What Is the Model of a Car?

What Is the Model of a Car?When it comes to certain things like insurance, purchasing a vehicle, and other technical or legal undertakings, it's essential to be able to identify the model of your car upon request. Knowing this basic step about car identification will help smooth out the way for all your future car endeavors. So what is the model of a car? We have the answer for you!

The model of your car is what helps differentiate your car type from others made by the same manufacturer. For example, when you take a Subaru Forrester and a Subaru Outback, Forrester and Outback are the models.

Let's go over a few other things, like how you can find that information, and hopefully answer some of your other questions. Keep reading to find out more!

What is the Model of a Car?

Forrester, Outback, Mustang, Corvette, Suburban. Each of these names is attached to vehicles that are just as iconic as the companies that made them. Easily recognizable and with individual reputations that have been built and respected by thousands, model names represent a certain level of individuality that makes identification and needed personalization more easily achieved.

To help assist in your understanding, we'll use a metaphor. Let's take pizza, for example. Many different companies make pizza, and they each offer their flavors and exclusive perks when it comes to ingredients or preparation.

Where cars have Chevrolet, Toyota, and Nissan, pizza will have Dominos, Papa John's, and Little Caesars. And where Chevrolet has the Chevy Silverado, Dominos has their Pacific Veggie. The big brand name is what's known as the "make," and the individual products made by that specific manufacturer are the "models."

Big manufacturers provide different models of cars to cater to a broader audience. Just like some people prefer pepperoni to cheese, there exist large groups of different people who have a variety of preferences when it comes to cars.

Take Chevrolet, or "Chevy," as they are commonly known. Four of their standard models include the Chevy Cruze, the Chevy Equinox, the Chevy Suburban, and the Chevy Silverado. While they are all made by the same manufacturer, each of these cars, or different models, serves the purpose of catering to individual crowds.

The Chevy Silverado, for example, is a truck, where the Chevy Cruze is a small, classic four-door car. Distinctions between models made possible by different names help manufacturers and dealerships keep a more efficient inventory, track purchases, and make accurate sales projections.

How Do You Find Out Your Car's Model?

But why should you care about the model of your car, and if you don't already know what it is, how can you find out?

Knowing the model of your car can help you out quite a bit. That particular piece of knowledge helps you do specific research on your car or cars you are interested in. While this may sound trivial, it's an important thing to factor in. Knowing your car model can help you accurately find repair shops that cater to your car, discover if they have the parts you need, buy parts for repairs that you can carry out yourself, and several other different things that can make your life easier.

So, where can you find this information? There are several ways. The easiest is the back exterior of the car, where the model is displayed near the bumper, or in the corner of the outside of the trunk.

This information can also be found in places like the owner's manual, on the license and registration forms typically located in your glove box, and the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). The vehicle identification number can be found in many different places in your car and is listed on your vehicle's registration.

Popular Car Model Examples

Color Red Chevrolet SIlverado

If you have a favorite make of car, more than likely, you're going to have specific models that you like as well. Here are some examples of specific models that may be familiar, with the model bolded for easy identification.

  • Subaru Forester
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Ford Mustang
  • Nissan Frontier

What Is Car Make?

The make of the car is similar to the model of the car, in that it's one of the primary descriptors used to identify cars. Consider the phrase "make and model," generally said in that order. That rule applies when identifying cars, and is an easy way to remember which is which.

For example, the Toyota Corolla. The make and model rule states that the make is Toyota and that Corolla is the model. The make, most simply put, is the manufacturer. It's a big, overarching title, and the models are comprised of smaller categories that fit underneath.


  • Dodge
  • Chrysler
  • Jeep
  • Porsche
  • Ferrari

What Is Car Trim?

Yellow Ford Mustang

Now that you understand make and model, there's a final category that you can use to narrow down your results further, and that's the car trim!

Car trim is essentially a descriptor used to specify which make and model that you have covering the different features that the car has, as well the year that the make and model of the vehicle in question was released.

The trim description can include things like the number of cylinders, whether the car is an all-wheel drive, and the size of the vehicle if there are slightly different sizes of the same make and model.


Here are a few examples of the same make, model, and year, to more effectively illustrate which segment of the title is the trim, bolded for emphasis.

  • 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X
  • 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X Limited
  • 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium
  • 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5X Touring
  • 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Premium
  • 2013 Subaru Forester 2.5XT Touring

Why It Matters

When it's all said and done, why do you need to know the make, model, and trim of your car? While you may still be able to do things like driving your car and filling it with gas without much of that knowledge, there are things that you won't be able to do unless you know the specifics of your car's make, model, and trim.


For example, different kinds of cars will have different coverage. More expensive vehicles and cars with a higher rate of crashes and accidents will have a more expensive insurance plan that you'll have to may. You're going to need to know your car's make, model, and trim to purchase insurance.

While your chosen insurance company can certainly help you figure out what kind of car you own, if you know that information ahead of time, you will save yourself and the insurance company you have decided to work with a lot of time and energy.


When you go to the DMV to register your car, you're going to need to provide many different kinds of paperwork and proof of identification, which will include verification of identification for you and your car. This means that you're going to need to be able to accurately identify your vehicle by providing the make, model, and trim of your vehicle to the DMV.

Car Sale and Purchase

Due to the nature of registering your car and finding correct insurance for it, when you are looking to buy or sell your car, you are going to need to be able to correctly give or look for the make, model, and trim of the vehicle in question. This will provide either you or the person interested in buying your car the best idea of what it will cost them to insure the vehicle. With this information and the vehicle identification number, you may also be able to find more of the history of the car, providing you with an idea of the kind of maintenance and repairs the car has undergone.

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