Does size matter?
I have answered the most important question known to man
It is well known that blokes who drive big cars usually have something else that is a very small. And yet, when I pull up in my very small very blue Daihatsu Cuore it is not quite the chick magnet you'd expect it to be. Alright, this may be a dead end. So, we are still left with the pressing question. Does size matter?
In order to actually answer the question, we will need to look at two cars that are almost exactly the same except in size. Fortunately for us Audi has developed a platform for shared modular construction for vehicles with shared engine orientation, the Audi MLB platform. MLB stands for 'Modularer Längsbaukasten' translated to english 'Modular Logitudinal Matrix'. The MLB uses a core "matrix" of components that is used across a wide range of platforms. The entire MLB platform strategy is like using the same ingredients to make different dishes. Audi introduced the Audi MLB platform in 2007. In 2012 this Audi MLB platform became the MLB platform for the Volkswagen Group. The first car using the Audi MLB platform in 2007 was the Audi A5. Its bigger cousin the Audi Q5 was the third car to use the Audi MLB platform. Now these are in general very similar, but we shall compare the most similar versions (except in size). To be specific we shall compare the Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TFSI 180hp and the Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 180hp.
The Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TFSI 180hp is, surprise surprise, a 2 door front wheel drive coupé with 2 litre inline 4 cylinder 180hp engine. It has 320Nm of torque, it weighs 1,420kg and it will do 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds. If you have 3 friends you can take them with you, because the A5 seats 4 people (including the driver). The A5 will average 15.6km for every litre of petrol. The lifting threshold for the boot is 655mm and the boot space is 455L, wich in my opinion is plenty. Now the big one, size. It has a length of 4625mm, a width of 1854mm and a height of 1372mm. Furthermore, it has a wheelbase of 2751mm, a front track width of 1590mm an a rear track width of 1577mm. All this would have costed you €41 320.- in the Netherlands between 2008-2011.
The Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 180hp is a 5 door 4 wheel drive SUV with the same 2 litre inline 4 cylinder 180hp 320Nm engine as the A5. However, the Q5 is bigger. It weighs 1,710kg and it will do 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds. That is 0.7 seconds slower than the A5. You can have 1 entire friend extra in the Q5, because it seats 5 (including the driver). The Q5 will average 12.3km for every litre of petrol. So, it is less good for your wallet and meaner to the environment than the A5. The lifting threshold for the boot is 695mm, about the same as the A5. The boot itself is 540L, but unlike the A5 the seats do fold down giving you a maximum of 1560L. That is a lot more space than the A5 offers. That space inside comes from a bigger extirior. The Q5s length is 4629mm, width is 1898mm and its height is 1653mm wich is almost 3cm higher than the A5. Moreover, it has a wheelbase of 2807mm, a front track width of 1617mm and a rear track width of 1613mm. The price was also bigger at €50 660.- in the Netherlands between 2009-2012.
Normally I would now write a paragraph about how you cannot answer this question based on one example. I will not do that today. You see the conclusions from this exemple have been known for a long time. We know that bigger cars are more expensive. We know that bigger cars will fit more stuff/ people. We know that bigger cars have greater mass. We know that heavier cars consume more fuel. We know that heavier cars are slower. All we did here was put the final piece of the puzzle in. We used a real world exemple that excluded all factors but size. So, does size matter? Yes, it does. As long as the vehicle serves its purpose smaller is better.
Thanks for reading, bump and comment.
Sources: Autoweek for the specs on the Audi A5 Coupé 2.0 TFSI 180hp , Autoweek for the specs on the Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI 180hp , Jalopnik , Wired , Difference between MQB and MLB Volkswagen Group modular platforms , Carpixel , Thetruthaboutcars.