Cars are all about degrees of quality and features. Most cars have some form of edition–usually indicated by two or three letters at the end of the model. For example the Honda Civic LX is a particular edition of the Honda Civic. Do these letters actually mean anything? Here is a guide to knowing what youre looking at when these letters seem to be floating everywhere.
Typically the letter markers represent the differences in features and, sometimes, the luxury of the car. This also usually ends up corresponding to price. Some of the higher end brands of cars use these letters to feature things like comfort features and luxury items within the car. In the past, letter and number suffixes beside the car model would tell something about the engine and transmission for performance reasons. An example of this is the GT, or grand touring. Many of these are still included in the model of the car but dont always say anything about performance.
Some car manufacturers put out a series of vehicles that are represented by the letters following the model. For example, Subaru released WR and WRX cars–the WRX corresponding to a turbo engine. Some of the letter sequences are self-explanatory, like LX, GX, and DX. The first usually indicates luxury; the second natural gas fuel; and the last typically means deluxe.
The luxury and deluxe editions dont always mean that much either since they often only indicate one or two minor features that dont appear in other editions. Depending on the age of the car this may be something as minor as leather seats and a sunroof. While these are sometimes considered luxury features, they dont add to the performance of the car. On higher end makes of cars, the letters do often reflect performance capabilities.
Letters like SS and SE usually relate to particular editions, such as super sport or special edition. Likewise, LTD means limited, though the car is most likely not that limited. If anything seeing LTD on the car probably means limited in some other sense–like limited performance. In any case, car manufacturers invent some of these designations for purely marketing reasons to attract buyers with the prospect of something limited, luxurious, or deluxe.
The real point to take away from all of those acronyms trailing the car model is that they dont mean much for performance and may be meaningless altogether. There are some instances, however, where the automotive nomenclature indicates something about the mechanics of the car. A number sequence may say something about the exhaust and transmission to speak of performance. Luxury cars like Jaguar, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche frequently use letter and number sequences as performance markers for the particular model.
Whatever weight one puts on the letters and numbers on the back of the car, purchasing a car based on these indicators is a good way to screw yourself over. When looking at cars, research the performance and value of the car thoroughly before basing your search on criteria like GTO and LX. It may very well be true that these markers indicate something important or exclusive about features and performance, but dont buy the car purely on appearance of luxury or performance–research, talk to people, and test drive.
This article was written by Ben Vaughn who loves writing about all things automotive. He has researched the many different makes and models of cars and has had personal experience in researching what auto body repair Salt Lake City residents trust the most.