin within the armrest to store small objects.
Rear audio controls
A set of controls for the rear seat passengers to control the audio system in the vehicle.  Can usually be locked out in minivans and SUVs in favour of the front seat passengers.
Rear auxiliary storage
A bin or other storage area within the passenger compartment that can hold small objects.
Rear bench seat
A long seat, which holds two or three people, similar to a couch or sofa in style.
Rear captain’s chairs
Individual seats, often found in SUVs and minivans that are separate from adjacent seating.
Rear cargo area parcel shelf
Often a moveable shelf that can be positioned to hold another tier of cargo.
Rear centre console
A small bin between the rear passengers that can hold small objects.  Often topped with an armrest.
Rear cross traffic alert
A system that, when backing up, warns the driver with audible sounds and/or warning lights that a vehicle is passing by the rear of the vehicle.
Rear fog light
A bright rear tailight to help improve the visibility to following vehicles when the fog lights are turned on.  Often found on Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen vehicles.
Rear folding armrest
A cushioned spot to rest an elbow that can be folded out of the way to allow a middle seat passenger.
Rear folding split bench seat
A long seat that is split in the middle to allow the seat back to be folded, increasing cargo space.  Common configurations are 60/40, 40/20/40 and 50/50 ratios.
Rear heat ducts
Mounted in the B pillar or on the roof of the vehicle, rear heat ducts provide additonal ventilation to the rear of the vehicle.
Rear power moonroof
A second panel covering an opening in the roof that can be tilted or retracted using an electric switch.
Rear seat convenience tray
A fixed, flat tray between the rear seat passengers that can hold small objects.
Rear seat fold flat capability
Once folded, the rear seat backs align with the cargo area surface, resulting in a flat floor for loading.  Credit is also given if the slope of the rear seat backs is minimally different than the cargo area floor.
Rear seat heater ducts on console
Vents located at the rear of the centre console increase airflow to the rear seat passengers without needing to open a window.
Rear seat occupant alert
A system that alerts the driver that there may be a person or pet in the back seat of a vehicle.  The system may remind the driver with a message to check the rear seat, and/or honk the horn and flash the lights if it detects movement in the back of the vehicle.  Hundreds of children in North America have died as a result of being trapped inside vehicles on hot days.  This feature could save a child’s life from a momentary lapse in judgement.
Rear seat reminder
Rear Seat Reminder does not actually detect objects in the rear seat. It works by monitoring the vehicle’s rear doors. If either rear door is opened and closed within ten minutes before the vehicle is started, or if they are opened and closed while the vehicle is running, the feature is intended to activate.
Rear spoiler
A wing shaped add-on found on the trunk or top of the liftgate to add a sporty appearance to a vehicle and sometimes to help manage airflow for better aerodynamic performance.
Rear sunshade
A blind located on the rear windshield that can be raised and lowered to reduce sun load on the rear seat passengers.  Often power operated because of a lack of accessibility.
Rear view monitor
A camera mounted on the back of the vehicle allows the driver, using a monitor mounted either on the dashboard or in the rear view mirror, to see the area immediately behind the vehicle.  This aids in parking, and allows an additional check for objects behind the vehicle before backing up.
Rear wheel anti-lock brakes
Allows vehicle to keep brakes from locking under light load; system is rarely seen now with four-wheel anti-lock brakes as standard on almost every vehicle sold.
Rear wind deflector
A rear faring that directs air onto the rear windshield to help keep it clear of snow and water.
Rear window defroster
Thin wires are laminated to the rear window.  An electrical current running through the wires heat the windshield, helping to remove ice and fog from the inside and outside of the rear window.
Rear window side sunshades
Similar to blinds, these shades can be pulled down(or pulled up from the bottom) on a window to reduce the amount of sun coming through the side window glass. The blinds are perforated so that the driver can still see out while checking their blind spot during lane changes or while parking.
Rear window wiper
A wiper on the rear of the vehicle helps keep the rear window clear of water and snow.
Reclining rear seatbacks
The rear seatback can be tilted forward or backward to suit the comfort of the rear seat passengers.
Remote fuel door release
A lever that, when pulled, opens the fuel filler flap. Often located right next to the driver’s seat on the floor.
Remote fuel door release power feature
A button, often located on the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel or on the driver’s door, that when pushed, opens the fuel filler flap.
Remote keyless entry system
Usually activated by a small fob, the keyless entry system allows the driver to unlock or lock all doors without entering the vehicle.
Remote locking tailgate
Found in pickup trucks, the tailgate will lock when the keyfob is pushed or when the door locks are actuated.  Tailgates, until recently, needed to be locked manually by inserting a key into the lock cylinder located on the tailgate.
Remote release tailgate
By pressing a button on a fob or by means of a switch inside the vehicle, the tailgate will fold down.
Remote trunk release
A lever that, when pulled, opens the trunk. Often located right next to the driver’s seat on the floor.
Remote trunk release power feature
A button, often located on the dashboard to the right of the steering wheel or on the driver’s door, that when pushed, opens the trunk.
Remote vehicle starter
The ability to remotely start a vehicle using a key fob or a companion app.  Great for warming up or cooling down a vehicle before entering.
Removable media reader
We use this feature name as a catch all for USB ports.  Can the vehicle accept a USB drive and play audio/video from it?  Can you connect your phone to the vehicle using this port?  If the answer is yes, then we award that feature to the vehicle.  Very few vehicles are sold without USB ports.  We are now seeing USB-C ports that are becoming more common being installed on vehicles.
Retractable hard top roof
A retractible steel or composite roof, divided in sections, that can be lowered to allow for open air motoring.
Reverse sensing sonar system
Sensors placed at the rear of the vehicle cause a beep to be emitted inside the vehicle’s cabin as the vehicle slowly approaches objects such as parked cars. As the vehicle gets closer, the frequency of the beeps increases, until the sound is a solid tone.  This indicates that the driver should stop.  This is different than Sonar parking assist, which has sensors on the front and back of the vehicle, rather than only the back.
Roof mounted storage basket
A container that increases cargo capacity, often used for dirty or wet cargo that helps avoid soiling the interior of a vehicle.
Roof mounted wind deflector
A faring, often in front of a moonroof, that directs air above the moonroofopening.  This is used to help reduce wind noise inside the vehicle, resulting in a quieter ride.
Roof rack
Rails that run from the front to the back on both sides of the roof of a vehicle.  Most manufacturers have accessories that can be tied to these rails to increase cargo capacity, or for specialty items like bicycle racks.
Roof rack cross bars
Bars that run across the roof of a vehicle from one side to the other.  Often used in conjuction with the roof rack, if equipped, cross bars help increase the cargo capacity of a vehicles.
Run flat tires
Improves safety by reducing the need for a road-side tire change.  Usually adequate when flat for driving up to 80 km/h until the tire can be repaired or replaced.
Running boards
Assist in getting into and out of the vehicle.  They are usually found just above the side sills of a vehicle and provide a step up and step down, especially in trucks and SUVs.
Running boards illumination
Lights either on the side or above the running boards illuminate the step up area into the vehicle.  A great feature for use at night for surer footing.
Safe exit system
As a door is opened(usually on the driver’s side), an alert is sounded to warn of an oncoming vehicle or cyclist.  Some systems prevent the door from being opened into the path of the oncoming vehicle, others provide an audible warning.  We see wide spread adoption of this feature in the future.
Satellite radio
A radio system that transmits signals from ground stations to satellites, which then send the signals back down to earth.  This varies from regular AM and FM signals that are broadcast from towers to the surrounding geographic area of approximately 50-100km.
Satellite reception prewire
Factory provided harness to make it easier for a dealer to install a satellite radio receiver in a vehicle.
Seat belt pretensioners
Designed to reduce the forward motion of the driver and front passenger, pretensioners inflate when a vehicle is in a frontal collision, and tighten the seatbelt to restrain the driver and front passenger.  Load limiters allow a bit of slack in the belt to prevent injury from the belt tightening.  Some vehicles are equipped with rear seat belt outboard pretensions.
Seatback map pocket
A pouch on the back of the seat can hold maps, magazines and other thin objects.
Seatbelt mounted air bags
Air bags that inflate in the seatbelt itself, which increases the belt’s surface area, helping to distribute the forces of the impact over a wider area of the body to help reduce injury.
Second row power windows
A feature found in some minivans, where the second row windows might be fixed on some, manual roll-down on others, or power controlled for more convenience.
Shark fin antenna
A small fin antenna usually found at the rear of the roof. This antenna is often used for satellite radio reception.
Side curtain air bags
Side curtain air bags drop out of the ceiling to help prevent injury in a vehicle roll-over situation or in the event of some side impacts.
Side moulding
Helps protect the appearance of the side of the vehicle by absorbing the impact usually from doors being opened from adjacent vehicles in a parking lot.
Side sill extensions
Fairings that are added on to the sides of a vehicle, between the front and rear wheel, to improve aerodynamics or the cosmetic appearance of the vehicle.
Side step rails
Often tubular in shape, the rails provide a step up into vehicles such as SUVs and pickup trucks.
Side-impact air bags front and rear
Side impact air bags are found in the outboard seating positions of a vehicle. They are designed to inflate in the event of a side impact.
Sideview mirror mounted turn signals
Turn signals mounted on the exterior mirrors give an upscale appearance to vehicles and help inform other drivers of an upcoming turn.
Sideview mirrors
Exterior mirrors that provide a view to the rear of the outside of the vehicle. They can be finished in black, colour-keyed (either body colour or a contrasting colour) or chrome.
Sideview mirrors memory feature
The outside mirrors move to a predetermined position often controlled by a button near the driver’s seat.  Once set, the mirrors will always return to that position when the button is pushed.
Sideview mirrors reverse tilt
When a vehicle is put in reverse, the outside mirror or mirrors will tilt down to help guide the driver, especially in parking lots.
Single disc CD player
Allows for the playing of a single compact disc.  Sometimes hidden behind navigation screens.  A feature that is on the decline.
Ski bag for trunk pass-through
As skis or other long objects are passed through from the cargo area into the passenger compartment, a bag helps contain any dirt or debris that might have collected on the objects helping keep the passenger area clean.
Sliding centre armrest
The centre armrest can be moved fore and aft for greater comfort.
Sliding rear window
A panel in the rear window can slide open to increase airflow in the passenger compartment.  Can sometimes be utilized to carry long objects.
Smartphone companion app
An app developed by the vehicle’s manufacturer, that allows the driver to, depending on features, use their smartphone to start the vehicle, warm up the vehicle, locate the vehicle in a parking lot, open and close windows, lock the vehicle, among others.  The vehicle needs to have internet access for these features to be enabled.  Some manufacturers offer apps that use WiFi, which means you need to be very close to the vehicle for the system to work.  Check that the system you’re purchasing has cellular access.  The cellular access might be an extra cost option.
Smartphone integration
Plug your phone or pair it to your vehicle, to access features using your vehicle’s controls for things like phone calls, playing music or sending hands-free text messages.  Also known as Smartphone telematics link
SMS messaging
The ability to send a short message using the vehicle’s on-board systems.  This isn’t as important as a few years ago, when Apple CarPlay and Android Auto didn’t exist.  Vehicles often had preset messages that could be sent via the driver’s phone, but using the vehicle’s interface to choose and send the message.  The system often could be used totally hands free, controlled by voice recognition.
Solar panel
A panel that contains solar cells, providing solar power to recharge the vehicle’s battery.
Sonar parking assist
Sensors placed at the front and the rear of the vehicle cause a beep to be emitted inside the vehicle’s cabin as the vehicle slowly approaches objects such as parked cars. As the vehicle gets closer, the frequency of the beeps increases, until the sound is a solid tone.  This indicates that the driver should stop.  This is different than Reverse sensing sonar system, which only has sensors on the back of the vehicle, rather than the front and the back.
Spare tire cover
Keeps an exterior mounted spare tire clean.
Speakers transmit the sound from the audio system. The frequencieshumans can hear is from 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz.  Speakers in vehicles usually reproduce frequency ranges from 50 htz to 20,000 htz.
Speed-sensitive audio volume
As a vehicle speeds up, tire, wind and engine noise generally increases.  This feature increases the audio volume to compensate for the increased ambient noise.  Similarly, when the vehicle slows, the audio volume decreases.  A great feature that you’ll especially notice if the vehicle is NOT equipped with speed-sensitive audio.
Speed-sensitive power steering
Varies the effort to turn the steering wheel, usually based on vehicle speed.  At low speeds, the wheel is easy to turn, to aid in parking maneuvers, and effort increases at highway speeds where only small steering inputs are needed to change lanes and navigate the roads.
Speed-sensitive wiper feature
As the vehicle speed increases, the wipers wipe faster.  Often, when stopped, the wipers will not wipe the windshield, but start up again as soon as the vehicle accelerates.
Splash guards
Helps prevent stones from marring the underside of a vehicles.
Stability control
By changing engine power, braking individual wheels, or a combination of both, the system helps stabilize the vehicle while turning.  This helps the driver maintain control especially in slippery conditions.  Known under a wide variety of names: In Vehicle Stability Assist(Acura, Honda), Electronic Stability Control(Audi,Dodge, Kia), Advancetrac(Ford), StabiliTrak (GM),VehicleStability Management(Hyundai), ,  Vehicle Stability Control(Lexus, Toyota), Dynamic Stability Control (Mazda),
Stabilizer bars(front and rear vs. front only)
Stabilizer bars help keep the vehicle from rolling excessively from side to side while cornering.  Also known as anti-roll bars(Ford)
Steering column memory feature
Often tied together with seat memory, the steering wheel position is memorized and returned to the memorized position by pushing a button.
Steering wheel audio controls
Gives the driver the ability to control the audio system without removing their hands from the steering wheel.  Volume, media selection, track selection are some of the controls available, depending on the model.
Steering wheel mounted climate controls
Using buttons on the steering wheel, the interior temperature of the vehicle can be controlled.
Steering wheel mounted shifter controls
Many automatic transmissions come with a’manual mode’ to simulate the experience of driving a standard transmission equipped vehicle.  The manual mode is sometimes made available to the driver by pulling or pushing on switches on either side of the back of the steering wheel.  These are oftener referred to as’paddle’ shifters.
Straight driving assist
Helps keep the vehicle on the road, between the lines.  When cruise control is activated, the system senses when the driver is trying to keep the vehicle in the centre of a lane, often made difficult by an uneven road surface.   The system applies a slight counter steering force to help keep the vehicle centred.
Streaming audio from device
Not Netflix or Hulu.  This feature allows a passenger to wirelessly stream music from their smartphone or tablet.  No physical connection to the vehicle is needed.  Also known as Bluetooth® streaming audio
A speaker that reproduces sound below 50 Htz.  These frequencies are very low.  Subwoofers specialize in deep bass tonal reproduction.
Sun visor extension/slider
The visor can either slide along its rail or, equipped with a small extension, can be used to block sunlight coming in through the driver or front passenger’s side window.
Sport utility vehicle.  Classed as a light truck by Natural Resources Canada, with a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 2,722 kg(6,000 lb.) for Small SUVs and 2,722-4,536 kg(6,000-10,000 lb.) for Standard SUVs.
Gives the engine revolutions, usually per minute, that an engine turns.  Helpful in shifting a manual transmission equipped vehicle, and adds a sporty look to the instrument panel.
Tailgate lock
Almost all pickup truck tailgates are removable. The ability to lock a tailgate can help keep it from being stolen.
Telescoping steering wheel
The steering wheel can be adjusted by releasing a lever and moved towards the driver and back towards the dashboard to suit the driver.
Third row seating
A third row of seats increases passenger capacity.  Often best suited for children as legroom and headroom are usually much smaller than in the rear seats.
Three point rear centre seat belt
Helps protect the back seat middle passenger from injury.  Not always available on smaller vehicles.
Tilt out rear quarter windows
Often found on minivans and some SUVs, the rearmost side windows can be pivoted open to improve airflow to the back of the vehicle.
Tilt steering wheel
The steering wheel can be adjusted by releasing a lever and moved up and down to suit the driver.
Tire pressure monitor system
A system to alert the driver if tire pressure is low.
Tire ratio, width to height (the middle number, eg P245/50R17
The 50 indicates that this tire size’s sidewall height is 50% of the tire’s width.  Lower sidewalls have lower ratios, higher sidewalls have higher ratios. Lower profile tires improve appearance and the smaller sidewall reduces flex and squirm, improving handling
Tire repair kit
The ability to repair a tire instead of replacing it with a spare tire.  Manufacturers, to save weight (and cost) are eliminating spare tires, and providing a kit to re-inflate a flat tire.  This kit won’t repair a tire that has damage to its sidewall.  Meant to get you to the next town, not meant for permanent repairs.
Tire width (e.g.245vs. 155)
A tire with a size of P245/50R17.  The’245’denotes that the tire is 245 millimetres wide.  Wider tires are more expensive to produce, improve vehicle stance and increase traction.
Tonneau cover
A cargo cover to hide objects kept in the cargo area.
Tool kit
A set of tools allowing the driver to perform basic repairs on a vehicle.  Often mandatory on European vehicles.
Top view monitor
The ability, through the use of cameras located on each side of the vehicle, to see the vehicle as if there was a camera positioned high above the vehicle.  This aids in parking the vehicle, and can help avoid low speed collisions by helping the driver confirm that the way is clear.  Also known as AroundView Monitor(Nissan/INFINITI), SurroundView monitor(Hyundai/Kia), Surround view camera system(Acura), 360 degree monitor(Mazda), Birds Eye View Monitor(Toyota),Wide-view Front, Rear and Side Monitor System
Torque is a force that produces a twisting or rotating motion.  It’s what gives a vehicle’oomph’when you step on the accelerator.
Total energy kWh
Size of the battery in EV and hybrid vehicles, in kilowatt hours
Tow hooks
Front or rear hooks that can be used to help extract a vehicle from a situation where there is little traction.
Towing capacity(in pounds)
The capacity of a vehicle to tow a trailer, in pounds.  Sometimes supplementary equipment (trailer brakes, wiring harness) is needed to achieve the stated towing capacities.
Traction control
Through a combination of braking individual wheels, reducing engine torque and changing transmission speeds, the traction control system can help limit wheelspin, enhancing vehicle control.  Also known as Anti-Slip Regulation (Audi)
Trailer hitch
A mount used for towing a trailer.  Towing capacity varies with every vehicle.  We use this description for towing capacities fro up to 3,500 lbs.
Trailer hitch prewire
Manufacturers will often include wiring for trailer brakes and lights so that these systems don’t have to be added after purchase.
Transmission oil temperature gauge
An overheated transmission will not perform well can cause damage to the internal parts.  A gauge can alert the driver to increasing oil temperature, helping to reduce the chance of damage to the transmission.
Trip computer
Provides essential data such as instant fuel economy, average fuel economy, distance you can drive until you run out of fuel, the amount of time driven, the distance driven and average speed.
Trunk mounted CD changer
A CD changer mounted in the trunk instead of the dashboard allows the vehicle designer to provide more storage space at the front of the vehicle, or to give more space to other amenities.  Increasingly rare feature, being made obsolete with the widespread adoption of smartphones.
Trunk pass-through
Usually placed behind a rear seat armrest, a small opening in the seatback allows long objects to be passed through from the trunk/cargo area into the passenger compartment.
Two speed plus fixed intermittent wipers
Found on entry level vehicles, the windshield wipers will work at two fixed (slow and fast) speeds and a fixed intermittent(say, one wipe every five seconds) speed.  Not as convenient as variable intermittent wipers.
Two stage unlocking
By pressing once on the unlock button on a keyfob or by turning a key in a door lock cylinder once, only the driver’s door will open.  By pressing on the button or turning the key a second time, all of the doors will unlock.  Often this feature can be programmed to suit the needs of the owner.
Two tier centre console
A second tray in the front console storage box can hold small items.  This can be a removeable tray or a second level to the storage console.
Two tone exterior finish
Through the use of two different exterior colours, the outward appearance of a vehicle is enhanced.  This feature is a matter of taste; some people like it, others don’t.  We recognize that there is extra cost in manufacturing to add a second colour and include it as a value item.
Two tone interior finish
Varying the interior colour scheme using contrasting tones gives the interior an  upscale appearance.  Often panels on the doors or dashboard are used to break up the monochromatic interiors found on many vehicles today.
Two way tailgate
The tailgate on a vehicle that can be folded down, or opened by a hinge on the side.
Underseat storage tray
A small container that can be pulled out from underneath a seat can hold small objects.
Universal Serial Bus, used to connect smartphones, tablets and other devices to the audio/video systems of vehicles.
Vacuum cleaner
A vacuum cleaner built into the vehicle helps the driver to keep the vehicle clean.  Usually found in minivans.
Variable intermittent wipers
Allows the driver to set a wiper speed dependent on conditions; faster when the rain is falling harder and slower when it’s just a light mist.
Vehicle security system
Helps keep the vehicle from being stolen, through a combination of an alarm that sounds (horn honks, headlights flash), a glass breakage sensor, a sensor to detect if the vehicle is being towed away.  Any or all of these items could be found on a vehicle.  Sometimes the security system is available as a factory option, or can be dealer installed.
Vehicle security system prewire
Factory installed harness that allows the dealer to easily install a security system.
Ventilation odour control
The air conditioning system air is treated by a system that can remove odours.  This can be with an ionizer or similar technology which helps remove odours before they come into the passenger compartment.
Visor vanity mirror
Usually found on the underside of a sun visor, the mirror allows the driver and/or passenger to check their appearance before exiting the vehicle.
Voice recognition system
Enables vehicle systems to be controlled by the user’s voice.  Depending on the system, the driver can control the radio, make phone calls, turn the heat up and down, and set destinations with the navigation system.
Volt meter gauge
Measures the amount of voltage in the electrical system.
Walk away door lock
After the driver leaves the vehicle, the vehicle automatically locks. The driver doesn’t need to press any buttons on a keyfob or a door handle.
Wheel diameter(the third number in P245/50R17)
In the example P245/50R17, the 17 denotes the diameter of the wheel rim in inches.  Larger wheels generally improve the appearance of a vehicle.  It often includes a lower profile tire, which can improve handling on some vehicles.
Wheel locks
Help prevent wheels and tires from being stolen. By using a unique key for one nut on each wheel, the nut cannot be removed with a conventional lug nut wrench.
WiFi hot spot
Allows the vehicle passengers to share the cellular data network in the vehicle via WiFi.  This can be done a number of ways.  The cellular phone of the driver can be plugged into the system and the data on the phone is supplied to the rest of the vehicle.  Or, a subscription cellular plan supplied by the manufacturer is distributed in the vehicle, keeping the data hungry occupants from depleting the driver’s data bucket.  Also known as Local area networking
WiFi tethering
use data from  your phone to feed the local network in your car
Window auto down
The window will roll down with a single press of the switch, rather than holding the switch down.  The window switch must be continuously pulled up to roll the window closed.
Window auto up/down
The window will roll down with a single press of the switch, rather than holding the switch down.  Similarly, by tugging up once on the bottom of the switch, the window will roll up, rather than holding onto the switch until the window is closed.
Window grid antenna
Embedding the radio antenna in the window glass eliminates the need for a separate mast antenna.  This improves the appearance of the vehicle and can eliminate wind noise generated by the mast antenna.
Wiper activated headlights
When the windshield wipers are turned on, the headlights will illuminate.  The system assumes that because there is precipitation, visibility is reduced.
Wireless headphones
Usually found with family entertainment systems, these headphones wirelessly connect to the entertainment system without the need for cables.
Wireless induction charging
A pad or area in the vehicle that will charge compatible phones and other devices without plugging them into the vehicle with a cable.
Wood tone trim
Wood accents can add an air of luxury to the interior of a vehicle.  Often found on the doors, console, dashboard and steering wheel.  We include Piano black (glossy black appearance) in evaluating for wood-tone trim.  Can also include actual wood interior accents.