What is the difference between the make and model of a car?

I’ve been doing some research on new cars because I’m hoping to buy one soon, but I keep getting the names mixed up. It seems like there are a million different Hondas on the internet, and each one has slightly different features! How can I tell the difference between a car’s make and model?

Samuel Todd · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
I get it—these days, there are so many makes, models, and trim levels online that it can be hard to keep them all straight. Simply put, the make of a car is the car brand (for example, Honda) and the model is the specific type of car within that brand (for example, Civic).
Here are a few more examples of popular makes and models:
  • Toyota (make) Camry (model)
  • Chevrolet (make) Silverado (model)
  • Nissan (make) Altima (model)
It gets even more confusing when you start adding trim level into the equation! Trim level determines how many extra features you add, and sometimes affects the styling and performance of a vehicle.
To revisit our earlier example, the Honda Civic comes in a bunch of different trim levels. So, if you see a Honda Civic LX Hatchback, that means that you’re looking at a specific kind of Honda Civic (the Honda Civic EX Sedan is another type).
Putting it all together, we get this:
  • Honda (make) Civic (model) LX Hatchback (trim level)
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