Hatchback vs Sedan – Which One Is For You

Volkswagen Hatchback & Audi Sedan

Hatchback Versus Sedan

My first car was an old-school Mini 1100. I think its body shape was technically a 2-door saloon. Thereafter I always drove hatchbacks, until my family needs moved me to SUVs. But what about the sedan, the familiar three-box family-car I grew up with? Did the first VW Golf in the ‘70s prove so superior that it killed off the sedan?

Let’s look at the hatchback vs the sedan.

Firstly, hatchbacks are more popular than sedans, making up 46% of sales vs 23%. These numbers have remained constant for the past several years.

Hatchbacks are often referred to as 5- or 3-door because the hatch opens to the passenger compartment and can be used to enter the car by inebriated students. A sedan is a 4-door because the boot used to be totally separated from the passenger compartment. Many sedans now offer fold-down back seats to increase the storage space.

Space is the thing. A hatchback has a higher rear roofline, so it can take taller cargo than a sedan. If you fold down the rear seats, you can fit a washing machine into most hatchbacks, but not into most sedans. But a sedan gives you a significantly bigger dedicated boot than a hatch, should you need to carry luggage as well as people in the back.

The sedan’s boot is considered safer to store valuables in because it is seen as separate from the rest of the car. Everyone knows you can access the boot of a hatchback from the passenger compartment by just smashing a window. This is why rental cars are often sedans, to keep your luggage safe in a strange city.

Early hatchbacks were small and boxy, often called econoboxes or two-box cars. Think of the Golf I/City Golf, Mazda 323 or the Fiat Uno. These cars were distinctly hatchbacks and looked nothing like the three-box sedans of the time. Over time the hatchback has grown in size and morphed into much slicker shapes. The sedan has changed as well – often losing the definite three-box shape with a more integrated, streamlined boot and bonnet. I was struck by this when I drove past an early ‘80s Cortina – flat box, tall box, flat box.

I recently test-drove the Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla sedans, both low kilometre ex-rental cars. Both were great rides, handled well, both offered enormous boot space. I would have been happy with either car, but ended up with another SUV.

The thing is that there is so much choice out there. Do your research, visit the dealer, kick some tyres and take your choices for a spin. You are sure to find exactly the car you need.

Comments are closed.