Shopping for an SUV Based on Size: Examining the Differences Between Mid and Full-Sized

A white 2020 Ford Expedition is shown towing a camper trailer on a forest highway.

When it comes to the vehicle shopping experience for the driver who looks for safety, storage, and seating, the choice is pretty straightforward—they tend to look for an SUV. In the past few years, the vehicle class has skyrocketed in popularity among drivers, surpassing the sedan, sports car, and coupe, among others, to be the most popular choice. Understanding the intricacies and differences among the various makes and models might seem complicated, as an almost never-ending number of new offerings spring up every year. Here at Future Ford of Sacramento, we can’t tell you how many times people have come to our location searching for an ideal model that will enhance their quality of life and provide the necessary seating and storage that they’re looking for. As a new and used SUV dealer, we make it a point to have all of the correct and up-to-date information to allow our customers to make a well-informed decision. Today, we offer some answers to one of the most frequently asked questions: What are the differences between mid and full-size SUVs?

What are the Differences Between Mid and Full-Size SUVs?

The primary differences between a mid and a full-sized SUV are relatively self-explanatory, as the terms relate to the particular size of the vehicle. But, these attributes themselves have some basic tenets that need to be addressed. A full-sized SUV, which was once the most popular choice among drivers and the primary design offered by many manufacturers, consists of three rows of seating that can accommodate seven to eight passengers. Recent years have seen the inclusion of captain’s chairs in the second row as an option, while bench seating is commonly found in many models. A full-sized SUV is ideal for people who need copious amounts of storage and need seating for a lot of passengers at any given time. On average, a full-sized SUV will have 20 to 30 cu.ft. of storage behind the third row of seating, which is about double the average trunk size of a four-door sedan— about 15. Full-sized SUVs have the advantage of being adaptable to various storage configurations, with 50 to 60 cu.ft. of additional space becoming available when the third row of seating is removed, and sometimes well over 100 cu.ft with the second row removed. Depending on how many people and how much cargo you have to carry at any given time, a full-sized SUV might be ideal for you.

When it comes to the midsize SUV, the vehicle class still offers an ample amount of storage. More often than not, a midsize SUV will have a second row of seating instead of the three rows that are common for most full-sized models. On average, with both rows of seating left in a vehicle, you’ll still have 20-30 cu.ft. of storage, a figure that can double when the second row is removed or folded down. While this typically means that the midsize SUV can be used for seating or storage, but not always both, there are other advantages the vehicle has which can’t be ignored. Midsize SUVs tend to be smaller in size and much easier to drive and maneuver, and they also have smaller powertrains that allow them to be more conservative in their fuel consumption. Deciding which SUV will work best for you depends entirely on what you need to use a vehicle for.

A blue 2020 Ford Explorer is shown from the side parked in a driveway after leaving a used SUV dealer.

Comparing Mid and Full-Sized SUVs in the Ford Fleet

Here at Future Ford of Sacramento, understanding the intricacies of the Ford fleet is something we’re well-versed in. Naturally, one of the best ways that we can properly describe the differences between mid and full-sized SUVs is by examining some of the offerings that best illustrate these two specifications. A perfect example of a full-sized SUV from the blue brand is the Ford Expedition. Offering three rows of seating and having a length of 210 inches, it’s certainly built for the individual who needs all the space they can get. And, because of its size, it requires a beefy powertrain to propel it forward and allow for the vehicle’s admirable towing capacity of 9,300 lbs. This takes the form of a turbocharged 3.5L V6 that boasts 400 hp. With all three rows in place, over 20 cu.ft. of cargo room is available, a number that increases to over 63 when the third row is taken out of the equation. Removing all passenger space results in over 104 available feet of room, making it one of the most spacious offerings on the market.

The near-perfect example to counteract the full-sized capabilities of the Ford Expedition would be looking at its younger sibling, the Ford Explorer. It is the flagship SUV of Ford and the vehicle that helped establish the vehicle class as an ideal choice for the average driver, and not just off-roaders and adventurers. The Ford Explorer is slightly smaller than the Expedition, as its length comes out to just under 199 inches. And while it has similar seating arrangements to the Expedition, its storage capabilities are noticeably different. With all seating in place, you have over 18 cu.ft. of storage space, which is still more than the average trunk size of a four-door sedan. With all seating removed, this increased to just under 88 cu.ft. While this is still a lot of room, it’s not as much as what the Expedition has to offer. And unlike the beefy V6 that’s needed to move the Expedition forward, the Explorer’s base powertrain consists of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 300 hp. This allows for a towing capacity of 5,600 lbs.

Which One is Better? It’s up to You!

While there are noticeable differences between the full-sized and midsize SUVs, and each one has its own unique advantages, choosing the best one is much like choosing between apples and oranges. The driver who has a lot of people that they’re responsible for and needs that extra room will undoubtedly need a full-sized vehicle to facilitate their needs. On the other end of the spectrum, a driver who has a keen eye for saving gas and might not have to haul cargo and people at the same time will certainly benefit significantly from the capabilities of a midsize SUV like the Explorer or Bronco. It’s simply a matter of what works best for you and your situation.

A black 2016 Ford Edge is shown driving through a city intersection while making a turn.

The Ideal SUV Awaits You at Future Ford of Sacramento

In recent years, Ford has shifted their collective focus to the manufacturing of more SUVs that adhere to the needs of more drivers. The Explorer and Expedition are undoubtedly the most well-known, but similar offerings like the Edge, Escape, Bronco, and the Mustang Mach-E are all very capable of meeting your needs as a driver. And when it comes to fulfilling the needs of the many, we, the few who work at Future Ford of Sacramento, are here to assist you in finding the right vehicle. With the right inventory and a staff who understands the capabilities of Ford and the needs of a variety of drivers, there’s no better time to get behind the wheel of a Ford SUV and hit the road with confidence.


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