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Is Standard SUV (or Intermediate SUV) more comfortable then Sedan car?

I will be going to Montana and Wyoming (Yellowstone) in August and will be covering 3000 miles in 7 days, that means a lot of driving.
I will need to rent out car from rental agency (Budget/Advantage/Enterprise). I will not have too much luggage. I am not looking for big power, but comfort. Anyway, I will not be crossing maximum speed limit of freeway :slight_smile:
I am getting Altima for lesser rate. Premium car (Maxima) and standard SUV (Toyota RAV4) are for same rate, but 100$ more than Altima. At the same time, Jeep Cherokee or Santa FE is just 40 $ more (which is also affordable). Money is not a very big decision factor here.
My first day will have 12 hours driving. Please suggest, which car I can pick for less tired travel ? I have sensitive back, so I am bit concerned.
I read lot of other posts, but it is always biased. Few says that SUV is good, because it is having longer and softer suspension, so will have less bumps. Few others say that Sedan is good because Sedan is having short wheelbase which is easier to handle, also seats are comfortable (unlike straight seats in SUV) and center of gravity is low because of heights, so more comfortable.

The Altima is best. An SUV will use much more gas with same or less comfort.

“Comfort” is an entirely subjective quality, and no two people will judge it in exactly the same way.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

For many people, “comfort” includes the ease of getting into and out of a vehicle.
A small crossover/SUV (like a Rav-4, or CR-V, or Forester) excels in this area, as the seats are–literally–butt height, so you don’t need to lower your body when getting in, and–even more importantly–you don’t have to strain your back or legs when getting out of the vehicle. You just literally slide in and out of one of these small crossover/SUVs.

Seat comfort is totally subjective, based on each person’s anatomy and his/her particular physical problems. A seat that might be comfortable for one person could be absolute torture for somebody else, and nobody can possibly tell you which car seats will be comfortable for YOU. Only by sitting in a vehicle for an extended period of time will you know how its seats will feel to you on a long trip.

A vehicle that has electrically-adjustable seats will allow you to adjust the seat’s height, and its inclination, and the angle of the seat back with much greater flexibility than a vehicle not equipped with electric seats. Rental companies frequently use the base-level models that are not equipped with electrically-adjustable seats, so this is something that you really need to check with the rental company before making your decision.

An adjustable lumbar support is a must for many people, and–while most cars nowadays have an adjustable lumbar support–some cars lack this feature.

The bottom line is that YOU need to sit in the exact same model of each car that you are thinking of renting, and you really need to sit in them/drive them for an extended period of time in order to know what works for you in terms of comfort. This may involve visiting car showrooms and pretending that you are shopping for a car. This will involve quite an investment of time on your part, but that investment of time will pay-off handsomely in regard to your comfort on days when you are behind the wheel for 8-12 hours.


Discounting the individual differences in " buttesimo" comfort ranges…The seating for most people in an SUV in general is usually better. The ride and handling"can" be worse if you travel paved roads. You seldom have it all unless you get expensive models like a Highlander. The compromise is gasoline. Generally speaking, modern intermediate sedans driven on smooth dry pavement are the most functional and the best choice for overall comfort. Compared to mid size sedans, small SUVs like C rVs and RAVs ride like buck boards. I would avoid all of them if ride comfort is important.

One thing to consider is how much you load it down. A mid size SUV actually improves it’s ride when loaded while a mid size sedan deteriorates quickly with added weight in ride and handling. Then…a Highlander may be worth it…I have had all these types of cars.

Heavy loads, a mid size SUV is best. Light load, nothing beats a mid size sedan like Altima, Camry, Fusion etc for overall comfort and economy. Based on load you will be traveling with, it is a simple choice.
WTH, just spring for the top end Lexus sedan !

I would get the premium or luxury cars for comfort. Note that they will get better gas mileage than the SUVs. Total cost at the end of the trip is what counts. Also, you named a few vehicles that you might get. They will assign you a car based on whatever is available that day. While you say you want an Altima, you could get a Ford Fusion, or more likely the least popular full size car made today because the cost to buy it was lowest. They will have a lot of those.

“Comfort” is an entirely subjective quality, and no two people will judge it in exactly the same way."

I totally agree with @VDCdriver here. I’m tall so an Altima or Fusion sits a little low for me. The most comfortable vehicle that I’ve driven lately has been the Ford Edge. It was the “loaded” model and it made an impression on me as well as the 3 other adults in the vehicle. I find that 4 door trucks provide the greatest comfort with SUV’s coming in second and cars third. Trucks don’t travel well on vacations for me because you have all that room in the bed but you can’t use it because of security concerns.

See if you can find a rental company that still has a couple of Crown Victoria’s on the lot if you are looking for traveling comfort…

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Stop by some dealerships and do some test drives. That’ll be the best way to choose what you’ll rent.

Personally, I’d go for the Maxima, but as already stated comfort is totally subjective.

The Altima is now a mid sized car, like a Camry and Accord. I’d have no problem driving it on your trip, IF the seats are comfortable. That’s up to you to find out.

The sedan will have a lower center of gravity.
That gives it a big advantage in handling and ride control.
“You can’t break the laws o’ physics.” (Scotty)

Ithe Crown Vic’s And Continentals I had were among the least comfortable cars I ever rented. A subjective evaluation, of course, but that’s how my back felt it. They wallowed like a hippo on a wet riverbank, too.

If you want something that’s easy to get in and out of, a van or suv will be easier. If you want something comfortable get a premium car or a van.

What are we really after here? Are you looking for someone to justify a splurge on renting an suv? The interstates are paved are they not?

The roads are paved, but driving for 8 or more hours a day in an Aveo or Yaris is a real chore. It’s not so hard in a larger vehicle that absorbs sound better, has climate control, and a more comfortable suspension.

There’s no way for us to answer that because we don’t know what your back and butt feel like, how important it is to stretch your legs or see over your shoulder, or how much road feel and handling are to you.

But I would say that a larger vehicle with seats that are higher off the floor will give you less fatigue over the long run, so my vote would be for an SUV.

My personal cars are a Lincoln Town Car, Chevy Silverado, Mercury Sable, and Chevy Astro van.

For ride quality, I’d rate top to bottom the Town Car, Sable, Astro, Silverado.

For driving and handling quality, I’d say Sable, Silverado, Town Car, Astro.

For seating comfort I’d say Silverado, Town Car, Astro, Sable.

I can’t even come to an answer as to which of my cars I like best, much less what you’re driving. :slight_smile:

@Caddyman‌ I know you like Crown Vics but haven’t you found that for a traveling car they have a terribly short range? The other 3 in my “fleet” can go at least a hundred miles more on a tank.


Which Silverado do you have . . . 1500, 2500, 3500, etc.

I’ve noticed the 1500 has a VERY bouncy ride, compared to the 2500 and above

I understand that Comfort is an entirely subjective quality and it depend on person to person.

I just called rental agency of that location and they said that they have Jeep Cherookee, Sanfta Fe, RAV4 and Ford Taurus and if i call them couple of days before my travel, and I can get guartented that vehicle among mentioned.

Well, my girlfriend drives a Hyundai Santa Fe, and she and I both find it quite comfortable.

I think your best bet is to get a vehicle with the most seat adjustment options. It’s difficult to be uncomfortable in a soft seat that has a dozen or more different adjustment options.

No Rav4 if you have back problems. It would take at least a week to adjust to the seats even if you had no problems.

I like sitting upright, so the vehicles we own are a 2003 Toyota 4Runner and a 2011 Toyota Sienna. We really don’t like the seating position in most cars. A couple of years ago, we flew to Bakersfield, California and we rented a Chevrolet Traverse SUV for our travels through Sequoia and Yosemite and driving along the coast. We liked the Traverse. Last summer, we went to Vermont and New Hampshire. We flew to Albany, New York and rented a Dodge Avenger. I didn’t find that car very comfortable. However, comfort is very subjective. My wife drove from our location in east central Indiana to Washington, D.C. in a Dodge Avenger provided by our institution and she had no complaints. When she had to do a lot of traveling on recruiting trips, she requested a Ford Taurus–found that more comfortable than a Chevrolet Malibu or Honda Civic. She would put 600-1000 miles a trip on these vehicles, so a comfortable vehicle was important. The last vehicle I used from the fleet before I retired was a Ford Fusion and I thought it was reasonably comfortable.

I think a sedan is a more comfortable riding experience. With a sedan, it’s smaller so moves well through traffic, holds the road better, there is less body lean in turns, and the riding compartment doesn’t bounce up and down as much when going over bumps. On the downside, a sedan has less interior room.