the present study aimed to select pre-cultivars of popcorn maize for registration in mapa based on different characteristics, using the garcia and total-classification indices, giving priority to grain yield and expansion capacity. sixteen genotypes of popcorn maize: eight open-pollinated varieties (brs angela, ufvm2 - bar？o de vi？osa, vi？osa, beija-flor, sam, unb2u-c3, unb2u-c4 and unb2u-c5) and eight hybrids (zelia, jade, iac 112, p1 x p3, p1 x p7, p2 x p4, p2 x p9 and p3 x p7) were evaluated in five environments. the experimental design was of randomized blocks with three replications, where the characteristics of plant height, growth, droop, expansion capacity and grain yield were evaluated. the effects of genotype and environment were significant for all characteristics, while their interactions were only significant for droop and grain yield. the garcia and the total-classification indices correlated positively in the classification of genotypes, both indicating the pre-cultivars unb2u-c5 and p1 x p7 as having the best performance for regions in the north and northwest of the state of rio de janeiro.