Automobiles – The modern automobile is a complex machine with thousands of individual parts that work together to do one thing: get the car moving. The basic systems of an automobile include the chassis and the engine, both of which depend on many other components to function properly. The chassis is the framework to which are attached the wheels and steering assembly, the suspension, and the body. The engine is the powerhouse of an automobile, turning the wheels through friction. Fuel, such as gasoline, diesel or kerosene, goes into the engine and is burned to produce combustion energy, which in turn powers the pistons to move the wheels. The engine also provides coolant and lubrication. Some engines are electric, and some are hybrids that combine a traditional gas-powered engine with an electric motor to operate the wheels.
The automobile has radically changed life in the modern world, enabling people to travel to jobs and places of recreation quickly. Automobiles can carry more than one person and their luggage, and they are far faster and more convenient than bicycles, motorcycles and buses. They can reach areas that are inaccessible to other wheeled vehicles because of bad roads or rugged terrain, but they also consume more fuel and can cause pollution.
Passenger cars are the dominant mode of transportation in most nations, and manufacturers offer hundreds of models in a wide range of sizes and shapes. The market for sport-utility vehicles is expanding, and new formats like electric cars are attracting interest. Consumer Reports ranks automobile brands based on a variety of factors, including road test scores, assessments from owner satisfaction and reliability surveys and safety results.