What size of car is best for your needs?
Family and Labrador dog in a car together

Selecting a vehicle is a big decision. Not only is a new or used vehicle one of the most expensive things you’ll ever buy, but it’s also likely to be your primary means of transporting yourself, your family and friends, and your stuff from place to place. While every driver should have a great auto insurance policy, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which size of vehicle is right for you. Smaller vehicles can be more economical to operate and easier to park on busy downtown streets or in tight garages, but larger ones offer more passenger space, cargo room, and versatility.

To help you narrow down your options and pick the vehicle that’s best for you, here are the pros and cons for each major category of vehicle, from coupes to minivans.

Coupes and convertibles 

There’s a good reason that coupes and convertibles make up a relatively small proportion of the vehicles on Canadian roads. They may be nice to look at and fun to drive, but the tradeoff is limited space for passengers and cargo. If you have kids or plan to have any in the near future, a coupe or convertible is not your best bet. (Just because you can fit a car seat into the back doesn’t mean it will be easy or comfortable to access it.) Likewise, small trunks aren’t great at accommodating strollers and other family necessities.


Sedans have been around longer than almost any other style of car for good reason: they just work. While sedans are less popular than they once were, they still offer a great balance of practicality and style. Sedans range in size, but most are designed to accommodate four adults in reasonable comfort, plus a modest amount of luggage in the trunk. Some sedans also offer the flexibility of fold-down rear seats, which can make it easier to transport large items like sports gear and strollers. Sedans score well across most important criteria, but their limited cargo space makes them less versatile than crossovers or SUVs.


Good on gas and easy to park, a hatchback offers a lot of the versatility of a small SUV, plus better fuel economy and affordability. This makes so-called “five-door” models (the fifth door being the rear hatch) popular choices for urban dwellers, young families, or anyone else who wants the most bang for the buck out of their vehicle. Most hatchbacks also have 60/40 folding rear seats, which create a larger cargo area. Since hatchbacks are compact cars, however, the biggest drawbacks are limited cargo and passenger space, as well as a lack of premium options like all-wheel drive.


If you like the increased ride height and cargo space of an SUV but don’t want something that drives like a truck, a crossover (also sometimes called a small-or midsized SUV, or CUV) might be your best bet. Larger than a compact hatchback but smaller than a full-sized SUV, many crossovers boast premium features like all-wheel drive, and some models are available in hybrid and EV configurations. 

Full-sized SUVs

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) come in several sizes, but anyone looking for maximum cargo and passenger space should consider a full-sized model. These typically feature third-row seating, all-wheel drive, and many comfort and convenience options from full-length moon roofs to multi-zone climate control. With great size, however, comes decreased fuel economy, higher prices, and more difficulty parking in small spaces. Despite their drawbacks, the styling and seating capacity of these vehicles makes them some of the most popular SUVs on the market. 


The minivan has a reputation as being boring but practical, and that’s more or less accurate. If you transport four or five passengers regularly and a lot of gear regularly, however, there’s no vehicle better for your needs. Designed for the comfort and convenience of passengers, minivans feature thoughtful touches like sliding doors (which make it easier to get into the third row) second-row captain’s chairs and USB ports for passengers. Thanks to lower ground clearance and better aerodynamics, they also usually have better fuel economy than full-sized SUVs. Plus since minivans have a reputation as being less stylish than SUVs, you might be able to get a better deal on one.

Whichever size of vehicle you choose, make sure your auto insurance policy is equally tailored to your needs.

Jeremy Freed is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. His writing about fashion, travel, food and design appears in Sharp, Harry and re:Porter magazines, among many others.

Jeremy Freed is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.