Does Size Matter? Compact vs. Full-Size SUVs

Comparison of the full size and compact SUVs available on the market today.

Shopping for a car can send you headlong into a maelstrom of choices, involving everything from financing to upholstery. If you're in the market for a new SUV, you might wonder if a compact or full-size one is right for you. Consider the following.

Fuel Economy

Like a six-foot-four-inch pro linebacker consumes more food than an office worker, a full-size SUV needs more fuel than a compact SUV to go the same distance. In a full-size SUV, you can expect to get anywhere from 13 to 20 mpg in the city. Compact SUVs, on the other hand, can get up to 25 mpg or more in the city and upward of 30 mpg on the highway. While careful driving and keeping up with maintenance on a vehicle help it go as easy as possible on gasoline, compact SUVs always win in this category.


Full-size SUVs can weigh anything between 7,500 and 12,500 pounds, which means they need a super engine to get them and their cargo up to speed. They usually feature V8 engines, in contrast with the 4- and 6-cylinder engines that occupy compact SUVs, which have an average weight of less than 7,000 pounds.

Of course, a V8 in that big SUV will do more than carry you on the freeway at a steady pace. SUV designers know that such a vehicle without towing capacity is like a computer without Internet access - useful, but way short of reaching its potential. Go for a full-size SUV if you plan on doing much hauling.

Several car companies make hybrid versions of their SUVs, both compact and full-size. While the hybrids don't always have the same capacity for acceleration or towing as their non-hybrid counterparts, they can still get the job done.

Storage and Seating

A bigger vehicle means more space for seating and storage, right? No, not always. One auto expert says that when it comes to interior space, "don't necessarily go by category - e.g., 'compact' or 'mid-sized.' Go by stats. Check out the interior volume of the car you're considering."

That said, third-row seating is pretty standard in full-size SUVs and can oftentimes comfortably accommodate adults. If a compact SUV has a third row, the third row is usually there just for appearances. Children might handle a ride back there without too much complaint, but adults and teenagers... not so much.

Also take a look at how you can move the seats. If you choose a compact SUV, you want to have the ability to move the back seats forward and/or fold them down to make room for cargo.


Any SUV comparison you conduct while shopping, whether it's online or at the dealership, will involve scrutiny of those cool extra features that make a vehicle more than a tool that gets you from point A to point B. Brand and model year play more of a role in the luxury category than size does; nifty add-ons like heated seats, navigation systems, and Bluetooth can show up on any size vehicle.


Both full-size and compact SUVs commonly come equipped with sound safety features such as anti-lock brakes, side curtain airbags, and rearview cameras. However, size itself does play a role in safety. Edmunds.com states that because SUVs are so large and bulky, their maneuverability suffers, which may cut back on your ability to avoid a collision. The bigger the vehicle, the more of an issue this becomes.

However, compact SUVs have their own disadvantage. As stated by Forbes.com, "Death rates in minicars involved in multi-car crashes are nearly twice as high as those in large sedans." While the statistics likely differ for SUVs, the laws of physics still apply. Large SUVs are particularly safer in head-on collisions because the long fronts of the cars absorb more of the impact before the force of the crash reaches the vehicle's occupants.

Because of their size and safety, full-size SUVs make good family cars, and they can make a loud statement about your personality. At the same time, though, you shouldn't discount the fuel efficiency and affordability offered by smaller models.

Which is right for you?

More Stories By Hailey Robinson

Hailey is a recent graduate with a degree in Journalism. Now that she isn't face first in books she is trying to travel as much as she can. She writes in her free time between fixing up her new house and teaching people how to live a longer, healthier life.

Latest Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...