How to Compare Car Specs Side by Side

by Louise Balle

When you're in the market to buy a new car, it isn't a very good idea to consider only one type of vehicle. You have to comparison shop to ensure that you are really getting the best deal in price, safety and utility. There are many different specs and features of a car that you can compare side by side, but these are some of the most important things to examine when you're deciding which car is best for your needs.

Look at each vehicle's fuel economy. How many miles does each car get on the highway and in the city per 1 gallon of gas?

Look at what type of engine each car is built with. How many liters and cylinders does it have? The more liters, the more powerful the car. Larger cars usually require a higher number of cylinders to be able to move efficiently. Determine each car's horsepower, which is also a measure of how powerful it is.

Compare the safety features of each car on your list. For example, are there driver- and passenger-side airbags? Are there frontal and side airbags? What about curtain airbags to protect the head? Does the vehicle come equipped with an alarm system? Are there child safety door locks?

Look at the car's transmission type. Is it automatic or manual (stick shift)? If it's a stick, is it a five- or six-speed manual overdrive?

Find out what additional features come standard with the car, such as a CD player, subwoofer, heated seats or sunroof. Are leather seats optional or standard? What type of tires come with the car?

Compare the manufacturer's suggested retail price of each car with standard features.

Find out which colors (both interior and exterior) the cars you are comparing come in. Some models of cars may not come standard with the specific color you are seeking.

Determine the number of people the vehicle can seat comfortably as well as its trunk capacity. If you have a large family you'll obviously want something to accommodate everyone.


  • check When doing a car comparison, don't compare a car against a truck or van because the specs will most likely vary greatly. You will get the best results by comparing two similarly sized cars.

About the Author

Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.