Let’s get off on the right foot here – size does not matter.

But, have you ever wondered what those numbers mean on the back of your car?

No, not your registration plate, the smaller number often positioned next to your car’s model name.

These numbers usually describe the size of your engine.

Engine sizes are a big part of insurance pricing, so we want to guide you through what engine size to look for, and a few other considerations you should look out for when buying or insuring your car.

Let’s start at the beginning…


What does ‘Engine Size’ mean?

Well, it is generally said that engine size means how powerful your car is – and to some degree that is true.

But what it actually means, factually, is how much capacity the engine has (a measurement of the total volume of the cylinders in your engine).

This will just mean that it has more space for fuel and air – which are essential components of your engine.

Without going deep into the engineering of your car, your engine will suck in air through your intake valves, as the fuel is injected. A spark ignites this fuel-air mixture which powers your pistons, which propels your car.

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As a general rule of thumb, the larger engines usually produce more horsepower for your car by burning more fuel. This normally means that the car is faster too.

The faster you can go, the more risk involved typically, which is why car make and model are important factors in insurance pricing.


What’s the difference between cars with the same engine size?

Just because two engines are the same size, it does not mean they work the same.

Car companies spend millions, if not billions in research and development, to make their engine perform the best it possibly can, given the size.

With more and more manufacturers opting for smaller sized engines recently, this becomes even more relevant. Some performance cars even use turbochargers, but still opt for a small engine.

So, when it comes to insurance, your car may have enough acceleration to crinkle your face, but just because it’s a small engine size, it does not mean that you will get a lower premium.

If you are looking for a good car to insure as a young driver, it may be recommended to search for cars which don’t have a 0-60mph in less than 5 seconds.

To see the best cars to insure for young drivers, click here.


How does engine size affect your fuel economy?

As you may have gathered by now, larger engine often means more power – but this often means worse fuel economy.

Imagine you were taking a jog around a field, but your friend decided she would sprint the whole way around. Which one of you is going to burn out (metaphorically) first?

It’s often the same with your car. Big, powerful engines may sound and look amazing, but they will likely burn a small hole in your pocket at the same time.

So, take a look when buying a new car at how much power you actually need?

This will help you both from an economic perspective, but also an ecological perspective. Why burn more fuel if you don’t have/want to.


What’s the difference between petrol and diesel?

You may have seen the warnings surrounding diesel cars – is that because they are evil? Well, not completely, they just produce more pollutants compared to Petrol.

Diesel cars are both derived from the same stuff, it’s just how it works when you pump the fuel type into your car. As opposed to petrol, diesel is slightly more ‘energy-rich’. But what does mean for you?

In a nutshell, it’s more efficient for your engine and can be better if you do a lot of miles, which is why you (used to?) see more diesel engines in larger cars.

So, while we do not want to tell you not to buy a diesel, there are some definite benefits to choosing petrol if you don’t do millions of miles each day.

For more information, check out our guide!



With more and more options available for which car to buy – it is essential, that as a young driver, you know exactly what you are spending your money on.

Bigger engines and faster cars may seem like a necessity, but they often cost you a lot more – not just in insurance, but in maintenance and fuel costs.

We hope this guide has given you some background and can help you make the best choice when selecting your next car. Look at its engine size!


If you’d like to get a quote with us, complete it online now, or contact us on 0333 103 7903