Skip to main content

So you want to buy a new car. Which is a better fit, a hatchback or a sedan? Both can fit nearly any budget and have good fuel economy. Here we’ll look at the style, comfort, capacity, safety, and perceived cultural image associated with both hatchbacks and sedans.

Hatchback vs. sedan

The hatchback

These cars have a rear-opening hatch that lifts upward, giving you the option to increase the rear cargo space with the rear passenger area. Hatchbacks tend to have a sporty look. Today, you can get three- or five-door hatchback in small or large volume styles.

These smaller cars are typically driven by new drivers, elderly, families, younger people, adventurous drivers, and those seeking a budget-friendly option concerning price and gas consumption.

The sedan

Typically a four-door car — unlike a coupe that has 2 doors — sedans have a front-engine compartment and a separate rear trunk area (a three-box configuration). A sedan can vary in size and length, but they’re usually capable of seating up to five people comfortably. A sedan will have two rows of seats, more headroom, and a less sporty appearance.

Sedans are a typical large family car, a preferred choice for company cars, and anyone who needs a car with more interior space. You’ll also have more luxury and performance options with sedan models that are more affordable than an equivalent crossover vehicle or SUV. 

When a hatchback makes sense

Hatchbacks were marketed as cheaper, smaller cars. But this has changed as hatchbacks have been designed with stylish curves, sleek rooflines, and interior comfort features. From sporty to luxury to electric models, there’s a hatchback to fit all sizes of family, gear, or budgets. Here are some benefits to owning a hatchback:

  • A large cargo hold even in compact or midsize models
  • Fastback roof lines for a sexier look
  • Flip-up hatch door for easy unloading
  • Can easily carry items that won’t fit in a sedan’s trunk
  • Expect excellent fuel economy and a zippier ride experience

The downside of a hatchback is that your property is visible to anyone nearby if you don’t have a proper cover. You may also experience more road noise.

When is a sedan a good choice?

Sedans are popular because of their roominess and the large amount of styles and sizes. Despite the growing popularity of SUVs, a comparable sedan will cost less, be more fuel-efficient, and are still the safest car to drive when you consider their low center of gravity that limits rollovers. Other benefits of a sedan include:

  • More comfortable ride and entry/exit for passengers
  • More pleasant to drive with better suspension and superior handling
  • More aerodynamic over SUVs
  • Better acceleration and braking compared to crossovers and SUVs
  • A wide range of performance and luxury sedans

Check out this Sedan Buyers Guide to help you decide if a sedan is the right car for you.

A sedan’s disadvantages involving losing extra cargo space and not-as-good gas economy. Let’s face it, when it comes to buying a family sedan, these cars face stiff competition. From 2014 to 2017, the midsize sedan fell from the best-selling segment of vehicles to No. 5. Still, you’ll get a better value when you buy a sedan.