Automobiles are vehicles that use an engine to drive wheels, allowing passengers and cargo to travel long distances more comfortably than can be achieved on foot or by using public transportation. They are also capable of reaching places that would be inaccessible to other vehicles, such as mountainous areas and deserts. The automobile is a complex technical system with many different parts and subsystems working together to make it work. The basic systems include the engines, powertrain, chassis, and suspensions. The arrangement and choice of these parts and subsystems depend on the car’s intended use. For example, a vehicle designed for road racing requires more powerful engines and fuel than a family sedan used for local driving.
The invention of the automobile has profoundly changed human life in countless ways. It opened up new work opportunities and allowed people to move around the world in a way never before possible. Whole societies have been restructured around the freedom of long-distance movement that cars allow and the flexible distribution of goods made possible by trucks. It has given the average person the ability to reach faraway places and shop for their needs at any time, resulting in greater personal freedom and wider social circles.
Having a car allows you to visit distant relatives and friends, to see more of the country you live in, or even to travel abroad. You can travel to a beach, visit the mountains or go shopping in a large city. You can take your children to school and after-school activities without having to wait for a bus or train or worry about missing the next one. It is true that driving can be dangerous if you do not follow the rules of the road, but this is a risk that you will take whenever you leave your house.
Automobiles are available in many different sizes and shapes, allowing you to choose the car that suits your lifestyle and budget. If you need a small car, a compact sedan like the Toyota Corolla or the Honda Civic can give you excellent gas mileage and passenger space for your money. If you are interested in a midsize SUV, the Ford Expedition or the Chevy Tahoe rank high for reliability and offer cargo space. If you want a sporty car, the Mazda CRX and Subaru Impreza have a good reputation for performance.
There have been many attempts to build an automobile, but none succeeded until Henry Ford developed the assembly line. His innovation brought the automobile within the range of middle-class Americans, and his Model T made it affordable to millions of families. Leonardo da Vinci drafted theoretical designs for automobiles in the 15th century, and French engineer Joseph-Nicolas Cugnot built the first steam-powered and electric vehicles a couple of centuries later. However, the modern automobile is generally credited to Karl Benz from Germany, who created his Benz Patent-Motorwagen in 1885/86. He used a four-stroke internal combustion engine.