Big cars vs. small cars

Buying a car is a big deal and one common debate that often arises during the car buying process is whether a big car or a small car is better.

It is a fair question as car size often affects price and economy, but ultimately the decision depends on your specific needs.

Big and small car sales in Taunton and the rest of the UK have continued to rise for Ford and as reported in this article it is the same case across the rest of Europe, but the fact that big and small cars are as popular as each other doesn’t help a consumer decide which model to buy.

To help we have compiled a list of some of the pros and cons of owning a big car compared to a small car.

Big Car

Marius Marcus, who helps run the Auto Motor Blog, said that some advantages for SUVs and other big cars included off-road capabilities, more interior space for passengers and better cargo space as well as being slightly safer. With this in mind we take a look at these pros.

Off-road capabilities

Cars such as the Ford Ranger and other SUVs are renowned for their off-road capabilities and if you are a farmer or need to travel on different types of terrain because of your job, a model like the Ranger or another large car would probably be best for you.

Smaller cars are not built for driving up hills or on fields and if this is an essential for you then you need to buy a big car.


Larger cars and SUVs do have more space for people and their belongings. This is great if you are going on holiday or need to load up the car on a regular basis because of work.

Small cars on the other hand tend to be comfortable for fewer people and therefore would not be a great choice for large families.

Stuart Masson, who is the editor of The Car Expert, said, “Getting used to the extra length or width of a larger car might take some time, but it's usually easier than trying to cram all that stuff you're used to lugging around into a smaller vehicle – especially when you're going away for a few days.

“The back seat is the place where you tend to really notice the difference, so if you regularly carry rear passengers then a smaller car may just not cut it.”


It is generally considered that in an accident a large car is safer as larger vehicles have more sheet metal to protect the driver and passengers.

Should a large car be involved in a crash with a small car, then a large car would impact more on the smaller vehicle rather than the other way around.


As a result of large cars having more sheet metal, there are more opportunities for these cars to be styled and shaped by designers, whilst due to their size smaller cars are more difficult to style.

The more room inside big cars means that the interiors can be more extravagant, but this is changing as the appearance and style of smaller cars have improved dramatically over the years.

Small car

Better economy

The Car Expert’s Stuart Masson, said, "Of course, a smaller car will probably get better economy and better performance from the same engine size, simply because there is less weight to lug around.

“However, the difference may not be as great as you think, particularly if you are not trying to get everywhere as fast as possible.”

The likes of the Ford Fiesta are renowned for their fuel economy and a recent article on Auto Express about the most economical cars reveals that in 2015 the Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi ECOnetic car was the second most economical car in the UK.

Easier to park

It is generally considered that small cars are easier to park than large cars, especially when it comes to street parking.

Stuart Masson from The Car Expert also feels smaller cars usually handle with more agility, which would make them slightly easier to drive on busy roads.

He said, “A larger car will also tend to ride more smoothly, although in turn a smaller car will usually handle with more agility.”

Easier to jump from a small car to large car

Stuart Masson also believes that it is much easier to move from driving a small car to a big car. He added, “It's often easier to make the jump from a small car to a big car than it is to go the other way.”

First-time drivers, for example, are usually advised to buy a small car before they buy a big car. The 2Pass website highly recommends learner drivers purchase models such as the Ford Ka, Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus because of their low running costs, decent space and reliability.


Unsurprisingly small cars are less expensive than big cars to buy as bigger cars take more raw materials to make.

Lower tax, insurance and fuel costs also mean that smaller cars overall are more affordable than bigger cars.