While shopping for the perfect used vehicle, you may have noticed that certain cars from different manufacturers share some striking similarities. This is because of platform-sharing: the basic structure on which the car is built.
The Essence of Platform-Sharing
A car’s platform is, in essence, the very architecture of the vehicle. It includes (but is not limited to) the chassis structure, steering mechanism, drivetrain components, and front and rear suspension.
A vehicle platform can often cost billions of dollars to engineer and develop. By sharing the cost over several product lines, it’s easier for the manufacturers to sell the vehicles at a still-reasonable price.
How This Benefits You
As the engine and the parts are identical within any platform, it directly effects the capabilities of the vehicle. This means that you can make a more informed decision when purchasing your next used car.
For instance, if you’ve always you’ve come to rely on the dependability and performance of a Chevy, it helps to know that Chevy vehicles share the same platforms with many other brands. Some vehicles that have previously shared (and currently share) platforms include:
- Chevy Impala and Buick Lucerne
- Chevy Cruze and Buick Verano
- Chevy Cobalt, Pontiac G5, and Saturn Ion
- Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon
- Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL
- Chevy Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade ESV
- Chevy Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook (all four of these share the same platform)
If you have your heart set on a Chevy Cobalt, for instance, it helps to know that the Pontiac G5 will perform identically, as will the Saturn Ion, since they all share the same GM Delta platform. With this knowledge, a world of buying options suddenly opens up.
The major mechanical properties of vehicles are the focus of any given platform – the structure, suspension, powertrain, and brakes. Platforms tend to differ in the superficial qualities – the styling, features, and branded properties. So, in any given platform, the least-expensive vehicle will be your best deal. If your focus is on power, safety, and reliability, then you can often times get what is essentially the same vehicle for thousands of dollars less.