Author Topic: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?  (Read 749 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« on: July 28, 2018, 04:45:39 PM »
We are a family of 3 (daddy, mommy and a toddler) that is new to the US and is finding it hard to get around without a car. I bike to work and when we need to go around individually we can use Uber. But if we want to get around as a family, we need to have a car. Both of our parents might visit once a year, so on those occasions it will be 5 in a car on long drives to show them places.

For our situation, we are not able to decide between subcompact (think Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit) and compact (think Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic). Which one do you folks recommend?

Friends warn us that with a toddler, it is better to pick a compact car over a subcompact. Safety of our kid is important to us.

Fomerly known as something

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 766
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2018, 05:37:24 PM »
I would drive them all then pick the one you like the best.  The difference between the cars you named aren't enough for me to say x over y is better they are all good cars for what you are looking at.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1700
Re: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2018, 07:25:46 PM »
When we test drove the Yaris and the Corolla, we couldnít tell much difference in the interior size, honestly. Itís plenty big for 3 people.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1194
  • Location: US
  • Dont Panic
    • Journal
Re: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2018, 07:49:57 PM »
The inside of a Yaris, even the 3-door model, is quite roomy for the size of the car, lots of head space and the split rear seat that folds down is very convenient. I would think the 5-door version would work great for you, just a little bigger and allow you to deal with the car seat (if you are using one still) in the back. I don't know how they compare safety ratings wise, but I was rear ended quite hard in my 3-door and didn't suffer any damage to the frame, just the bumper, light, and rear quarter panel that that other driver's insurance paid for. My sense (personally) is that in a minor accident, most cars will be pretty equivalent. In a very serious accident, especially with a much larger vehicle, ANY subcompact or compact is going to probably come out on the losing end, so I do things to protect myself, like driving defensively and alertly. There are a lot of things you can do to protect yourself (though obviously you can't control all scenarios). So if you are planning on a subcompact or compact, pick the one you like the best and go with it. I personally think hatchbacks are nicer because you have more storage/transport space. Also, the subcompacts are awesome in that they have a very tight turning radius and can fit almost anywhere, so if parking is tight that slightly smaller footprint might sway you.


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 393
Re: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 09:44:32 PM »
The most important thing you can do for your kid's safety is keep them rear-facing as long as possible. Unfortunately, it is difficult for an adult to fit in front of a rear-facing car seat in a sub-compact, unless you're really short. DH had a sub-compact (Chevy Sonic) when our first kid was born, and I could sit in front of her car seat but it was really uncomfortable (I'm 5'6"). But not all sub-compacts are the same, nor are all car seats, so it's worth testing out your car seat with the cars you're considering to see if you can make it work, if that's what you'd otherwise prefer.


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 145
  • Age: 31
  • Location: OR
Re: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2018, 10:11:44 PM »
Family of five, two toddlers and an infant. We can sqeeze all of us in my Honda Fit if we need to. Toddlers are forward facing in order to make things work.

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 717
Re: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2018, 10:47:06 PM »
I have heard Honda Fit is ok. I have been in a Yaris, and let me echo that it is oddly roomy. I'm surprized to hear it called subcompact. I'm sure something defines exactly what that is, but Yaris seems comfortable to me.

I drive a ton for work in a Hyundai Accent. I am too tall for that to be terribly comfortable. The seats seem to have the perfectly wrong angle on them or something. More problematically for a family, if anyone is tall, no one in the back seat can afford to have legs. It's true there's a "too small." It's a design issue, though, not a category - Yaris is fine, wouldn't recommend an Accent, but I doubt you need a Corolla.


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 486
Re: Subcompact or compact car for family of 3?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2018, 10:58:52 PM »
I love my Toyota matrix. I often have 2-4 kids with me, no problem. The baby's rear facing car seat is fine either behind my seat or in the middle. I definitely prefer the hatchback, for days I need to get groceries it drop off my recycling.