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1998 BMW 750iL

A full-size car is a marketing term used in North America for an automobile larger than a mid-size car. In the United States, the EPA uses "large car" to denote full-size cars.

Full-size cars are usually denoted for their length, nearing 5,000 mm (197 in) in basic sedans, with luxury models often tending to reach 5,250 mm (207 in). Previously, a wheelbase greater than 2,790 mm (110 in) was the criterion. The term first appeared in the early 1960s to define what also became known as "standard" size cars from the new compact and intermediate models then being introduced.[citation needed] Full-size is also defined in space measurement as greater than 3,300 L (120 ft³) of interior volume.[1]

A "large family car," the equivalent of a full-size car class in Australian terms[citation needed], often denoted by width[citation needed]. Therefore, the Ford Falcon, Toyota Aurion and Holden Commodore are considered large cars in the Australian and New Zealand markets. These cars are sometimes referred to as "family cars" in Australia, and are typically 4,800 mm (189 in) or more in length.

In Europe, the terms "executive car" and "luxury car" may refer to cars of this size (which are mostly luxury cars), such as the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, and Jaguar XJ.


Decline and renaissance

The sales of full-size vehicles in the United States declined after the early 1970s fuel crisis. By that time, full-size cars had grown to wheelbases of 3.07 to 3.23 m (121 to 127 in), and overall lengths of around 5.72 m (225 in). In the 1970s due to the fuel crisis and the resulting rise in fuel costs, many people traded in their full-size cars for smaller models such as the Chevrolet Nova, Ford Maverick, and Plymouth Valiant, also it was during this time Japanese cars such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic gained popularity. American Motors discontinued its full-size AMC Ambassador in 1974; starting in the late 1970s, the other American automakers began selling full-size cars with smaller exterior dimensions and smaller, more fuel efficient engines. That, combined with gas being cheap once again in the 1980s, full-size cars regained popularity.

Chrysler discontinued its full size cars (Dodge Diplomat, Chrysler Fifth Avenue, and Plymouth Gran Fury) in 1989. General Motors discontinued its full size cars (Chevrolet Impala/Caprice, Buick Roadmaster, and Cadillac Fleetwood) in 1996. As of 2008, Ford still sells its full size Panther platform cars (the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car), retaining the 1979 dimensions, as the scion of the traditional Ford full-size line.

SUVs have supplanted full-size car sales through the 1990s, due to the fact they maintained rear wheel drive and many had optional V8 engines, and that full-size station wagons have been all but discontinued.

Now that fuel costs are high once again, people are looking towards today's more efficient vehicles. These include automobiles such as compact and mid-size vehicles powered by smaller, more efficient engines. American-brand full size sedans such as Buicks, and luxury full-size Deville DTS are still best-selling in the full-size segment. However, there is a serious attack on full size from promoting agencies, trying to replace the size with price range. Thus, for instance, a review like the one from USA News, named "Best luxury large cars of 2008" (see a link below) has included only one large car (Cadillac DTS) and all others are really mid-size cars. This is mostly because, in Europe, full-size cars have only recently gained in popularity. During the 1980s, full-size cars were rare in Europe, but now they have become a common sight. In Germany, full-size cars make up 15% of the total number of cars (VDA annual report), however, this number includes likely mid-size cars as well.

List of full-size cars

Current full-size cars

An asterisk denotes a car available with 6-passenger seating

Recent full-size cars

See also


External links

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