Automobiles are motor vehicles used for transportation. Most automobiles are powered by internal combustion engines, usually using a volatile fuel such as gasoline or diesel fuel. Some older automobiles were electric; they used a generator to produce electricity which powered an electromagnet which turned the wheels of the car. The modern automobile is a complex technical system with many subsystems which have specific design functions. It has become one of the most important inventions in human history. It changed the way people work, live and play. It also created new jobs, industries and technologies such as the assembly line. It also brought cities closer together and ended rural isolation. It changed social attitudes, allowing women to drive and to work outside of the home and to vote and participate in society. The automobile also made it possible to move food and products from one country to another, changing the world economy.

The earliest automobiles were steam-powered wagons in the late 18th century. These were slow, heavy vehicles. By the end of the 19th century, improved steam engines and Henry Ford’s mass production techniques had brought these cars within reach of middle-class Americans. Ford’s Model T was the most popular automobile of this time. It was a good quality, affordable automobile and it helped put America on wheels.

Today, automobiles come in many different sizes and shapes. Some are very sporty and some are very practical and family-friendly. Some are designed for off-road use and require extra strength and durability. Others are designed for high-speed travel and require optimized engine performance, passenger comfort options, safety features and vehicle stability.

Some of the major changes to the automobile in recent years include advances in electronic control systems, fuel-efficient engines, lightweight materials such as aluminum and steel, high-strength plastics, advanced alloys of metals, and the use of hybrid electric and all-electric drive systems. These advances have led to a huge number of new automobile models being introduced. It is estimated that there are more than 70 million automobiles in use worldwide.

Passenger cars are the most common form of automotive transport. They are designed for passengers and have seat belts to keep the occupants safe in case of a crash. Many have air conditioning and radios to make the ride more comfortable. They have a trunk for storage and most have rear windows to let in air. Some have two doors, while others have four. Some have a hatchback or station wagon body style and are called coupes. SUVs are an alternative to a sedan and are often considered more rugged and off-road capable.

BMW is the top rated car brand this year with an overall score of 82 points. Subaru is next with a score of 80. These brands stand out because of their combination of excellent road-test scores and predicted reliability. They are also known for their premium interiors and luxury features. Other top-rated brands include Honda, Hyundai, Porsche and Cadillac.