A lot of people have been buying crossovers and SUVs or have been wanting a crossover or SUV simply because of the ground clearance and the added space that these types of vehicles bring to the table.
So the question is, with the popularity and affordability of crossovers, is it still a viable option to purchase a sedan? There are a couple of reasons why it is and isn’t an optimal purchasing decision, let’s digress.
Perhaps one of the items that limit a customer’s purchasing decision is the price of the vehicle that they’re looking at. Sedans aren’t as affordable as one might think. For one, you can get an MPV or crossover for the price of let’s say a Toyota Vios in its top-of-the-line form. However, you can get a more affordable Vios for much less, but then there are still MPVs and crossovers from alternate brands that will allow you to get that extra bit of space in the trunk and that extra ground clearance on top of that.
It seems like sedans aren’t the most bang-for-buck option as manufacturers got better and more efficient at making cars. Perhaps within a brand’s own lineup, a sedan will likely be priced lower than a similarly-sized crossover, but that’s not always the case if you are comparing between two competitors, or even within the same brand. Take the Toyota Rush and the top-spec Toyota Vios GR-S for example.
However, when compared to small hatchbacks, if you’re willing to let go of a few features here and there, a sedan will give you a trunk, likely more space, and perhaps a more powerful engine. Again it will depend on what you are aiming for and what brand’s showroom you’re at. The lines tend to blur when you start comparing between brands, however.
What do you value?
The last statement brings us into our next topic, which is, “What do you value?” Having tested many cars, we know for certain that crossovers may drive close to a sedan, and if we mention that it does, then that is high praise. The added ground clearance will mean that you have a higher center of gravity on the road, hence why body roll is an issue for quite a few crossovers, but even more so on SUVs and MPVs.
If you desire to be low to the ground and value good driving characteristics, then a sedan will likely grant you a better drive than most crossovers unless engineered to be as sharp as possible.
You’re also lighter and more agile in a sedan versus a crossover of the same segment and size. You will be dealing with a more massive body in a crossover, so the metal alone is worth quite a few kilograms of weight. You will also need bigger wheels and tires so the topic of unsprung weight is also a factor. You also typically see sportier models utilizing a sedan chassis or something similar in order to create a more exciting version of a car. You don’t often find crossovers with driving dynamics as its headlining feature, but some exist.
Usually, and as long as you are running the same engine as a crossover, MPV, or SUV, a sedan will have the same engine maintenance, or close to the same engine maintenance costs. What makes a bigger difference in terms of maintenance will be with regard to the tires and suspension components should they break or wear out. Even the brakes are not exempt from extra wear and tear.
For all components in a car, lighter will result in more efficient everything. The engine will not be as taxed, the suspension doesn’t need to compress as much, and the brakes can stop the car easier.
In general, crossovers may cost more to maintain the bigger they get, and the same can ring true for sedans. Crossovers with bigger engines, in particular, may come with higher running costs as well like fuel and other consumables along the way. Again, this will depend on what kind of sedan from a particular brand you are buying.
It goes without saying, but sedans tend to fall short in the practicality department when compared to other larger cars. Though you can argue that a sedan may offer better practicality when compared to a hatchback depending on your cargo requirements. Having a trunk means that you won’t totally share the air of your cargo. If you consistently haul items that have a bad smell, there are a few layers that the odor must penetrate first before reaching your nose. You will be exposing the cargo to outside temperatures because your air conditioning system will need to penetrate a few layers in order to get to the cargo at the back.
Apart from that, you might not want to bring your sedan off the beaten path as low ground clearance can become an issue for you if you don’t like hearing the sound of metal or plastic scraping.
Also, getting into a sedan may be tougher for more senior family members, as the low-to-the-ground ride may lead to a few uncomfortable situations for individuals who are past their prime.
In this regard, sedans tend to be more comfortable than a traditional SUV save for the higher-end ones. However, it’s fairly uncommon to have an uncomfortable crossover. You will get good levels of comfort even with an MPV.
Many are under the impression that sedans are more comfortable than most cars on the road, and that is simply not the case. Though, you could say that sedans had the advantage from the start because of their unibody chassis.
Crossovers, hatchbacks, and MPVs share the same body construction as a sedan now, which allows for a more comfortable ride overall.
Simply put, unless you love how a sedan looks and how it drives, or are on a budget, or are gunning for a specific nameplate, then you might want to consider other options.
However, quite a few of us like driving and would likely prefer a sedan over a crossover if we weren’t looking for outright practicality and worry-free driving over ugly roads. Consider a sedan if you are into driving and want to feel low to the ground. Otherwise and for general use, a crossover is likely an optimal choice for you to handle on a daily basis.
That is if you can afford to maintain a heavier vehicle and feed it with more fuel. Either way, a crossover is not perfect and neither is a sedan so it all boils down to what you value in your car.