Is a Compact, Mid-Size, or Full-Size Vehicle Right For You?

December 11th, 2020 by

There are many different kinds of cars on the market, so many in fact that choosing between make, model, and type can cause a headache for anyone looking to purchase a vehicle. And while horsepower, safety ratings, smart features, and price are among the many important factors determining what direction you go, the first decision you have to make is simple.


How much “car” is the right amount for you? What size is best for you?


We’re here to help. Below is a guide that will help you determine if you should shop for a compact, mid-size or full-size vehicle.

The Case For (and Against) Compact Cars

Those who love having a small car really love having a small car. It affords a lot of benefits that are appealing to many car owners, especially those who live in the city.


What do those benefits look like? Well, for starters, smaller cars tend to be less expensive than larger models, though they often have a lot of the same high-end features that you can see on more expensive vehicles.


As of 2019, a compact car on average costs about $14,000 less than a full-size vehicle. That’s quite a price difference! Of course, you can find compact vehicles that are similarly priced as their full-sized equivalent, but on average, you’ll spend less on compact vehicles.


You also will save money on gas, since smaller cars have better gas mileage than larger vehicles. And of course, if you live in a city, it’s much easier to maneuver and park in a compact car than any other vehicle.


All of these help make it much easier to find a resale market for a compact car, which is another check in the positive column.


Of course, there are some downsides to driving a smaller car. Since they tend to be lower to the ground, the ride itself tends to be a little less smooth and bumpier than a full or mid-size car. And, while the safety of compact cars has greatly improved over the years, larger cars can absorb the impact of an accident better than a compact car can.


And one of the largest downsides of having a compact car is the most obvious—while its small size is great for mileage and maneuverability, it also means you can’t fit nearly as many people or cargo inside the car. So if you have a family of five, for example, you’ll probably feel very cramped piling them in, which all but rules out using a compact car for a family road trip.

Is Mid-Size the Right Size For You?

A midsize car is a great “middle” option, both in terms of price, storage, gas consumption, and ease of parking. Most mid-size cars can comfortably seat five people, and typically have a fair amount of trunk space. So, while it might not be ideal for transporting large furniture items, or large groups of people, as a daily vehicle for a mid-sized family, well, a mid-size vehicle seems like a natural choice.


Many mid-size cars have good mileage (typically around 35 miles per gallon) and offer a smoother ride than their compact counterparts. They are okay for city parking, depending on the model’s turn radius, and cost less than full-size, though they are more expensive than compact cars.


Ultimately, a mid-size car is, not surprisingly, a very convenient middle point between compact and full-size vehicles and SUVs. For many car consumers, that middle ground is not too big or too small, but instead is “just about right.”


The Pros and Cons of Choosing a Full-Size Vehicle

Right off the bat, it’s time to address one of the biggest factors that can deter people from buying an SUV, van or similarly full-sized vehicle—the cost. Full-size vehicles, due to their size, simply require more raw materials to make. That means that they are likely to be the most expensive of the vehicles you’ll find on the market.


With that higher cost comes higher gas prices since, again, a larger car is heavier, and a heavier car requires more gasoline to operate. Additionally, it can be hard to navigate driving a larger vehicle in the city where streets can be narrower and parking opportunities can be hard to come by.


But all that being said, just like those who love their compact cars, those who like driving larger cars love driving larger cars. While the extra materials required to make these vehicles increase costs, they also allow automakers more of a canvas to work with, leading to more interesting and exciting designs than you’d find in smaller cars.


SUVs and other large vehicles are also safer when involved in collisions and have the ability to go off-road and drive safely on almost every terrain. The size also contributes to a much smoother ride than you’ll get from any other type of car.


You also have a higher vantage point while driving a full-size vehicle, which allows you a clearer view of the road than you otherwise might get from a compact or mid-size car. And we can’t forget to mention that the horsepower of a full-size vehicle tends to blow away the competition.


Finally, there’s the benefit of all the space you can get from a full-size vehicle. These are cars that are useful when transporting large items, going on road trips, or just spacing out your passengers on short trips. Ultimately, most people who want a larger car enjoy their choice because they like a car that gives them the freedom to stretch out their legs a little bit. A big car affords a big amount of space.


At the end of the day, you must decide what benefits you prefer the most. If you want to save money and navigate city life, you likely will choose a compact car. If you’d rather go with a car with more styling, that allows you to go off-road, and allows you the “luxury” of space, then a full-size is your car. And if you’d like to find yourself somewhere in the middle, a mid-size is for you.


Ultimately, as a car buyer, you’ll need to make that decision before you move on in your vehicle purchase journey. But hopefully, you can use this guide to help make that journey a bit better. For more help on which vehicle is right for you, stop in and talk to a member of our team.

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