Car Make vs. Car Model – What You Need to Know

The make and model of a car are key when it comes to working out the value of a vehicle - both when it’s new and for later resale. Knowing the make and model of a car before purchasing helps buyers to identify a fair price for their new ride and makes sure the current owners also get a fair deal.

There are multiple factors that play a role in determining the value of a new or second-hand car but these tend to be the most important ones. Other crucial things which can affect the value of a vehicle include:


  •     Model year

  •     Trim level

  •     Body style

  •     Mileage on the clock

Understanding how these influence value helps car owners identify the best insurance rates as well as knowing the approximate value of the vehicle.

Car Make

A car’s make is the name of the brand that manufactures the car. Under that brand, most car manufacturers will produce multiple different models and styles of vehicle, all of which will be known by the brand name as well as the model name.

Popular car makes include Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, Honda, Mazda, Subaru and Tesla.

Many car manufacturers operate more than one brand name under the umbrella of the same parent company, so the make of a car is not always the overall manufacturer which is where it can become confusing. An example would be Volkswagen, which manufactures cars under the Volkswagen brand but also owns a series of luxury car brands including Porsche, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley and Audi.

Car Model

The car model refers to the specific car bought from any brand. Car models are most often distinguished by initials or names, such as the BMW X7 or the Ford Fiesta. In those examples, X7 and Fiesta are the model names, while BMW and Ford are the brand or make.

Many specific car makes have become well-known as a standalone name and most people will recognize the type of vehicle from the model alone.

These include iconic cars like the Ford Mustang, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Charger and Volkswagen Beetle, which are more often referred to as the Mustang, Wrangler, Charger and Beetle.

Differences Within a Single Car Model

While the make and model of car will tell owners a lot about the vehicle, there are various other factors which can affect price points. Most vehicles come with a variety of different trim levels, which are additional modifications, features and qualities.

The base trim level is the most basic version of the car and the buyer can then opt to add in extras such as heated seats, blacked out windows, increased engine performance, better suspension, different fabrics and materials for the interior or increased luggage space.

The base model will always be the most affordable variation and each trim level attracts a higher price point as it comes with more desirable features.

Cars of the same model may also be offered in several body styles, such as coupe, sedan or hatchback, convertible, wagon or SUV, with the same basic features but a unique shape and look. There are also variations within the same body style. For example, the Jeep Wrangler is an SUV but there are two-door, three-door and five-door versions, with hard tops and soft tops.  

Differences Between Model Years

Each model of car from any specific manufacturer can also be differentiated by the year it was produced. Car manufacturers add key upgrades to their models every few years.

This means a car from 2018 may have additional safety features, different trim levels or increased fuel efficiency when compared to the same model from 2013. The model year helps buyers and sellers to know the exact features they can expect.

When purchasing a car of a certain make and model, buyers can be assured that most of the basic specifications will be the same across the series. But the newer the car the more modern technology it will be kitted out with.

The latest edition of a car model is often available to buy several months before the calendar year its listed. For example, buyers were able to purchase a 2018 Honda Civic brand new from late summer in 2017.

When is it Important to Know?

Buying and Selling Cars

The car make and model is hugely important when it comes to knowing the resale value of your car. Additional features, extra trim levels and different body styles are also key factors in determining a sale price.

When buying or selling a car, it is important to know all the different factors that affect value to be able to determine if the car is priced fairly. Different trim levels can make a huge difference to the potential value of a car.

Within a single model, the difference in value between the version with the base trim and the version with top level trim can reach as high as around $40,000.

Insurance Implications

The make and model of a car can have financial implications that go beyond the purchase price. Insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine car insurance premiums. Some of these are based on the driver and some are based on the type of car.

Drivers with a poor driving record will find their insurance becomes more expensive. The model year can affect the price of insurance as older cars may attract higher premiums as can cars with bigger engines and sport editions, which tend to be faster.

There can also be variations across brand names – many insurers will offer lower premiums for drivers of cars manufactured by brands with a history of being safe and reliable.

How to Check Your Car Make, Model, Model Year and More

The make and model of any car can be identified through the vehicle identification number, or VIN. This 17-digit number is usually found on the driver’s side of the car where the dashboard meets the windscreen. Searching for this number will bring up the make, model year, equipment specifications, manufacturing location, body style and other information key about the vehicle.

Buyers can also learn a lot about the type of vehicle from a quick visual inspection. The badging on the exterior of the car identifies the make and often the model. This information is also listed on the registration  for the vehicle.

Finding the Right Make and Model for You

The best make and model of any vehicle comes down to personal taste and budget – there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Being informed about the make and model helps car buyers to ensure they are paying a fair price, and car sellers to set a realistic price point for vehicles.

Echo Park specializes in selling almost new vehicles at the most competitive price points for the make and model, saving customers money when buying and offering fair prices for trading in or selling an older vehicle.

The type of vehicle being bought or sold affects the value – some people are willing to pay more for additional trim levels and features, while others are happy to accept base models for more affordable prices.

Essentially, knowing as much as you can about different car makes and models before you shop for or sell a car leaves customers in a much stronger position.

Why Buy from EchoPark?

When you buy a used car from EchoPark you can choose from a huge variety of different makes and models to suit every budget.

With so many used cars to choose from with less than 50,000 miles, whatever your needs are, you’ll be able to find the right vehicle for you at the perfect price.