Finding Your Perfect Fit: A Guide to SUV Sizes and Top Models

The SUV market is filled with endless possibilities. If you’re searching for used SUVs for sale in Westminster, trying to find your perfect ride might feel as tough as searching for a needle in a haystack. From zippy compact crossovers to full-size luxurious giants, the current SUV market offers a diverse selection for every budget and lifestyle. Off-roading around the Windmill Ridge? A Jeep Wrangler is always up for adventure. Commuting? It’s tough to go past the Toyota RAV4. Growing family? The Kia Telluride has room for everyone! With so many choices, where does one even begin?


Let us help you navigate the SUV landscape. Whether you’re a solo urban driver looking for a slick and stylish daily ride or you need ample space for family and friends, there is an SUV out there that is designed to meet your needs, and we’re going to help you find it! We’re going to look closer at SUV sizes and options and offer an insider’s perspective and recommendations to help you get started on your journey to the ideal SUV. From efficiency to comfort to rugged performance you’re sure to find the SUV that ticks all the right boxes, once you know what you’re looking for.


SUVs and Crossovers: What’s the Difference?


SUVs are known for their cargo space, roomy seating, and endless possibilities. Looking at the models it’s usually easy to tell between a compact SUV and a full-size model. But what is a crossover? Is it smaller than an SUV? What about mid-size and full-size crossovers? Is a crossover still an SUV? To avoid rough patches, let’s first sort out the difference between a crossover (CUV) and an SUV.


While SUVs and crossovers can look similar, they are each uniquely assembled for different tasks. A crossover tends to be smaller and drive more like a car. A crossover is also made from a unibody construction, this is when the body and the frame are one. The Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 are great examples of unibody construction.


An SUV on the other hand features a more rugged build, closer to trucks than cars. SUVs feature a body-on-frame build. This is a design you see applied to SUVs as well as trucks and other rugged models. Body-on-frame is a classic way to build a vehicle and simply put, a body put onto a chassis. Examples of this can range from the Jeep Wrangler to the Chevy Suburban.


It’s important to note that while some models started off as a body-on-frame SUV they were later redesigned as a crossover. A good example of this is the Chevy TrailBlazer. The model was introduced as a body-on-frame SUV and stayed that way for many years. Then in 2021, Chevy introduced the Trailblazer (note the lowercase ‘b’) as a subcompact crossover. So if in doubt, make sure you verify whether the current model you’re checking out is an SUV or a crossover, because sometimes it can get a little tricky when you’re shopping.


SUV Sizes for Your Lifestyle


Now that we know the difference between SUVs and crossovers, let’s check out sizing. The smallest sizes you can get are subcompact and then compact. These smaller bodies usually are associated with crossovers and tend to drive more like a car. Drivers opt for subcompact or compact to get great features like all-wheel drive or raised seating while still getting noteworthy fuel economy. Subcompact and compact models also tend to have lower starting prices on account of their petite size. This is great for budget-minded drivers.


And if you’re a commuter and want something a little bigger than a sedan, a subcompact or compact-size vehicle might be right up your alley. Who are subcompact and compact crossovers ideal for? Many drivers who haven’t owned an SUV before tend to find transitioning from car to SUV easier when opting for a subcompact or compact size. This tends to be one of the reasons for the fast growth in this segment.


A black 2021 Chevy Trax is shown from the front at an angle.


Subcompact SUVs


Drivers who don’t need extensive cargo space and simply want a fun little vehicle will find a lot to love about subcompacts. They give you slightly more muscle than your typical sedan but are affordable and flexible. Some noteworthy subcompacts that offer drivers a lot of value include the very affordable Chevy Trax which offers an impressive 27 MPG combined fuel economy and the Mazda CX-30 which proves that stylish things can come in little packages.


Whether you’re going on a scenic drive to enjoy the famous New England fall foliage at one of the area’s nearby national parks or you’re commuting to Springfield or Battleboro for work, subcompact crossovers have lots of little perks that add up to a great driving experience.


Compact SUVs


When you want more flexibility the compact crossover segment might be what you’re after. While compacts tend to seat the same amount of passengers (five) as subcompacts they have roomier cabins with more cargo space. Young families moving up from a sedan tend to navigate towards compact because of their flexibility to change and grow with their small family.


You can also get into a newer compact SUV without straining your budget. Popular compact crossover SUVs include some iconic names like the Toyota RAV4, considered one of the best-selling vehicles in America along with the Honda CR-V. Both models feature a smart design that makes use of every inch of space. From high fuel efficiency to off-road capabilities, if you’re an active solo adventurer or a nature-loving family models like the RAV4 are fun capable driving companions you can count on.


Mid-Size SUVs


Moving up from the compact segment we go into mid-size SUV territory. A mid-size SUV can be anything from a 5-seater two-row vehicle to a three-row vehicle with the capability to seat between 6-7 people. If you have a growing family and need plenty of wiggle room the mid-size SUV segment is probably your best fit.


Mid-size SUVs tend to have a higher purchase price than smaller models, but they make up for it with an airy cabin, beefy engine choices capable of towing, plus lots of convenience. This segment is so diverse it’s no wonder mid-size SUVs have such widespread appeal.


If you need seating for up to eight passengers but you’re shopping on a budget, the Kia Telluride is a model to watch out for. The mid-size SUV has three rows of seating, and plenty of standard tech, and starts at a great price for such a spacious SUV. For 2024 the model was ranked as the “#1 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money” award plus the “#1 Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for Families” award by U.S. News and World Reports.


For those looking for high performance SUVs that can tackle muddy camping trails or snowy Vermont winters, look no further than Jeep. Both the Jeep Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee are made for tough drives. While the Wrangler can seat between 4-5 passengers depending on its configuration, the Cherokee seats up to five or can be upgraded with a third row for additional seating. With these iconic Jeep mid-size models, you can not only have plenty of cargo space but also extensive capabilities that can take you from downtown Westminster across the Connecticut River Valley, over to the West River, and home again in time for that Monday commute.


Full-Size SUVs


Finally, we’re up to the largest SUV segment, full-size. When you want lots of room and lots of performance potential the full-size market is waiting to impress drivers. The full-size SUV class has three rows. You’d be quick to point out but wait, some mid-size SUVs also feature three rows. It comes mostly down to body length when differentiating between mid-size and full-size. A full-size SUV is any SUV with a body longer than 201 inches. Oftentimes a full-size SUV has the potential to seat between 8-9 people while mid-size rarely goes above eight passengers, and at eight passengers, it’s usually a stretch.


With a full-size model, drivers get a spacious cabin that is designed for comfort across all three rows. Convenient features might include a rear vision camera, slide seating for easy rear row access, and lots and lots of cargo space for when you need to haul cargo rather than the family.


Drivers normally don’t buy full-size SUVs for their fuel economy or small carbon footprint, but rather for convenience and rugged performance. Large SUVs like the Chevy Suburban and Tahoe have noteworthy towing abilities as well as off-roading potential but come with a higher price tag than smaller SUVs and crossovers.


Favorites in the full-size segment range from the best-selling Suburban to the more luxury-centered Cadillac Escalade. But don’t be fooled by the Escalade’s flashy reputation, it still features an aggressive engine that is capable of heavy-duty towing as well as off-roading.

A red 2023 Toyota Sequoia is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that has used SUVs for sale in Westminster.


Get the Right Fit


Navigating the crossover and SUV market can feel challenging even if you’re a seasoned driver who knows their way around a car lot. From compact crossovers that are more car than SUVs to mid-size family machines or full-size off-roaders, finding that perfect SUV is as much a practical decision as it is a reflection of your lifestyle and driving habits.


Do you prioritize efficiency? Are you shopping on a budget? Opting for subcompact and compact models is a great way to get plenty of bang for your buck while accessing some of the best small crossovers and SUVs on the market. Ideal for commuting, these bite-size models offer drivers a lot in terms of performance and cargo space that many sedans don’t.


And mid-size? Talk about versatility! Mid-size is great for your fast-faced on-the-go lifestyle that might require seating for six one moment and cargo space for camping gear the next. Mid-size SUVs show they aren’t just family vehicles but adventitious SUVs that are always up for whatever the road has in store.


A variety of full-size SUVs are considered luxurious but they aren’t afraid to get their tires dirty either. They feature extensive seating and cargo space and all the convenience features you could want but also they come complete with powerful engines that make them capable of hauling your boat, or your ski gear, along with friends and family.


So why wait? Now that you know, it’s easier than ever to start your SUV journey to find your ideal co-pilot. Whether big or small, SUVs and crossovers are popular for a reason. Don’t settle for less than the perfect fit when you can get a ride to elevate every aspect of your driving experience.

April 19, 2024
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