Many automotive customers believe that going bigger is always better. Something about driving a large vehicle just feels comfortable and safe. Sitting higher on the highway, seeing more cars and obstacles can make you feel more aware and alert. At the same time, it is not always safer or more practical than driving a regular sedan. That is why there is a growing number of individuals going all the way to the other end of the size spectrum: subcompact cars.
Is going smaller possible without giving up a lot of the conveniences you get with larger vehicles? There are some sacrifices to make regarding overall passenger and cargo space, but having the luxurious accents and features that come with larger vehicles is absolutely possible. More importantly, it is easier to afford many of these additions since you will be paying a much lower price tag for a subcompact like the 2018 Chevy Sonic.
If you do not know anything about subcompact cars or why you should check one out the next time you are in the market for a new vehicle, keep on reading.
What Is A Subcompact?
It is hard to keep up with all of the different types of vehicles on the roads today. From large SUVs and trucks to sedans, coupes, station wagons, and hatchbacks, the options are seemingly endless Thankfully, however, understanding where a subcompact car fits in all of this is much easier: subcompacts are small.
Often coming in a two- or a compact four-seat configuration, subcompact cars give you a small interior and footprint. On one hand, this means you should expect less additional space in the trunk and rear seats (if any are included). On the other hand, the smaller size increases many important areas of the car’s overall performance.
Subcompact cars embody everything that people want for excellent maneuverability and fuel efficiency. Regarding fuel economy, some subcompact vehicles even rival many of the larger hybrid drivetrains available today. This is all due to the size and engine requirements. A smaller car being lighter does not require the same level of horsepower to get around during a typical drive because there is less weight and mass. Being lighter makes the car more efficient overall.
The Advantages Of Going Small
What would possess anyone to downsize their primary mode of transportation this much? Beyond mere fuel efficiency, the benefits of a subcompact car are numerous. Performance-wise, few other cars can match the tight turning radius and overall maneuverability of a subcompact. Once again, physics are on the side of going small in this case.
Most subcompact cars have a shorter wheelbase than larger sedans and SUVs. A shorter distance between the front and rear wheels allow the car to turn more quickly in a smaller space. This increases general maneuverability, meaning a subcompact car will go places that will challenge other, larger vehicles. From parking to driving on curvy roads, you may enjoy the tighter feel of a subcompact virtually anywhere on the road.
Beyond turning, the smaller size of a subcompact also makes it feel sportier. Acceleration is one area that gets a boost with a smaller chassis. When coupled with the right engine, a subcompact can accelerate more quickly because of the lighter frame. Some professionals even use popular subcompacts as a respectable racing platform when a combination of high speed, acceleration, and tight turning is required for the competitive advantage.
Finally, do not forget about the benefits inside the car as well. Yes, a subcompact will naturally be smaller on the inside than other vehicles. This is a hard reality to ignore since many car owners seek a more spacious interior for greater comfort and cargo room. While you may not get a cavernous space inside a subcompact, you will get some great head and legroom with many models.
More importantly, you can get many optional and luxury features that may be too expensive with a larger vehicle. Full-sized vehicles that start at a higher price point make it difficult to afford the trims and upgrade packages you may want. Features such as heated seats, advanced infotainment systems, and turn-by-turn navigation may be out of reach financially with a full-size vehicle. With a subcompact car, you will start much lower with the base price. With a smaller initial price tag, those upgrades will be more accessible and affordable in the long run.
Who Is A Subcompact For?
In truth, subcompact cars are not right for everyone. Some people need the larger size of SUVs and trucks for many reasons. Larger families and working professionals, a larger sized car is a must in order to get by during the daily drive. For most people, however, a subcompact is a great option to consider as a primary or secondary car.
Individuals or couples looking to buy their first car should look at a subcompact for the lower base price. Subcompacts are more affordable and come with many of the same or optional features as larger sedans for a lower price. Driving a subcompact as a daily commuter is also beneficial for the better fuel efficiency and greater maneuverability. If you live in a city or heavy traffic environment, the small size of the subcompact is hard to beat for parking in congested areas.
People looking for a second car should also give a subcompact a good look. Once again, greater fuel efficiency and maneuverability have their perks as a secondary vehicle. If you have a larger ride meant for longer trips or large cargo hauls, a subcompact makes a good counterbalance vehicle. Drive the larger rig when you need the space; stick with the subcompact for everyday trips when you can conserve fuel.
The only way to truly see if a subcompact is the right vehicle for you is to take one for a test drive. Getting behind the wheel of something like the 2018 Chevy Sonic is a rewarding experience, especially for first-time subcompact drivers. You will be able to experience the unique handling characteristics and feel of a smaller car. You will also see how much room a subcompact interior gives you even with the smaller footprint.