Sedan vs Hatchback: Which is better?

When shopping for a brand new car, some may have noticed that most automotive brands offer both sedan and hatchback versions of the same models. But what are their similarities and differences? Advantages and disadvantages? More importantly, which one should you buy?

Some examples that are available in both sedan and hatchback versions are the Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, Mitsubishi Mirage, Ford Fiesta, and Volkswagen Polo. There are also other not-so-obvious siblings, but embody the same basic DNA, such as the Honda City and Jazz, and the Toyota Vios and Yaris.

To help car buyers come to a decision, here’s a lowdown on what makes each version shine.

Why buy a sedan?

A typical sedan is characterized by having 4 doors and seats 4 or more passengers. It also has a rear cargo area (otherwise called a trunk), which is separate from the passenger cabin.

Due to its (usually) larger cargo area, sedans can haul more and bigger pieces of luggage. This makes it highly suitable for individuals who love to travel or regularly need the extra space. Items stored in the trunk are also covered from public view, offering some sort of extra security. But more importantly, the physical barrier from the cabin makes it less sensitive to odor, dirt, or temperature.

In some special cases, the sedan versions of a particular model have longer wheelbases, allowing for more rear passenger legroom. Likewise, sedans sometimes get a larger fuel tank, which increases the total range of the vehicle.

There are, however, some drawbacks to owning a sedan. An increase in overall length could pose problems when it comes to parking in terms of rear visibility and space. Fortunately, most modern sedans come with either back-up sensors or a rear-view camera, or both.

Another thing to point out is that, one still needs to physically get out of the car to access the trunk. Or at least in most cases.

Why buy a hatchback?

Meanwhile, a hatchback is essentially a sedan without the rear cargo. A rear hatch serves as its trunk lid and because of this, hatchbacks are typically categorized as having 5 doors.

Easier cargo access is one of a hatchback’s advantages. Although the space is smaller, most models feature foldable rear seats that increases luggage capacity to a point that its at times larger than its sedan counterpart. But do note that doing so lessens the number of allowable passengers.

However, items may be visible from the outside and could attract unwanted attention. Thankfully, there are covers that either come as standard equipment or can be bought as an accessory.

On the flip side, hatchbacks serve as great venues for picnics, gatherings, and hangouts on the beach, park, or field with the the hatch open and the seats folded flat.

From our observation, hatchbacks can sometimes look more compact, streamlined, and athletic in terms of looks. And despite the shorter length, rear crash safety shouldn’t be an issue since structure strength is always designed to meet stringent regulations.

Which is better?

Based from observation, the Philippines has always been a country dominated by sedans. But data collected by show that hatchbacks are gaining ground, having only a 1% difference in search traffic between the 2. 

There are also several new models that are spearheading the shift.

Up to 60% of those who shop for the Accent and Mirage are more inclined towards the sedan version. But the opposite is true for the Fiesta with the hatchback getting more attention. The City and Jazz, on the other hand, get a near 50/50 share of online viewers. What’s surprising though is that the Sonic hatchback is attracting around 92% of the buyers compared to the sedan version.

When it comes to function, both sedans and hatchbacks can pretty much serve their intended purposes as a people carrier. Both can transport 4 or more people and load up groceries or luggage for the long weekend. Prices are also usually not so far apart, as well as fuel economy.

In the end, it all boils down to personal preference, whether for looks, function, or even brand loyalty.

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