Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Victor A

Usually, you’ll find SUVs categorized by sizes as it’s the easiest way to characterize them. Depending on who you’re asking, the ranks might vary, but the most accepted ones are, crossovers (compact), as the smallest; mid-size (intermediate), as the medium-sized; and full-size SUVs (standard) as the largest. Here, we will be focusing on the full-size standard versus midsize SUV categories.

Be aware that, Midsize and intermediate SUV cars are the same thing, just a different name. While full-size and standard SUV is also the same, again, the naming is the difference.

Midsize SUVs (intermediate) – Pros and Cons

BMW X5 Midsize (intermediate) SUV
BMW X5 Midsize (intermediate) SUV

When you say the word “SUV” the first thing that comes to mind are cars like the Range Rover Sport, Mercedes G-Class, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Audi Q7, etc. That’s because until not so long ago, mid-size SUVs dominated the segment.

However the automobile market has changed quite a bit, and now the vast majority of new SUVs are crossovers since these are replacing passenger cars and are experiencing the biggest growth in the market.

But mid-size SUVs are still quite common, new models are constantly launched and old ones are being redesigned almost on a yearly basis.

Demand for intermediate SUVs is high, and a reason for that is that when it comes to design, midsize SUVs usually look better than crossovers or full-size SUVs because the proportions look right because of the dimensions.

Just look at some of the SUVs mentioned above, most of them are flawlessly designed and are easy to identify from far away.

But midsize SUVs has more advantages, and of course, some disadvantages as well:


  • Versatile, they are comfortable in the city, cruising through the highways, and off-roading
  • Plenty of room, most can easily fit a family of five members and some can even fit 7 members.
  • The high driving position, which provides better visibility and comfort when driving.
  • Most performance-oriented SUVs are found here, like the Lamborghini Urus (650 hp), the Bentley Bentayga Speed (626 hp), etc.


  • Most modern mid-size SUVs are based on passenger car platforms for cost-cutting purposes.
  • AWD is reserved for the range-topping versions, and 4WD is mostly not offered.
  • Most come with two rows of seating, and the few that come with three rows are limited in space.
  • Their towing capacity is not that high, as when it comes to towing large and heavy objects you might need something more capable.

Full-size SUVs (standard) – Pros and Cons

Cadillac Escalade full-size (standard) SUV
Cadillac Escalade full-size (standard) SUV

American SUVs have always ruled the full-size SUV market, as the US is its hottest market, however, things have changed in the last few years, as European brands have started to introduce new full-size models, like the BMW X7, Mercedes GLS, etc. 

Also, Japanese automakers have been present in this market for a while, some of their most notable full-size SUVs are the Lexus GX, Nissan Armada, Infiniti GX80, and the Toyota Sequoia.

As the European automakers have started to introduce their models here, the American carmakers have started to improve the quality and design of their most iconic standard SUVs to keep competitive, and honestly, they are doing a great job. A good example of that is the new 2021 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

Something to keep in mind is that many full-size SUVs are usually not offered in Europe, and the reason for that is mostly based on culture and geography. In Europe, it is not common for people to travel long-distance regularly, while in the US, it’s way more common.

Another reason for this is that in Europe most cities are made for small cars, which means parking spaces that are very limited in space, garages that are hard to maneuver, and old cities with many tight corners.

And one last thought is something cultural, in the US towing large objects is quite common, while in Europe you won’t usually see that.

In terms of pros and cons of the full-size (standard) SUVs:


  • They’re most off-road capable SUVs, they can tackle the hardest situations without problems.
  • Massive towing capacities, full-size SUVs can tow some serious weight.
  • They’re very spacious, as most come with three-row seating and lots of cargo space.
  • Most come with either AWD or 4WD, which furthers the point that they’re the best for harsh situations.


  • Tedious to park, especially if you live in a city where parking spaces are small.
  • Huge fuel consumption, their sizes, weight, and aerodynamics make them not so fuel-efficient.
  • Their driving dynamics are bad, as their handling is clunky and its weight makes them boring to drive.
  • They are costly since they’re placed as range-toppers above mid-size SUVs.

Intermediate versus standard SUV, which one is better?

When it comes to choosing which type of SUV is the best, it all comes down to needs. It’s not as simple as saying that midsize (intermediate) versus full-size (standard) SUV cars is based on which one has more advantages.

As you’ve seen each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and some disadvantages might be a dealbreaker for you, while others might not be so important.

For example, if you require an SUV with an important towing capacity, you might want to look at full-size SUVs, as the TOP 5 highest towing capacity SUVs are all full-size.

On the contrary, if you live in a city where usually parking requires some maneuverability, and corners are a bit tight, a mid-size SUV will be a better option.

The good news is that lots of automakers offer similar SUVs in different sizes, like the BMW X5 (a midsize SUV) and the BMW X7 (a full-size SUV), or the recently updated Jeep Grand Cherokee (midsize SUV) and the all-new Jeep Grand Wagoneer (full-size SUV).

An important factor for many people is the pricing, remember that the full-size model will always be more expensive than its mid-size sibling since standard SUVs are placed above the intermediate ones.

Crossovers SUVs (Compact) is another option

Another option that you might be aware of, is the crossover SUVs, which are closer to passenger cars than to traditional SUVs.

Some of its main characteristics are that they are all based on passenger cars platforms, their handling is decent, and they are a great option for people who will be using them mostly inside cities.

But not everything is advantageous for compact SUVs, be mindful that since their size is smaller that means that there’s less cargo space, and less room for passengers. 

Other problems one might find with crossovers are the fact that they aren’t useful for off-roading, and most of them come with RWD.

However, one of the best things about this type of SUVs is the availability of versions in either hybrid or electric powertrains.

Every year, automakers are launching new electric crossovers, and hybrid ones are quite common. For those who rarely use them on the highway, those options can be quite attractive.




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