What do car segments really mean?

By Product Expert | Posted in Tips and Tricks, Used Cars on Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 9:02 pm
What is the difference between a compact vs midsize car?

When you are looking for a used car, as an individual or a family, it’s valuable to know whether a compact car, a midsize car, or even something larger is the best option. Names for different vehicles can vary wildly, and one person’s full-size car is another’s large car. Keep reading to learn what is the difference between a compact vs midsize car, and other information about what car segments really mean to drivers and families.

Read More: What’s the difference between a crossover and an SUV?

What is the difference between a compact vs midsize car?

image that shows a man dangling car keys and the words "Explore Financing"It’s pretty obvious to say that “size” is the difference between car segments, but we want to get a little more detailed. In the United States, the class of a passenger sedan is based on interior volume (which is the passenger space and the cargo area added together). This scale starts with minicompact and subcompact vehicles.

A compact vehicle starts at 100 cubic feet of total interior space. That switches to midsize at just 110 cubic feet and then up to large when you reach 120 cubic feet. Because of the increase in cargo space with a station wagon or hatchback, their classification system is different, with a midsize vehicle ranging from 130 to 159 cubic feet of interior.

Is a large sedan also a full-size sedan?

While the technical term used by the U.S. Government for a sedan with more than 120 cubic feet of interior space is “Large”, these vehicles are also often called “Full-size” models. While we can’t tell you exactly why there is such a variety, we know that Canada uses the “Full-size” terminology rather than “Large”, so we may have picked up that term from that country. Or , when writing regulations, they just chose another common term. A Canadian full-size sedan also starts at 120 cubic feet (3400 liters).

If you are looking for an attractive used vehicle in Austin TX, explore our selection of used compact, midsize and full-size vehicles here at Third Coast Auto.