Interior and Trunk Capacity:
MINICOMPACT: 4 passengers; less than 2.4 m3 (85 ft3)
Advantages: Excellent for city driving; maneuverable; easy to park. Lowest fuel consumption of any type of car; some models claim 4.8 L/100 km (59 mpg) with diesel engine and manual transmission.
Disadvantages: Poor passenger protection in a collision. Highway performance only fair due to small engine. Back seat cramped for adults on long trips. Limited trunk space. Fewest available options.
SUBCOMPACT: 4 passengers; 2.4-2.8 m3 (85-100 ft3)
Advantages: Advantages of minicompact plus added trunk space and back seat legroom. Low insurance rates, depreciation, and annual maintenance costs. Excellent fuel economy, especially with diesel.
Disadvantages: Many minicompact disadvantages. Can be noisy and cramped for four passengers on long trips. Lack of power for towing, although some manufacturers offer optional larger engine. Few options.
COMPACT: 4-5 passengers; 2.8-3.1 m3 (100-110 ft3)
Advantages: Many advantages of smaller cars, but less road noise and more available options, including better highway performance with larger engines. Good all-round car for small family.
Disadvantages: Fair protection in a collision. Insufficient power for towing larger trailer. Limited passenger legroom. Headroom sometimes sacrificed for style. Harsher ride than larger cars.
MIDSIZE: 5-6 passengers; 3.1-3.4 m3 (110-120 ft3)
Advantages: Good compromise between large car and compact. Wide choice of engine sizes and options. More luggage and passenger space, less noise than smaller cars. Fair fuel economy.
Disadvantages: Higher initial cost than for smaller cars. Mediocre fuel economy on models with large engines and power options. Higher maintenance costs. Somewhat harder to maneuver and park.
FULL-SIZE: 6 passengers; 3.4 m3 (120 ft3) or more
Advantages: Generally best highway performance and passenger protection in collisions. Best size for towing trailers. Most options available and largest passenger and cargo space for an automobile.
Disadvantages: Higher fuel, insurance, and upkeep costs than for smaller models. Limited maneuverability, even with power steering and brakes. Requires large parking space. Highest depreciation.
VAN: 5-9 passengers; 3.4-4.5 m3 (120-220 ft3)
Advantages: Most cargo and passenger space; can be converted to a recreational vehicle complete with beds, stove, and sink. Good for towing trailers. Fair fuel economy with smaller engine.
Disadvantages: Full-size vans difficult to park and maneuver because of size. Poor fuel economy with larger engines. Difficult to heat and cool evenly. Mini-vans sacrifice cargo room for ease of handling.
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