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An Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system attempts to prevent a vehicle from spinning or sliding by applying the brakes to the necessary wheels to try and correct an inadvertent loss of traction. It makes use of an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

Fading Brake Support (FBS) is a system offered by Volvo to reduce brake fade and maintain pedal feeling.

A Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) car is one where the power from the engine is distributed only to the front wheels. The rear wheels simply roll along behind as the car accelerates.

Hill Hold Control (HHC) is a system that holds the car stationary when facing up a hill – such as a motorway ramp.

Hyundai TRACtion (HTRAC) is a traction system developed by Hyundai which splits the power from the engine between the front and rear wheels depending on where it is needed for any given driving situation.

A head-up display is named for the fact that it allows a driver to keep their head up and focused on the road while simultaneously being able to view vehicle information. This is achieved through a lighting system that projects information onto the windscreen of the car which is semi-transparent so as not to take away from the driver’s ability to see the road. Some models project the information onto a small transparent screen in front of the windscreen instead.

The common definition of a hybrid car is one that uses a traditional petrol engine combined with an electric motor (or set of electric motors) to provide power for the car.

The Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) is a Volvo system that assists the driver by processing information in the car. If the system perceives that a driver is in a driving situation that requires a lot of attention – such as approaching an intersection or parallel parking – then the system can delay incoming phone […]

Infotainment is a term used to describe the information and entertainment system inside a car.

ISOFIX refers to the international standard for the attachment points for child safety seats in cars. In the US it’s often referred to as LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children).

Lane departure assist can refer to one of two systems – either a system that warns you when you are about to exit your lane unexpectedly, or a system that combines the warning feature with autonomous steering to actively keep you inside your lane.

MPVs are designed to carry up to around seven people in comfort and safety. They are normally smaller than a van, but larger than the average sedan or station wagon/estate, with a high roof which makes it easy to take loads in and out of the car while giving all passengers plenty of space inside.

Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) is Fiat’s version of an Engine Drag Torque Control (EDTC) system.

A New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) is an assessment organisation in a specific region which crash tests new cars to determine a safety rating for each vehicle based on a number of variables.

A PEPS (Passive Entry, Passive Start) system allows you to open the doors and start your car without needing to take the key out of your pocket or bag.

The term power-to-weight ratio refers to how much power a car has relative to its weight.

Powertrain is a word to describe the parts of a car that generate power and deliver that power to the ground to propel the car forward. In regular cars this includes the engine, gearbox, drive shaft(s), differential(s), and the wheels. In electric and hybrid vehicles the powertrain also includes the battery pack and electric motor as well.

A Ready Alert Braking (RAB) system anticipates when the driver might be about to make a sudden stop and prepares the brakes in case they are required.

Remote start enables you to start your vehicle without being inside it. Remote start systems are either operated by a button on the key fob or an app on your phone. At the press of a button your car will turn itself on and start running which can be a huge benefit in the UAE during the hotter months as it allows you to get the car running with the air conditioning going before you even step outside. Different systems work in slightly different ways – the traditional form of remote start requires you to have a line of sight with the car and be within 50-100m of the car, while more modern systems allow you to start the car using your smartphone from anywhere in the world.

A Roll Movement Intervention (RMI) system detects when a vehicle may be on the verge of rolling and takes corrective action through usage of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system to try and ensure that the vehicle remains upright.

A Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) system is where the power from the engine is sent to the rear wheels of the car only. The rear wheels then push the rest of the car forward with the front wheels only being used for steering and braking.

This German phrase refers to a tail light setup where all four of the tail light functions – tail lights, indicators, brake lights, and reversing lights are all contained within a single housing and controlled by a single electronic unit.

The Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) is (as the name suggests) a side impact protection system developed by Volvo. It uses advanced vehicle construction techniques combined with airbags to protect occupants against a side impact.

Every car on the road has a degree of speedometer error. In a standard setup where the car has not been modified the speedo will always read a speed that is slightly higher than the actual speed that the vehicle is travelling. Manufacturers deliberately design the system in this way to ensure that the speedo never reads a speed lower than what the car is actually travelling. This is done for both safety reasons and so that the manufacturer cannot be liable for speeding fines incurred by the driver.

A supercharger is a device that forces air into the engine to enhance performance. It operates in a very similar way to a turbocharger, and in fact a turbocharger is actually a form of supercharger (and used to be called a turbosupercharger) but the term “supercharger” in modern automotive use is generally accepted to refer to a supercharger that is mechanically driven (by a belt, chain, gear etc. unlike turbos which are driven by air flow).

An SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) is traditionally a large, five-door vehicle with off-road capability.

A Traction Control System (TCS) can work in a number of different ways but the end goal is always the same – to stop a wheel (or wheels) from slipping unintentionally, helping the car to maintain grip.

Sorry to all you American readers – we’re using the international spelling of tyre for this one! A Tyre-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) constantly monitors tyre pressures and will generally alert the driver if the pressure in any tyre drops below a pre-determined level.

Trim Level is a term that refers to how well-equipped a certain car model, or sub-model is.

A Traffic-Sign Recognition (TSR) system uses cameras and image-processing software to recognise various traffic signs.

A turbocharger (more commonly known simply as a turbo) is a device that forces air into the engine to enhance performance.

Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) is another name for an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system.