What Is An Intermediate Car?

An intermediate car refers to the size of a car, and it’s a term that is frequently used in the car rental world. It is a car that is bigger than a compact and smaller than a full-sized automobile. Another term you may have heard mentioned is “mid-sized car.”

Intermediate cars are all roughly the same size. They may have slight differences here and there, but they are generally the same. They will have a similar engine size, luggage capacity, and hold the same number of passengers as other intermediate cars.

In this article, we will discuss the differences in car class sizes, focusing on understanding the intermediate car class. First, however, we will go over the history of intermediate or midsize cars. 


The intermediate car is a car class that was first introduced in the United States. You can find intermediate cars in various shapes and sizes, including sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, and convertibles. The first automobile to define this size class was released in 1956. It was called the Rambler Six and was manufactured by the American Motors Corporation. By the 1960s, the car was renamed the Rambler Classic to compete with General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, all of whom were releasing intermediate cars to the marketplace.

During the 1970s, the intermediate class was defined as a car with a 112 or 118-inch wheelbase. That definition began to change though, as the marketplace and consumer sophistication grew. When fuel costs started to rise in that same decade, manufacturers had to adapt to government regulations. Automakers began to change the names of cars to match the increased demand for fuel economy. For instance, the Ford LTD II nameplate was removed from the full-sized body and placed on an intermediate car body. This allowed them to sell the LTD II as more economical.

The Environmental Protection Agency defined cars by cargo room and passenger space. During the rising fuel crisis, they altered the definitions of car classes. Vehicles that were formerly full-sized were now intermediate cars. Intermediate cars became compact. By the 1980s and the 1990s, cars like the Chrysler K-Car, the Ford Taurus, and the Toyota Camry were reclassified into the intermediate car classification.

Intermediate cars were the most popular car size sold in the United States in 2012. They continue to be incredibly popular because they have the look and feel of a standard or full-size car, but the fuel economy of a compact.

Today's most popular intermediate cars are the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Honda Accord, and the Volkswagen Passat, to name a few. There are many other popular models, and nearly all of them ranked at various customer satisfaction standards, enjoying a high degree of popularity around the United States and abroad.

Rental Cars

The term intermediate is most widely used in the rental car industry. The intermediate cars that are generally available all have slightly different specifications but fit typically within the same category. Rental car companies frequently rotate their stock of available models. That is why when you look at the inventory of a rental car company online, it will say something like “or similar to” next to the car you have chosen. That applies to all classes of automobiles in most rental car facilities.

Choosing The Best Car For You

If you are thinking of buying or renting a car, there might be some confusion about whether you want a compact, intermediate, or full-sized car. If you compare the advantages and disadvantages of the different classes, you might make a better decision for your needs. We can do a general overview of the classes and what they mean here.

A compact car will be easier to park if you live in a city. They are typically good on gas mileage and will save you money in that department. If you do not have to haul around a lot of cargo or have a large family, you might prefer a compact car. A compact or small car will range from 100 – 109 cubic feet of combined cargo and passenger space. They are usually between 161 to 187 feet in length.

An intermediate car will go from 110 to 120 cubic feet in cargo and passenger space. A midsize hatchback or crossover will range from 130 to 159 cubic feet. An intermediate car generally offers the same number of seats as compact cars, only with more legroom and headspace.

Finally, there is the full-size car category. Full-sized cars are generally considered to be any car that is larger than an intermediate car. They are typically built for families and are known for their style and comfort. They have a lot of room and are probably going to be more expensive. They will also have higher gas expenditure because they will generally require more fuel. They are not the best solution for city living but will be fine if you live in the suburbs.

Whatever model car you choose, make sure you know the differences between the car classes. Compare the details in gas milage, storage and cargo capacity, and how much room you have for passengers. Legroom and headspace will be vital if you have a large family. However, if you live on your own in a city, you might be happier with an intermediate or compact car.

In Conclusion

Intermediate cars are also known as midsize cars. They were first introduced to the marketplace in the 1950s and have since become a staple in the automotive marketplace. They are some of the most popular cars on the road today for their economic and comfort benefits. The term intermediate car is most widely used in the rental car business, but it is interchangeable with midsize.

There are many makes and models of intermediate cars to choose from and enjoy. If you are looking for a new or used car remember to do your research and choose based on your most pressing needs.