Subcompact SUVs: What Exactly Are They?

All these SUV terms can be confusing, compacts, subcompact and small cars

2023 Buick Encore GX
Encore GX | Buick

I know you have the question burning inside you whenever you see an SUV commercial on TV or on YouTube. Don’t be shy now, you know the question right?

What is a subcompact SUV?

What makes a car qualify as a subcompact?

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A subcompact SUV is a type of sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a smaller body size than a traditional SUV. It usually ranges from about 140 to 160 inches in length, and is slightly larger than a compact car.

Subcompact SUVs typically offer seating for five passengers, with two rows of seats, and they come with four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive as an option. They also tend to have more cargo space than a compact car and are often available with a variety of safety and convenience features, such as a rearview camera and Bluetooth technology.


Ok so there, I hope any confusions about subcompact are gone now.

Just remember the main points which are:

  1. They seat 5 passengers.
  2. They range 140 to 160 inches in length (most importantly).
  3. They have a touch more cargo space than compact SUVs
  4. They have two rows of seats

These vehicles are ideal for those who need more cargo space than a car can offer, but don’t want to sacrifice fuel economy or maneuverability.

Main image courtesy: Buick