If you're not sure whether to choose a midsize sedan or a full-size sedan for your next vehicle, you've come to the right place. We've prepared some insight into the decision that will help you decide which body style is right for you.
Full-Size vs. Midsize Differences
Before we tackle the reasons why you might prefer one over the other, we should look at the major differences between a full-size sedan and a midsize sedan. While you may think there's a big difference between the two, the reality is a little different.
You can primarily see the difference between a full-size and a midsize when you consider overall length. An average midsize sedan is around 190 inches in length, or very close to that figure. The Toyota Camry, for example, is 189 inches in length, while the Honda Accord is 191.4 inches. The Ford Fusion is on the larger end at 191.7 inches, but it's still in the same area.
Full-size sedans are longer but not by much. The Ford Taurus, for example, measures around 203 inches in length, while the Toyota Avalon is 195.3 inches. The latest Chevrolet Impala splits the difference at around 201 inches in overall length.
Of course, there are other traits that separate a midsize sedan from a full-size sedan. One is pricing: Most full-size sedans start around $30,000, while midsize models are usually closer to $25,000. Full-size sedans also tend to offer slightly larger trunks and more interior room than their midsize counterparts.
Why a Full-Size?
With differences in length as small as they are, one might wonder why it's necessary to bother with a full-size sedan. After all, a base-level Toyota Avalon starts around $32,000, while the starting price of a 2014 Camry is almost $10,000 less. Are those additional few inches really worth all that extra money?
To some shoppers, the answer is no. But many drivers choose full-size sedans every year, and it's not only about the size.
One benefit that full-size sedans offer over midsize models is ride quality. Many full-size sedans are aimed at shoppers who want a more luxurious vehicle, which means they boast a softer driving experience and a more relaxing ride. Few midsize sedans can match that, as automakers are increasingly trying to tempt midsize shoppers with enjoyment rather than relaxation.
Full-size sedans are also typically preferred by drivers who frequently find themselves carrying cargo or transporting other adults. There's a logical reason: Although full-size sedans aren't vastly larger than midsize models, most automakers put every extra inch into the back seats and trunk. A full-size sedan that adds just 12 inches in overall length will usually have an extra 3 or 4 inches of rear legroom and an ample 8 or 9 inches of increased trunk space. That usually means more room for golf clubs and other larger items.
What's Best for Families?
If you're looking for the best family sedan on the market, you'll probably find more of what you're looking for in a midsize rather than a full-size. There are a few reasons for this.
For one, midsize sedan models tend to offer enough room for most families. No, they don't have the luxurious rear-seat room of a full-size car, but do your young children really need so much room in back? The same goes for trunk space: If a few extra inches are really that crucial to you, it might be time to start looking at minivans rather than sedans.
Additionally, we tend to recommend midsize sedans because they offer better gas mileage than their larger counterparts. For example: A base-level Toyota Avalon uses a 3.5-liter V6 that gets 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, whereas a base-level Camry uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that returns a more frugal 25 mpg city/35 mpg hwy.
We also find that full-size sedans usually don't offer any unique features you can't get in a midsize model. The Ford Taurus, for instance, doesn't have any safety or convenience features that the smaller Fusion doesn't, leaving a larger interior and trunk as the sole benefits that you'll get for the Taurus' price premium.
In the end, we think that a midsize sedan is just enough car for the vast majority of shoppers. But if you're always transporting adults or if you need some extra trunk space, we wouldn't fault you for making the leap to a full-size model.