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  2. Compact SUV and Midsize Sedan: Pros, Cons, and Examples

Overview

The automotive industry is obsessed with SUVs off-late, thanks to their growing demand in the last decade. But the rise of SUVs doesn’t mean sedans are left behind– automakers are sprucing up the good-old sedans to make them more attractive than ever. In this highly competitive scenario, two particular vehicle classes have stirred up the sedan vs SUV debate once again– compact SUVs and midsize SUVs. 

If you put them both against each other for a compact SUV vs midsize sedan face-off, you will get to see the pros, cons, and utility of each class, and you’ll also be able to assess which one is suitable for you. And that’s exactly what we did. 

Is a Compact SUV bigger than a Midsize Sedan?

Whether a compact SUV is bigger than a midsize sedan depends on which models you are comparing. In general, it’s expected that a compact or small SUV will have a large dimension, whereas a midsize sedan would be comparatively sleeker. 

To put things into perspective, we compared two very popular vehicles– the 2021 variants of Honda Accord and Honda CR-V– the first one is a midsize sedan, and the latter one is a compact SUV. 

What we found is pretty interesting. 

Honda Accord has a length of 196.1 inches, width of 73.3 inches, height of 57.1 inches, and a 111.4-inch wheelbase. 

Honda CR-V is 182.1 inches long, 73 inches wide, 66.5 inches in height, with a wheelbase of 104.7 inches. 

As you can understand, the midsize sedan (Honda Accord) has a larger wheelbase and it’s bigger in length, whereas the compact SUV (Honda CR-V) is bigger in height. 

Is a Compact SUV more comfortable than a Midsize Sedan?

Midsize Sedan vs Compact Suv– wondering which one is ahead in the comfort department? Let’s find out. 

If your priority is comfort and a smooth ride, then our vote will always go to sedans. Why? Because they are built that way. The interior, the seats, and the soft-tuned suspension ease out the bumps on the road and don’t let them reach the cabin. 

Sedans are targeted towards a different audience– one that prefers adventure, long trips, and driving on rugged roads. Compact SUVs may not be big on off-road capability, but it carries the demeanor of an SUV. So it’s nearly impossible to take away its appetite for rough terrains. 

But don’t feel that a compact SUV doesn’t offer convenient rides– it’s definitely a good deal, but if you’re really focused on passenger comfort, we would suggest you go for a midsize SUV. 

Is a Compact SUV safer?

In the sedan vs suv debate, one question that comes up, again and again, is which one’s the safest. 

The question is not as simple as it sounds. First of all, to determine which one is safest, you have to compare two very different vehicle classes. And secondly, the safety level depends on individual vehicle models rather than a class or segment in particular. 

Let’s take up our previous examples again– Honda Accord and Honda CR-V, and compare their NHTSA and IIHS safety ratings. 

Honda Accord 2021 has been awarded 5-stars by NHTSA, and it’s also been named as the Top Safety Pick+ by IIHS. 

Honda CR-V has received 5-stars from NHTSA, and the Top Safety Pick award from IIHS. 

While both the vehicles are more or less similar in terms of safety offerings and ratings, Honda Accord steals the deal because it’s backed by IIHS’ stringent criteria of Top Safety Pick+.

Pros of Midsize Sedans

Car enthusiasts are always speaking highly of sedans. They are sophisticated, provide optimum comfort for every ride, and fit every budget. Let’s take a look at the advantages a midsize sedan offers.

  • Fuel-Efficient

    Owing to their small size, midsize sedans require less power to run, as compared to compact SUVs. In most cases, they are equipped with four-cylinder engines which are less fuel-thirsty than the V-6 or V-8 engines we usually see in a sports utility vehicle. So quite naturally, compact vehicles enjoy high fuel economy. Midsize sedans such as Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Honda Accord offer best-in-class fuel economy. 

  • Swift Handling

    A typical midsize sedan is small in size, making it convenient for you to drive it around swiftly. It can pass through narrow lanes and cramped parking spots like a breeze. It’s also easier to handle, as compared to any heavier vehicle. When you choose a sedan, you are sure to get more agility, speed, and reliable performance. 

  • Comfortable Rides

    A sedan is equipped with a roomy cabin, ensuring the passengers are seated comfortably. Be it on city or highway, you can enjoy a smooth, bump-free ride on all roads. Moreover, the cabin noise is less in a sedan than it is in an SUV, which makes your experience all the more convenient.

  • Affordable

    When we talk about finances, a midsize sedan is a clear winner. If you have a small budget and yet you don’t want to compromise on a high-quality vehicle, a sedan would be your ideal choice. Buying a midsize sedan won’t put a burden on your bank balance, as opposed to an SUV. Subaru Legacy is the most budget-friendly midsize sedan in the market, with the 2022 variant available at a base price of only $23,955.

Pros of Compact Suvs

Compact SUVs are the new generation of vehicles that bridge the gap between smaller passenger cars and much larger full-size SUVs. Now let’s find out the advantages this segment offers.

  • Large Size

    A compact SUV is bigger than any regular passenger car, so naturally, the passenger area is also bigger in size. The vehicle’s massive dimension gives it a grand and sporty appearance, something that you cannot get in a sedan.

  • Off-Roading Ability

    A compact SUV cannot champion off-roading unlike its fuller-sized cousins, but it does offer some added advantage when you compare it with a sedan. If you like going on small adventurous road trips with the family, a compact SUV can meet your expectations. However, keep in mind that it’s not meant for hardcore off-road driving like you would expect from a full-size SUV. Some excellent examples would be the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk and Subaru Crosstrek Sport, both of which offer impressive off-roading ability.

  • Spacious Cargo Area

    When heading for a road trip, you need a good amount of space to fit your luggage– and a compact SUV meets your requirements with its spacious boot area. Again, it would be unfair to compare it with midsize or large SUVs, but if you’re talking about sedan vs SUV, the latter is a clear winner. Nissan Rogue and Honda CR-V are great instances, with a behind-second-row boot space of 39.3 cubic feet and 39.2 cubic feet, respectively. 

  • Authoritative Driving Position

    A compact SUV offers a higher and authoritative driving position– something a sedan cannot offer. Thanks to the wide view, you get better control over your ride. The seating position is safe, and getting in and out of the vehicle is also hassle-free.

Cons of Midsize Sedans

Midsize sedans are excellent for city rides, keep the passengers comfortable, offer great fuel economy, but they are not free from shortcomings.

Some of the disadvantages of midsize sedans are:

  • No Off-Roading

    These vehicles are meant for cozy rides, so you cannot expect them to be efficient off-roaders. So while midsize sedans are more than competent to take you through city roads and highways, you can’t rely on them if you prefer to go on adventures quite frequently.

  • Space Crunch

    Midsize sedans are roomy enough, but not as much as SUVs. Especially when it comes to cargo, the available space is quite slim. The seating capacity is strictly restricted to 5. So if you’re looking for large storage, a sedan might not be the best choice.

Cons of Compact Suvs

Compact or small SUVs are definitely promising, but they are not all-powerful like their large counterparts. 

Here are some of the disadvantages of compact SUVs that you must take note of:

  • More Expensive than Regular Cars

    Compact SUVs are affordable if you compare with midsize or full-size options, but between a midsize sedan and a compact SUV, the latter one is most likely to be more pricey. The reason behind this could be the difference in dimensions, the tech features, or simply the allure that sports utility vehicles carry.

  • Doesn’t Promise Smooth Rides

    Buyers heavily focused on comfort won’t find a sweet spot in a compact SUV. The ride isn’t too bumpy, but the sedan-like smooth experience is clearly missing. The cabin noise and vibration vary from vehicle to vehicle, but the overall comfort package is not too impressive as compared to sedans.

Comparison Table

Size
Fuel Economy (combined)
Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Reliability (J.D. Power)
Base Price
Midsize Sedan (Honda Accord)
Length: 196.1 inches; Width: 73.3 inches; Height: 57.1 inches
33 mpg
5-Star
82/100
$25,985
Compact SUV (Honda CR-V)
Length: 182.1 inches; Width: 73.0 inches; Height: 66.5 inches
29 mpg
5-Star
84/100
$26,575

Midsize Sedan vs Compact SUV: What to buy?

The debate between midsize sedan vs compact SUV is a long-standing one. Despite both being equally impressive, it’s quite a tough decision to choose between these two classes. 

You have to remember that both midsize sedans and compact SUVs cater to a slightly different audience– the first one is more targeted towards families, who prioritize comfort over everything, and are looking for a safe and not-so-adventurous ride around the city. 

On the other hand, compact SUVs are suitable for single users, couples, or families who are willing to taste the SUV way of life and enjoy the large dimension, elevated seating position, and sporty vibe. 

Now it’s your turn to evaluate both the classes and determine which one sounds more like your ideal car. Take into account your personal preferences, compare the safety ratings of your choice of vehicles, and check the tech equipment list carefully before making any purchase.

FAQs

Who should buy midsize sedans?

Midsize sedans are ideal for small families, who need a comfortable ride for their daily commute or weekend trips.

Which is easier to drive: Sedan vs Suv?

Sedans are easy to handle and maneuver, so they are convenient to drive. SUVs are a little tricky to handle because of their bulky size and huge dimensions.

Why are sedans better?

Sedans are better because they offer more comfort, fuel economy, and do not compromise on ride quality. They are also more affordable than SUVs, in most cases.