Comprehensive colleges focus on undergraduate education, like liberal arts colleges, but fewer than 50% of their degrees are in traditional liberal arts majors (like english, math, econ, history, languages, biology, chemistry, etc). Their additional areas of study are usually more vocational or pre-professional in nature and may include things like business, engineering, education, nursing, physical therapy, and other health-related professions.
I think more students will be focused on training for a specific career rather than general intellectual exploration, but that is just a generalization. I also think their reputation is more local to regional, rather than national or international, but that is also true of the vast majority of liberal arts colleges. Unless you are considering a very high-demand field, choose a college near the area where you want to work.
It is hard to say how comprehensive colleges would place if ranked with the LACs, but certainly not among very top ones (ie: number 5 comprehensive college does not equal number 5 LAC). I doubt if any offer the acedemic rigor of Swarthmore, but the rop ranked ones will be solid academically and attract some top students from their area. (This is true outside the northeast, anyway--colleges seem to be more "stratisfied" there.)
If you want a program that is not offered at LACs, and you don't like big universities, they could be your best option.