Manual Madness: Which Vehicle Manuals Are The Longest And Most Difficult To Read?

Getting a new car is always an exciting experience, with sitting in the driver’s seat and testing out all of the functions something that many of us particularly look forward to. Of course, the owner’s manual is full of helpful instructions to help us find our way around our vehicles, but many owners are likely to dive straight in and tinker around with their vehicle themselves.

However, our manuals don’t just tell us how to use the various functions – they also tell us how to ensure we’re using and maintaining our vehicle in a safe way, so are important to understand.

This got us thinking, if many of us skip over reading our manuals because they’re a bit too lengthy, how long actually are they?

With the help of some word counters and readability tools, we undertook the task of analysing 90 manuals of some of the world’s best-selling vehicles, to reveal just how long it would take us to read them, and how difficult they are to understand.

We also ran the same analysis for some well-known fictional titles including War and Peace, The Hobbit, and The Da Vinci Code to reveal which texts would take you longer to read – let’s just say the results might surprise you!

Which Vehicle Manuals Are The Longest?

The longest vehicle manual according to our analysis is that of the Audi R8, which contains a staggering 616,064 words spread over 308 pages. When we compare this to the average reading speed of 238 words per minute, this would equate to a massive 43 hours and 9 minutes of reading if an R8 owner was to read the manual cover to cover. Even more shockingly, this is more than 28,777 words and 2 hours of reading longer than War and Peace, or longer than J.R.R Tolkien’s entire Lord of the Rings series!

With the average manual length standing at 109,106 words, the Audi R8 manual is nearly 6 times longer, with the manual of the Audi e-tron following very closely behind in second, with 603,649 words to consume.

The Ford F-Series (194,305 words), Ram Pickup 1500 (177,196 words) and Audi A3 (174,181 words) manuals made up the top five longest manuals across all types of vehicle analysed, each with more than 12 hours of reading time to get through.

RankVehicle Make & ModelManual Word CountAverage Time To Read
1Audi R8616,06443 hours 9 minutes
2Audi e-tron603,64942 hours 16 minutes
3Ford F-Series194,30513 hours 36 minutes
4Ram Pickup 1500177,19612 hours 24 minutes
5Audi A3174,18112 hours 11 minutes
6Volvo XC40171,45712 hours
7Volkswagen ID.4168,06011 hours 46 minutes
8Jeep Gladiator163,85711 hours 28 minutes
9Ford Focus163,22511 hours 25 minutes
10GMC Sierra158,19411 hours 4 minutes
11Porsche Taycan158,19011 hours 4 minutes
12Chevrolet Silverado157,62511 hours 2 minutes
13Audi Q2155,63610 hours 53 minutes
14VW Tiguan154,04310 hours 47 minutes
15Ford Puma148,24610 hours 22 minutes
16Seat Leon148,20810 hours 22 minutes
17Mercedes C Class143,75710 hours 4 minutes
18Toyota Corolla141,5569 hours 54 minutes
19Nissan Frontier136,3179 hours 32 minutes
20Ford Ranger135,8409 hours 30 minutes
21Kia Niro134,2419 hours 24 minutes
22Mercedes GLC131,5749 hours 12 minutes
23Toyota C-HR131,4319 hours 12 minutes
24Skoda Karoq131,0699 hours 10 minutes
25Nissan Qashqai130,1409 hours 6 minutes
26Land Rover Discovery Sport130,0199 hours 6 minutes
27Kia Sportage127,8138 hours 57 minutes
28Hyundai Tucson127,5178 hours 55 minutes
29VW T-Roc127,4658 hours 55 minutes
30Toyota RAV4126,2178 hours 50 minutes
31Chevrolet Colorado122,9028 hours 36 minutes
32VW Golf122,6188 hours 35 minutes
33Mercedes A Class121,8598 hours 32 minutes
34Seat Arona121,8558 hours 32 minutes
35Audi Q3120,5548 hours 26 minutes
36Hyundai Kona120,5018 hours 26 minutes
37Ford Mustang Mach-E119,1308 hours 20 minutes
38Honda Jazz118,9338 hours 19 minutes
39Ford Fiesta118,5298 hours 18 minutes
40Kawasaki Z1000SX117,1558 hours 12 minutes

Which Car Manual Is The Longest?

Looking at traditional petrol and diesel cars commonly found on our roads alone, the Audi A3 has the longest manual at 174,181 words and 12 hours 11 minutes of reading long. With Audi manuals also featuring as the top two overall, it would appear that Audi are particularly thorough when it comes to the usability and safety of their vehicles.

The Volvo XC40 follows in second position with 171,457 words in its manual, with the Ford Focus coming in third with its 163,225 words.

With all of the top five car manuals taking longer than 10 hours 47 minutes to read, car owners could get through The Da Vinci Code (9 hours 37 minutes) and The Hobbit (6 hours 40 minutes) in considerably less time!

RankCar Make & ModelManual Word CountAverage Time To Read
1Audi A3174,18112 hours 11 minutes
2Volvo XC40171,45712 hours
3Ford Focus163,22511 hours 25 minutes
4Audi Q2155,63610 hours 53 minutes
5VW Tiguan154,04310 hours 47 minutes

Which EV Manual Is The Longest?

With some of the newest technology in the automotive market used in EVs, some may have expected these manuals to be longer than the average, due to the additional instructions and safety notices needed to use these vehicles. However, although the Audi e-tron manual may sit at the very top of the ranks with a huge 603,649 words to consume, EV manuals overall are comparable with those of petrol and diesel vehicles.

Although the Tesla Model Y comes in fifth place with 112,545 words and a reading time of 7 hours 52 minutes, it is the Nissan Leaf that is revealed to have the shortest manual in the EV world. With 21,541 words and taking an average of 1 hour 30 minutes to complete, reading this manual isn’t such a big job at all!

RankEV Make & ModelManual Word CountAverage Time To Read
1Audi e-tron603,64942 hours 16 minutes
2Volkswagen ID.4168,06011 hours 46 minutes
3Porsche Taycan158,19011 hours 4 minutes
4Ford Mustang Mach-E119,1308 hours 20 minutes
5Tesla Model Y112,5457 hours 52 minutes

Which Motorbike Manual Is The Longest?

In comparison to manuals from the rest of our vehicle types, those for motorbikes are significantly shorter with the Kawasaki Z1000SX manual stacking up at just 117,155 words – less than a fifth of the length of the staggeringly long Audi R8 manual. However, even this is particularly lengthy, with all of the other motorbike manuals analysed sitting at less than 57,000 words and 4 hours to complete.

BMW manuals make up three of the five longest manuals for this category, with all sitting consistently between 47,000 and 50,000 words. In a similar fashion, all of the Honda manuals analysed fall within the bottom half of our list, with three featured in the bottom four alongside the Vmoto Super Soco CPX.

RankMotorbike Make & ModelManual Word CountAverage Time To Read
1Kawasaki Z1000SX117,1558 hours 12 minutes
2Royal Enfield Interceptor 65056,3923 hours 56 minutes
3BMW R1250RT49,7933 hours 29 minutes
4BMW S1000RR48,5443 hours 23 minutes
5BMWR1250GS47,2293 hours 18 minutes

Which Truck Manual Is The Longest?

Pickups and trucks are particularly popular in the United States, with the Ford F-Series model proving to be the best-selling vehicle in America for 39 years on the go! Unfortunately for those who may be purchasing one of these vehicles for the first time, the manual is the longest of all trucks analysed, with more than 194,305 words to read in order to become fully familiar with the vehicle.

The ever-popular Ram Pickup 1500 follows in second place (177,196 words), with the Jeep Gladiator falling in third (163,857).

For those with less time on their hands, Toyota branded trucks have significantly shorter manuals, with fewer than 115,000 words to get through – which could be done in less than a full day of reading!

RankTruck Make & ModelManual Word CountAverage Time To Read
1Ford F-Series194,30513 hours 36 minutes
2Ram Pickup 1500177,19612 hours 24 minutes
3Jeep Gladiator163,85711 hours 28 minutes
4GMC Sierra158,19411 hours 4 minutes
5Chevrolet Silverado157,62511 hours 2 minutes

Which Supercar Manual Is The Longest?

Owning a supercar isn’t for the faint of heart – with their hugely powerful engines and complex functions, they require good maintenance and solid driving skills to drive them safely. The Audi R8 manual tops them all in terms of length and time to read, nearing two whole days, for any conscientious owner to fully read up on the vehicle and how to use it.

However, the remaining supercars analysed all had significantly shorter manuals, with the Chevrolet Stingray coming in second at less than a fifth of the length of the Audi R8 manual, and around 12 hours less reading time to match. Though, this is still considerably longer than the manual of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, with a manual that can be read in just over 3 hours from cover to cover.

RankSupercar Make & ModelManual Word CountAverage Time To Read
1Audi R8616,06443 hours 9 minutes
2Chevrolet Stingray113,8847 hours 58 minutes
3Honda NSX88,2536 hours 10 minutes
4McLaren 720 S60,0994 hours 12 minutes
5McLaren 765LT59,1064 hours 8 minutes

Which Vehicle Manuals Are The Shortest?

When it comes to the vehicles with the shortest manuals, the Vmoto Super Soco CPX motorbike ranks bottom of the pile, with just 2,834 words to read – which would take the average reader just 11 minutes! The average manual is more than 38 times the length of this short but sweet guide, which will help any new rider get started on their Vmoto scooter in no time.

Motorbike manuals complete four of the five shortest manuals, with just that of the Range Rover Evoque splitting the group, with the fourth shortest guide at 16,526 words long and 1 hour and 9 minutes reading time.

The Nissan Leaf comes out on top with the shortest EV manual at 21,541 words – significantly shorter than the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which comes in second for the EV group, with a huge 92,885 words.

Of the supercars, the Porsche 911 Turbo S is revealed to have the shortest manual at just 45,184 words, and also one of the easiest manuals to read with a Flesch Reading Ease Score of 72.55, making it readable enough for anyone beyond the 7th grade (12-13 years old).

RankVehicle Make & ModelManual Word CountAverage Time To Read
1Vmoto Super Soco CPX2,83411 minutes
2Honda NSC 110 Vision12,14651 minutes
3Honda CB125F15,0291 hour 3 minutes
4Range Rover Evoque16,5261 hour 9 minutes
5Honda PCX12521,0831 hour 28 minutes
6Nissan Leaf21,5411 hour 30 minutes
7Yamaha NMAX 12522,1521 hour 33 minutes
8Honda SHi 12523,4381 hour 38 minutes
9Yamaha Ténéré 70028,6852 hours
10VW Polo31,8972 hours 14 minutes
11Triumph Trident 66037,8002 hours 38 minutes
12Ford Kuga41,4442 hours 54 minutes
13Triumph Tiger 900 GT Pro45,0833 hours 9 minutes
14Porsche 911 Turbo S45,1843 hours 9 minutes
15Renault Captur45,4773 hours 11 minutes
16BMW R1250GS47,2293 hours 18 minutes
17Fiat 50047,3983 hours 19 minutes
18BMW S1000RR48,5443 hours 23 minutes
19Ferrari 812 Superfast48,6963 hours 24 minutes
20Vauxhall Crossland X49,1443 hours 26 minutes
21BMW R1250RT49,7933 hours 29 minutes
22MG ZS51,1493 hours 34 minutes
23Vauxhall Corsa55,4233 hours 52 minutes
24Royal Enfield Interceptor 65056,3923 hours 56 minutes
25McLaren 765LT59,1064 hours 8 minutes
26Vauxhall Grandland X59,1994 hours 8 minutes
27McLaren 720S60,0994 hours 12 minutes
28BMW 3 Series73,6765 hours 9 minutes
29Skoda Octavia76,0835 hours 18 minutes
30Toyota Aygo76,3315 hours 19 minutes

Which Vehicle Manuals Are The Most Difficult to Read?

As well as length and time to read, we also wanted to get an understanding of how difficult manuals can be to read. With detailed descriptions and complex terminology, it can be tricky to decipher exactly what they mean at times, which can be troublesome for car owners and even put them off looking for information they may need.

According to the widely-used Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Score, the manual of the McLaren 765LT was the most difficult to read of those analysed, with a score of 44.3. The Vauxhall Crossland X manual follows closely in second with a score of 44.5, with the BMW 2 Series scoring 45.06 in third.

All of the manuals that ranked the highest on the Flesch-Kincaid scale were also deemed to be at a college level of difficulty to read, explaining why many of us may find them rather complex. Even more so, all of these manuals are ranked as more difficult to read than all of the works of fiction we analysed – meaning that it is actually easier, and quicker in many cases, to wade through War and Peace or The Fellowship of the Ring!

RankVehicle Make & ModelFlesch-Kincaid Reading Ease ScoreAge Suitability (years)
1McLaren 765LT44.318+
2Vauxhall Crossland X44.518+
3BMW 2 Series45.0618+
4Ferrari 812 Superfast45.3518+
5Vauxhall Grandland X45.6418+
6Range Rover Evoque45.6518+
7Ford Ranger45.8318+
8Honda Jazz46.3818+
9Nissan Frontier46.8818+
10Mercedes GLC47.8918+

Which Vehicle Manuals Are The Easiest to Read?

At the opposite end of the scale to difficult manuals, lies the easiest manual in the form of that belonging to the Tesla Model Y (76.92). Suitable for those in the 7th grade (aged 12-13 years) to read, this manual, and others in the top five, are no more difficult than Twilight or The Great Gatsby. As a result, owners of these vehicles can look forward to quickly finding resolutions to any of their issues, without trying to de-code the contents of their manual.

The Fiat 500 manual is also revealed as one of the top five easiest manuals to read, with a score of 73.97. As a popular first car for many new drivers, an easy manual to read should help any first-time car owner feel safer while on the road.

RankVehicle Make & ModelFlesch-Kincaid Reading Ease ScoreAge Suitability (years)
1Tesla Model Y76.9212-13 years
2Toyota Tacoma76.5312-13 years
3Toyota Tundra76.4212-13 years
4Chevrolet Bolt EV74.4812-13 years
5Fiat 50073.9712-13 years
6Honda NSC 100 Vision73.4212-13 years
7Porsche 911 Turbo S72.5512-13 years
8Ford Mustang Mach-E72.0712-13 years
9Kia Sportage69.8613-15 years
10Audi Q269.8213-15 years

Ultimately, no matter how long or complex your car’s manual may seem, it is important to familiarise yourself with its contents, and how the key elements of your vehicle work and should be maintained. If not, you risk your car becoming unsafe, or falling into disrepair which could lead to a premature trip to the scrap heap.

Methodology

We analysed the user manuals for 90 best-selling vehicles (including cars, trucks, motorbikes, EVs and supercars), taken from a range of seed lists [1][2], to reveal their length and readability.

The number of pages was taken from the length of each PDF document, with the word count determined using Doc Word Counter. The average time to read each manual was calculated using the total word count of the document, and the average English silent reading speed of 238 words per minute.

An excerpt of 1500-3000 words from each manual was then analysed using the Datayze Readability Analyser to determine the readability of the document based on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease and Grade Level scoring systems.

16 books were also analysed in the same way, in order to allow comparisons to be drawn.

All data correct as of February 2022.

 
 

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