Glossary
Base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) The price on the Monroney label (window sticker) affixed to the vehicle before any features, options, taxes, or destination charges are added to the price.
Category 1 Truck

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs), small and medium pickup trucks, minivans, and small and medium passenger and cargo vans with a GVWR less than or equal to 8,500 lbs.

Small and medium pickup trucks are defined as having a wheelbase less than or equal to 115 inches, and small and medium vans are defined as having a wheelbase less than or equal to 124 inches.

Note that the wheelbase used to determine truck category by the CARS program is the shortest wheelbase for a given nameplate (e.g., Ford F-150) and may not correspond to your vehicle's actual wheelbase, especially in the case of trucks with extended cabs.

Category 2 Truck

Large pickup trucks and vans with a GVWR less than or equal to 8,500 lbs. Large pickup trucks are defined as having a wheelbase greater than 115 inches, and large vans are defined as having a wheelbase greater than 124 inches.

Note that the wheelbase used to determine truck category by the CARS program is the shortest wheelbase for a given nameplate (e.g., Ford F-150) and may not correspond to your vehicle's actual wheelbase, especially in the case of trucks with extended cabs.

Category 3 Truck

Trucks, vans, and SUVs with a GVWR greater than 8,500 lbs. and less than 10,000 lbs.

These vehicles do not have EPA fuel economy ratings.

Combined MPG

The new combined city/highway MPG rating is used to determine a vehicle's fuel economy for the CARS program. For trade-in vehicles, the official New Combined EPA MPG ratings as published at CARS.gov and in the Find a Car section at fueleconomy.gov are the only ones that may be used. For new vehicles, the Combined MPG rating on the window sticker is the official MPG.

MPG label showing Combined MPG rating
Fuel economy sticker showing EPA Combined MPG rating

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)

The maximum allowable total weight of a vehicle when loaded, including the vehicle itself plus fuel, passengers, cargo, and trailer tongue weight. This is a fixed weight specified by the manufacturer.

You can typically find your vehicle's GVWR (1) on the standard certification label that appears on the frame or edge of the driver’s door in most vehicles or (2) in your vehicle's owner's manual.

Sticker showing Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
Sticker inside driver-side door showing GVWR of 6,008 lbs.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) shown in owner's manual
Owner's manual showing GVWRs of 5,000 lbs. for the 2WD version and 5,350 lbs. for the 4WD version of a vehicle

Manufacture Date

The month and year during which the vehicle was manufactured. This can be found on the safety standard certification label that appears on the frame or edge of the driver’s door in most vehicles.

Certification label showing manufacture date of April 2004
Sticker inside driver-side door showing manufacture date of August 2004

Note: Some 1984 model year vehicles may not meet the 25-year requirement. For these vehicles, please check the manufacture date. Model year 1984 vehicles manufactured in the same month or later in the year than the month you trade your vehicle meet the 25-year requirement.

Medium Duty Passenger Vehicle (MDPV)

A vehicle with a GVWR greater than 8,500 lbs. and less than 10,000 lbs. that is used primarily for transporting passengers. These vehicles are designed to seat 9 or fewer passengers behind the driver or designed with a seating capacity of 12 persons or less

Passenger Car

An automobile designed primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways manufactured primarily for transporting 10 or fewer persons, excluding automobiles capable of off-highway operation that

(A) has a significant feature (except 4-wheel drive) designed for off-highway operation, and

(B) is a 4-wheel drive automobile or is rated at more than 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.

Vehicle Category

The CARS program classifies vehicles into one of four categories to determine eligibility and incentive amounts:

Vehicles not included in one of these four categories are not eligible as a trade-in or a new vehicle.

Wheelbase

The distance between the centers of a vehicle's front and rear wheels.

Illustration of how to measure wheelbase
Wheelbase is measured from the center of the
front wheel to the center of the rear wheel.

Note: The CARS program determines truck category based on the shortest wheelbase for a given nameplate (e.g., Ford F150, Toyota Tacoma) rather than the actual wheelbase of the trade-in.

For example, the 2009 Chevy Colorado has two wheelbase lengths: 111.3 inches for regular cabs and 125.9 inches for extended cab and crew cab versions. However, all 2009 Chevy Colorados are assumed to have a wheelbase of 111.3 inches and are classified at Category 1 trucks.