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Should you trade SUV for a car? What are the practical pros and cons of doing that? Why would you want to trade all the money you could save with a sedan and get a gas guzzlin’ SUV? On the other hand, why sacrifice the practicality and off-road capability of an SUV for a vehicle you can only use on city streets?
The answer lies in personal preference. People get vehicles for a variety of reasons. Some because it serves a purpose, some because it looks good, and then some because of the feeling it evokes when they drive it.
People normally buy SUVs because it’s a practical choice. That’s not to say a sedan isn’t as useful. We’re talking about the practical side of owning an SUV and then trading it in for something that limits some of that usefulness. So, let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of having an SUV or a car.
While we’re on the subject of practicality and maximizing space, you might want to increase your cargo space, with the MaxxHaul 70115 Steel Rack for SUVs. If you have a car, the SANHIMA Universal Roof Rack is a better option. Secure your cargo further with the Tool Guards Roof Cargo Bag or the EZYKOO Cargo Net.
What Is A Car?
First, what is a car? For all intents and purposes, the first thing that pops into a person’s mind when they say “car” is a sedan. They’re not wrong. Although there are other types of cars—sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks are what are considered the most popular types out there. Let’s go over each one.
Sedans: The Perfect Car For Everyone
A sedan or saloon is probably the most popular type of car on the road today. It also best exemplifies what defines a car. It’s basically a three-box configuration with a compartment for the engine, passengers, and cargo. The passengers are normally housed in the middle compartment, while the dedicated spaces for the engine and the cargo are interchangeable.
Other features a standard sedan would have are the following: a closed body with a metal roof supported by B-pillars, two rows of seats, and two to four doors.
A sedan is the closest thing you can get to an SUV in terms of practicality. This is basically a no-frills vehicle that serves a purpose much like your SUV. This is perfect for everyone especially those with small families.
Coupes: For The Young Professionals Moving Up In The World
A coupe is a two-door passenger car with a sloping or truncated rear roofline. In more recent years, four-door variants have been introduced blurring the lines between a sedan and a coupe. Fastbacks and notchbacks are also considered coupes.
This is going to be a step-up from the rugged appeal of an SUV to the classy design of a coupe. If you’re looking to upgrade your image, this is the type of car you’d want to get. This is perfect for young professionals on the way up in the world.
Hatchbacks: For The Young And Young At Heart
Hatchback cars have a fastback profile but instead of a trunk, the entire rear has a hatch that lifts up to give you access to the cargo space.
Perhaps one of the most popular types of cars today thanks to their youthful appeal, hatchbacks are now considered the embodiment of youth.
There was a time when people wouldn’t want to be caught dead in a hatchback. That idea has definitely changed now thanks to how these little cars are marketed. It has certainly managed to capture its target demographic which is the youth of today. And that’s why we see a lot of these little cars on the road.
Now, little doesn’t necessarily mean inferior. In fact, the attention given to these types of cars has resulted in hatchbacks that can definitely compete with luxury cars, entry-level sports cars, and mini-SUVs or crossovers.
Hatchbacks have definitely come into their own and you should look into getting one if you want to trade SUV for a car. If you’re young or young at heart, a hatchback is perfect for you.
Older sedan styles that were popular once but are no longer in production include the following:
- Hardtop sedans
- Close-coupled sedans
- Coach sedans
- Close-coupled saloons
- Club sedans
These sedan variants are now considered belonging to the antique or vintage car niche. If you’re trading your SUV for any of these, you will have to understand that the driving experience is drastically different than what you would experience on a modern sedan.
What’s An SUV?
An SUV or Sports Utility Vehicle is typically defined as a passenger vehicle with a raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive or off-road capabilities.
Since you’re looking to trade SUV for a car, you probably know about SUVs already.
For the record, there is still no commonly agreed definition of what an SUV truly is. For some, an SUV should be built on a light-truck chassis. However, this has changed over the years with the arrival of crossovers and mini SUVs.
The best approximation of an SUV is a station wagon with a raised ground clearance. That means it has a two-box design, one for the engine up front and the second, a passenger compartment that can also take cargo much like a hatchback. Like sedans, SUVs can vary within the segment. Here are some examples:
Types of SUVs
Also known as a CUV or simply as crossover became popular around 2010 and often shares the same platform as that of a passenger car. These SUVs have better fuel economy but don’t have the same off-road capabilities.
There are four types of crossovers depending on their size. These are the subcompact, compact, mid-size, and full-size crossovers.
These are the smallest types of SUVs and are very popular in Japan. They are also included in the Kei car category. Recently, the mini SUV segment has even branched further into tinier SUVs dubbed as superminis.
The compact SUV is bigger than the mini SUV class. This blurs the line between them and crossovers.
Mid-size SUVs are among the most popular SUVs in the market today based on their size, price, and handling.
Full-size SUVs are the largest size of commonly produced SUVs. Some are marketed for their off-road capabilities, while others are marketed as luxury vehicles. A few full-size SUVs are built on dedicated platforms; most share their platforms with full-sized pickups.
This has a longer wheelbase than a full-size SUV. Because of their size, these SUVs are built on dedicated platforms meant for full-sized or heavy-duty pickups.
We have an article discussing SUVs at length here: The Essential SUV Dimensions You Need To Know
So Which One Should You Get? Here Are The Pros And Cons Between Cars And SUVs
So which one should you get?
Is an SUV right for you or is a sedan the proper vehicle to get?
That is entirely up to you.
But don’t make that decision without being properly informed about the pros and cons when you trade SUV for a car.
There is no doubt that even the smallest SUV has more space to offer than the largest car in the market today. Your car basically only has a trunk for your cargo whereas, on an SUV, your entire passenger compartment can be converted into cargo space.
In terms of passenger capacity, a car can carry a maximum of five regular-sized people whereas an SUV can take a minimum of four and a maximum of eight to nine depending on the variant you get.
Needless to say, more space means more legroom for stretching and relaxation. This leads to a more pleasurable ride. So, if you want to trade SUV for a car, this is something you really should consider.
Cars have a lower center of gravity making them more stable when turning at high speeds. SUVs with their higher center of gravity can roll accidentally if the right conditions are met.
This also affects your outward visibility. The only difference between SUVs and cars at this point is how high you sit off the ground. Needless to say, sitting in a higher position gives you a better look at what’s ahead and reduces the risk of glare from oncoming headlights.
Sedans are better known for their fuel-efficiency than SUVs. The bigger engine on an SUV will require more fuel to run than that of a regular sedan. A luxury car, on the other hand, will have an engine that’s bigger, or at par with an SUV.
Related Article: 11 Reasons Why Luxury Cars get Bad Mileage
What a car gives up in terms of size and available space inside, it more than makes up for in drivability. The smaller mass makes it easier to drive in and out of tight spots. Let’s just say parking a Honda CRV won’t be as easy as parking a Honda Civic.
Related Article: Are Big Cars Hard To Drive? Here Are Some Truths
SUVs cost more than sedans because of their complicated suspension systems. This is in general although the higher-end luxury vehicles definitely cost more than an average SUV. On the bright side, cars tend to last longer than SUVs because they receive less abuse on the road and from the elements.
The same can be said about well-maintained luxury cars.
Related Article: Why Sedans Depreciate Quickly
Going off-road used to be the sole territory of SUVs. In general, it still is. Cars simply can’t take as much abuse on less ideal roads with their slick tires and small engines. In bad weather, a car can be dangerous to drive and you’re better off parking it in a nearby café instead of risking a hydroplaning event on wet roads.
Although some cars have All-wheel drive (AWD), it still won’t be able to compare to an SUVs ability to grip the road in inclement weather. You’re also more likely to get stuck in sand if you risk driving your car on the beach.
The Best Of Both Worlds: SUVs That Drive Like Cars
What if you could have the best of both worlds? What if you could have a car without having to trade SUV for car? Can you get an SUV that drives like a car? Now wouldn’t that be something great? Well, here are some examples of SUVs with car-like features and driving experiences.
The 2016 Ford Escape illustrates how the Blue Oval has moved away from its traditional SUV roots, as the current generation of this compact 5-seater was designed deliberately to make it more car-like. The Ford Escape provides a dazzling array of 4-cylinder engine options, and a roomy interior ensures that every seat in the vehicle is a good one. An all-wheel-drive system is on the list of available features to provide additional traction in inclement weather.
The GMC Acadia is a full-size Crossover that seats eight people comfortably. Despite its size, it still drives like a sedan. That’s because underneath that hood is a 3.6-liter V6 engine that boasts 288 horsepower. It also helps that it is an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
The Honda HR-V is a subcompact crossover SUV that’s dependable on all types of roads barring extreme off-road conditions.
The first generation of Honda HR-V didn’t go over too well because of its boxy, flattened, and seemingly squashed exterior. It was a far cry from Honda’s sporty cars. It couldn’t even hold a candle to the Honda CRV. Thankfully, all that has changed when they released the newer variants that embraced the styling sensibilities of the Honda Fit.
For more elegance, the Infiniti QX50 can hold its own against mid-level luxury cars in its price range. Although it has a rear-wheel-drive engine, it corners nicely in tight spots. You can also get the all-wheel-drive with a seven-speed automatic transmission if you really have that need for speed.
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is a subcompact luxury crossover SUV that evokes the classic lines of older vehicles in their famous Range Rover line. The company is famous for creating all-terrain vehicles that can conquer any terrain.
Although the Evoque isn’t expected to run as efficiently off-road, it is more than capable of handling the urban jungle with its powerful engine. You can get the 6-speed, 8-speed, or 9-speed variant if speed is important to you.
Another good reason to get the Evoque is the number of awards it has garnered over the years.
The Japanese know how to make a car appealing to a lot of market segments. In this case, it has managed to attract everyone with its 235-horsepower engine and all-wheel drive options. This can give the Mazda CX-5 a run for its money should the two ever go head to head.
2016 Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 is the closest thing you can get if you mate a sports car with the off-road capabilities of an SUV. This is a sports car with the practical sensibility of an SUV. Watch as other drivers’ jaws drop when you disappear quickly into the horizon on an SUV.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
You can’t ever go wrong with a Mercedes-Benz. They simply know how to make cars. And it doesn’t matter if they’re making small sedans or oversized vehicles like the Unimog—they pull it off with aplomb.
So, when the GLA was made available, it made those who weren’t normally akin to buying an SUV aware of this growing niche’s presence. We’re talking about the upper-class society who wouldn’t even consider getting a utility vehicle.
With the Mercedes-Benz emblem boldly set in the front grille, these buyers took a second look and liked what they saw.
They liked it even more when they got in. What it lacks in cargo space, it more than makes up for in how comfortable it is for all passengers.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA has all the luxury items expected in vehicles bearing the brand with the engineering quality expected from this German manufacturer. The driving experience in a Mercedes-Benz GLA is unparalleled by other luxury crossover SUVs in its niche.
Mini Cooper Countryman
The Mini Countryman is a subcompact luxury crossover SUV that had classic cars rushing to the dealership to get one. It exuded the classic lines mini-coopers were known for but with the added space and modern sensibilities.
The first and second-generation Mini Countryman SUVs are still highly popular amongst car buyers who love the Winged M brand.
Nissan Juke 2016
The Nissan Juke is a quirky vehicle. It’s reminiscent of how people reacted to the first-generation Toyota RAV4 when it first came out. The general look of the Nissan Juke is a polarizing topic amongst SUV and car buyers alike.
What they can’t deny though is that this is an agile SUV with a peppy attitude. Think of it as a hatchback disguised as an SUV.
Not satisfied with Mazda’s sports car-like speed and handling? How about an SUV that’s based on an actual sports car? The Porsche Macan is a Porsche 911 coupe on steroids. This is an off-roading sportscar with AWD, a turbocharged 3.0 or 3.6-liter V6 with a 400 horsepower output!
The Subaru Outback is a sophisticated SUV that’s a pleasure to drive in traffic despite its size. It also helps that it has Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission (CVT)and other modern amenities to make it more convenient for the driver to navigate through tight city spaces.
The Suzuki Jimny is one of the hottest mini SUVs today. It brings to mind the appeal of the Mitsubishi Pajero Mini, Daihatsu Feroza, and Suzuki Beaver back. It also helps that the Jimny is based on an old line revamped to meet today’s exacting standards.
Surprisingly, the Suzuki Jimny can keep up with the big boys in off-road situations. Although bearing a smaller engine up front, it doesn’t lack for power and can conquer any obstacle the driver sets his mind to overcome.
Its fuel efficiency and mileage leave a lot to be desired though. This is still a good alternative if you want to trade SUV for a car.
One of the smallest, cutest SUVs in the market today quickly gaining a strong following among the young because of its looks, capabilities, and price. This is a mini SUV with the heart of a car. The small engine isn’t as powerful on acceleration but eventually gets you up to speed within a respectable amount of time.
The space within can seat four regular-sized people with enough room for a few suitcases in the rear compartment. Although it’s equipped with tiny tires, this micro SUV can easily get over small potholes with ease.
Out of all the options we’ve listed, this is the best if you want to trade SUV for a car.
You will have to make lots of adjustments if you do decide to trade SUV for a car. Knowing what to expect will minimize any disappointments you might have should there be any in the future.
If you’re looking for a car-like experience and still want to retain having the practical capabilities of an SUV, get a Crossover. That way you won’t have to totally trade SUV for a car and limit yourself to paved roads, cramped passenger cabins, and minimal cargo space.
Should I Trade My SUV For A Minivan Instead?
You could do that. The price point and practical features of SUVs and minivans are nearer than that of a sedan. The only thing you’ll most likely sacrifice when you trade your SUV for a minivan is the engine power. On the upside, you’ll get more space for passengers and cargo.
Related Article: Are SUVs Or Minivans Safer? Here’s The Truth
Can I Get A Sports Car For My SUV?
Yes. Most high-end or full-size SUVs are about the same price as a mid-level sports car. You will have to make some adjustments to your driving habits as sports cars are vastly different beasts when compared to an SUV. The handling, ground clearance, creature comforts, and speed will definitely be different.
In An Emergency, Can A Car Go Off-Road?
Yes, but with great difficulty. Cars were never designed to go off-road. The ground clearance alone is evidence that it should stay on paved roads. Add the relatively flimsy chassis and weak suspension and you’re in for a rough time. It’s best not to risk going off-road, even in an emergency, in a car not suited for it.