Compact car or subcompact? How to choose the right one?

Cars are the largest purchase one makes after a house. It is a long term investment that cannot be undone by whim and mood. Picking the right car is indeed a matter of crucial importance. Here is an article to help you make the right choice between compact and subcompact cars.

What is the difference between compact and subcompact cars?

There is a wide variety of vehicles available on the automotive market in recent years. This plethora of options has urged the majority of the people to buy cars through segments. The titles of the sections are easy to understand that is why people are hung up on the concept of compact and subcompact cars. To help the readers in understanding the difference between these segments, we have simplified it.

The segments in the automotive industry vary upon sizes. The subcompact and compact categories are the class of two-seater cars, which differ in the case of mid-size, full-sized, mini-compact cars. The compact and subcompact cars lie in the center of these cars.

Any car which accommodates combined cargo and passenger volume between 85 till 99 cubics is labelled as the subcompact car. Whereas cars with the collective cubic volume between 100 and 109 cubic feet are known as compact cars. In technical terms, it is the size that separates the compact and subcompact cars, but the differences also include separate capabilities among models of every segment.

Illustrating with an example:

Ford’s Fiesta and Focus from 2014 are the ideal examples to help you explain the comparison between the classes of these cars. Ford’s 2014 Fiesta is classified in the subcompact category whereas the 2014 Focus has the interior volume that makes it a compact car. These cars may be old, but they are the clearest examples to illustrate the difference.

Subcompact cars are known for their efficiency with fuel. Because their size is smaller than the average car, they do not require as much gas to move. The Fiesta can travel up to 45 mpg on highways. It is slightly higher in fuel economy as compared to the Focus model that has an impressive fuel economy of 40 mpg.

The compact cars have the advantage of providing a very high level of safety as compared to the subcompact cars. Automakers cannot defy the laws of physics, and since the subcompact category is smaller, they are not as good with protection in case of an accident. The Ford Fiesta is focused on being extremely safe and has the seven standard airbags that ensure that you and your passengers are safe at all times. Fuel efficiency, safety, and size are the significant differences that divide the compact and subcompact cars.

When we think that it’s time to sell my car and purchase a better model, you must look at all the options available and compare the car with your lifestyle.

Comparison with your lifestyle

The biggest determent when it comes to purchasing a car is one’s lifestyle. How often do you drive the car? How many passengers do you usually take along? How often do you drive and what are your usual driving destinations? These are a few questions that you need to ask for yourself before going ahead and making the right choice of a car.

Cargo and passenger potential

An essential parameter to be considered before choosing the type of vehicle is the size of the car. You need to initially determine the average number of passengers to transport. You can count the number of seats you require, whether you need to install a car seat or anything else is the primary questions.

The next immediate step is figuring out how much of cargo space do you need. If you take many road trips, you will need a compact car. If you are alone in the city and travel a lot, a subcompact car would become your best friend.


After you have an answer to the amount of space you need, it is essential to consider your lifestyle and the type of car that would fit into it. These concerns coincide with knowing where you live and the locality where you plan to drive. If you live in Northern Utah, a subcompact car would never help you. The population of your area and the supposed congestion of your residential block needs to know before you commit to a car.

How do you drive?

Your driving style matters as much as your lifestyle. Whether you are looking for a driver-focused car or something that caters to drivers while also accommodating a family, you should consider a compact car. The larger cars are usually challenging to handle, so if you are not comfortable with them, then the smaller and midsized vehicles are ideal for you.

Fuel budget

After making all the necessary decisions, you need to consider the fuel economy of your desired car. The kind of acceleration you like, the type of fuel that is friendly with your budget is necessary for survival. The urban souls are recommended to avoid expensive and unnecessary costs of diesel and opt for cars suitable for cheap petrol options.

Majority of people think that a diesel efficient vehicle is the most economical option. It is true to a certain extent. However, in most cases, covering vast mileages annually cover the extra cost of the car and the difference between fuels over petrol. People who regularly drive along the motorway are suggested to choose diesel.

Whatever you choose, remember your car is a long term investment that should reflect your needs, wants and choice too!

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