Should I Buy a Car Or An SUV? Helpful pros & cons list


Whether you consider yourself a car enthusiast, motorhead, or someone who doesn’t really care about cars but just wants them to work, the age-old question that crosses just about every prospective car buyer’s mind is, “Should I buy a car or should I buy an SUV?” Well, maybe we can help you decide.

For large families, SUVs provide space, safety, comfort and are capable of towing. A car on the other hand is excellent for small families who are looking for the most economically friendly choice. Choose the vehicle that serves you, your budget, and your family the best.

Personally, I have been in this mental struggle a few times, and having owned both; I still find it hard to choose. That is why we decided to talk about the many differences between the two selections and which one might suit you and your lifestyle.

Car Vs. SUV: Is The Price Right?

A significant determining factor towards this internal argument is your budget. This is not to say there isn’t something out there for you; it may just mean you need to calculate how much you can afford upfront, monthly, and in the long run.

Look at three cars and three SUVs that you are interested in. Once you know more or less what you are looking for, you can start working out the cost. Remember, Things such as dealership add-ons, transmission type, fuel type, and aspiration can all play a part in determining the price. Then, it would help if you dive deeper.

  • New vehicle: Essential costs that need to be looked at are the repair and maintenance costs. It is becoming common practice for new vehicles to come with warranties that you can extend to five years, so if you are buying new, with a maintenance plan, running repairs is something you need not worry about.
  • Used vehicle: For the used car buyers out there, there are things to look for. A strong trusted brand is usually your best bet. When it comes to spares, a homegrown brand makes a difference. Parts are made locally, and manufacturers are in the same country, making parts readily available at low prices.

For example, maintaining a ford car or SUV in the USA is cheaper than maintaining a german car, VW.

Size Matters

Another consideration that needs to be kept in mind is, what size vehicle are you looking for? Are you looking at a small to mid-range, or maybe even a large or luxury? Most importantly, what is your family’s needs?

Size on the road is one of the first differences you will notice when in an SUV. Personally, feeling big on the road has always made me feel a bit safer. Just the size of an SUV compared to a car already gives you the impression that they can withstand more damage, but looks can be deceiving, as some cars outperform many SUVs on safety ratings.

Look, Small cars are great for running errands, but they aren’t really of any help when you need to load them up. SUVs may offer all the space you may need but at the cost of much harsher fuel consumption.

Even with the underrated amount of boot space that most cars come with today, they will never be able to compete with the space of a Sports Utility Vehicle or SUV. The ability to load items without the constraints of a trunk does give SUVs an advantage on storage size.

What About My Lifestyle?

This question seems almost unrelated when buying a vehicle, but this is ultimately one of the biggest deciders.

You will find that most SUV owners did not buy an SUV as their first car. People will often start with a car, and as time goes on, they will realize that they need something bigger. This change is primarily for lifestyle reasons.

Look, if you play sports that do not take much space in your car, then a car or an SUV will be fine. Sports like soccer, football, tennis, and golf do not take up too much space. Even if you surf or mountain bike, either vehicle can transport your equipment. However, an SUV can do so with a lot more ease.

Reasons Why You Should Own An SUV

  • You own a boatYou go fishing
  • You ride off-road motorbikes, jet skis, or ATVs
  • You have a large family
  • You drive a lot on rural or open roads

Reasons Why You Should Own A Car

  • You drive mainly on city roads
  • You have a small family
  • You are trying to be economically efficient
  • You park in crowded parking lots

Car Vs. SUV: Where Do You Drive?

Where you live can ultimately be the most significant factor in this question, and it’s not even that hard to answer. If you live in the country, sedans are a no-no. A sedan could not deal with the degraded roads and gravel, so it only made sense to get something bigger and built for the occasion.

However, a sedan or compact car is excellent for city driving where space is limited, and the roads are often well kept.

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Fuel Options And Consumption

The choice between petrol or diesel can be tricky, but now with new options on the market like hybrid and electric, it makes it just that much harder. There will always be a petrol head or black smoke lover that you won’t be able to convince otherwise, but let’s look at some of the differences.

  • Petrol: Ultimately, the driving force that started vehicle transport as we know it. For a car, petrol is a viable option, especially for a smaller engine car. Smaller cars use less fuel for running around. When it comes to a petrol SUV, it can accomplish the same things as a car, but there will be a massive difference in your MPG, making it heavy on your wallet.
  • Diesel: Look, Diesel goes great in both sedans and SUVs. The low-end grunt and high torque of a diesel sedan are enticing. SUVs run a lot more economical with a diesel version and can often outperform their petrol versions. The MPG will be much lower than that of a petrol SUV.
  • Electric or Hybrid: The last option and one that is becoming increasingly more available is the electric or hybrid option. This is a relatively new option on the market. Still, with the current direction of climate change and the importance of conserving our planet, consumers are becoming more and more receptive to this idea. With zero emissions, this option, although new, is quickly becoming more and more relevant.

Pros & Cons

Pros of Owning SUVCons of Owning SUV
Feel more prominent on the road Higher cost
See what is around you Harder to drive in the city
Bigger storage space Hassle to park
More seats (Sometimes)
Excellent for transporting hobby equipment
Pros of Owning a Car Cons of Owning a Car
Wide variety such as compact, sedan, sports Limited storage space
Great for city driving Towing limitations
Easy to park Not the best for off-road
Fuel-efficient (Sometimes)
Lower maintenance costs (Relative)
Excellent for new drivers

Final Thoughts

Each vehicle in its own right can claim a multitude of achievements over the other, and some stats are very competitive where you wouldn’t think. When it comes to making that final decision, don’t let your ego dictate what car you buy.

Buying something more expensive to impress others just isn’t worth it. Hopefully, this article has helped give you more insight on the topic, and I would like to wish you happy car hunting.

Whichever vehicle you choose, just before pulling the trigger, invest a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of other buying pitfalls.

You may find these posts useful also:

Buy new or used SUV?

Is CarMax cheaper?

Are cars cheaper in Texas?

Are Lexus expensive to maintain?

Are BMW good cars?

Should I buy a used Toyota?

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

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