SUV vs Sedan – Everything You Need To Know

If you are in the market for a new car, there are so many options these days to choose from and different categories of vehicles.

So to make your decision-making easier we are going to compare the modern sales leading SUVs and tried and tested sedans in this article.

To do so we need to understand what they are, what are the pros and cons, and which one suits you the best, SUV vs Sedan?

What is an SUV?

A Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is a mixture of a normal passenger car and an offroader. 

See it as a Jack of all trades, you have the creature comforts of a passenger car but with the ground clearance of an offroader and in some cases even the four-wheel-drive system as well.

SUV is a very open term in the automotive world since there are no defined rules on what makes a car an SUV other than its offroad capable appearance.

A Typical Large SUV Shape

The Pros of an SUV

Because of its rugged, high, and mostly boxy design, an SUV has much better visibility due to it having big windows all around the vehicle.

With the seating position being higher climbing in and out of an SUV is much easier than a sedan.

Another plus point of the boxy nature of an SUV’s design is interior space and trunk space this, in turn, makes it much more child and pet friendly compared to a sedan.

In many cases, you are also seated a lot higher in SUV compared to a sedan thus giving you more self-confidence and a feeling of being secure while driving.

Even if some SUVs arent four-wheel-drive they are still more versatile compared to a sedan, they can handle different terrains better, tow, and carry more cargo than their sedan counterparts.

Due to the higher ground clearance, SUVs can climb curbs, go through deeper water, and in some cases do mild to heavy offroading as well.

The Cons of an SUV

With every positive thing mentioned above, there are negatives too, with the boxy and high body design SUVs are much worse on fuel economy and emissions compared to a sedan.

Another drawback of being higher off the ground is the increased chance of a rollover since the center of gravity is above the wheels and not between them like a sedan. This also makes the handling in general on-road worse than a sedan.

The bulkiness and size of an SUV make it a real chore to park in towns and cities, especially as most parking spots are designed when vehicles were smaller in general.

Another point to add to the size is the space it takes up when it is parked inside the garage or on the driveway.

With the higher driving position, you tend to drive less carefully and you are prone to drive into smaller objects that are out of your line of sight (usually downwards)

SUVs are more expensive than sedans, this is mainly because in the manufacturing process they need more materials to make an SUV than a sedan.

It isn’t just the buying price of an SUV that is expensive, even the parts are more expensive since everything has to be overengineered to cope with the extra weight and size of the vehicle.

What is a Sedan?

A sedan is the oldest body configuration in automobiles, a sedan has a three-box design.

These boxes or compartments are engine, passenger, and cargo.

These boxes can be arranged how every manufacturer sees it fit, for example, Porsche has the cargo at the front and the engine at the rear with their 911 model range of cars while most other manufactures still follow the old layout of the engine in the front and cargo at the back.

The sedan can be subcategorized into notchback, fastback, and hardtop these days.

A Typical Sedan Shape

The Pros of a Sedan

Since the sedan design has been around for so long they are one of the most aerodynamic body styles in production thus giving it much better fuel consumption and emissions ratings compared to the SUVs.

Sedans are cheaper to produce thus having a cheaper buying price than an SUV.

Since sedans are cheaper to produce and lighter and smaller than SUVs their parts are cheaper as well.

Due to a lower center of gravity sedans have better on-road handling and are not as likely to end up in a rollover situation as an SUV.

The one major plus point of sedans is the ease of parking compared to the SUVs, they have a better turning radius and are much smaller too.

With the money saving on the purchase price you can get more features and cool technology installed in a sedan for the same price as a base model SUV.

The Cons of a Sedan

The design of the sedan causes it to be a lot less versatile compared to an SUV, the trunk is limited with height and sedans can’t tow as much as an SUV too.

With the lower center of gravity and low ground clearance, a sedan can’t drive on many different terrains and is almost an on-road bound vehicle and it will struggle or won’t be able to climb curbs.

The ease of climbing in and out of a sedan is also worse than an SUV due to it being lower to the ground and in most cases.

Sedans especially with the modern coupe designs make visibility really bad. The windows are much smaller and the rounded noses and rear ends make it hard to judge where the corners of the vehicle are.

Frequently Asked Questions

SUV vs Sedan

Which is easier to drive: A Sedan or SUV?

SUVs have the tendency to feel easier to drive due to the good visibility on the open roads while sedans feel easier in towns and cities since they are easier to navigate in narrow streets and parking spots.

Do SUVs last longer than sedans?

No, this all depends on how you as the owner of the vehicle maintain the vehicle. 

You do get better and worse brands and models that won’t last like the other, but that is a whole other topic that we can go into. 

So do some homework before purchasing your next car what other people’s experiences are with the brands or models.

This is mainly due to the versatility and bigger cargo space.

Another factor that isn’t mentioned is the ease of climbing in and out of SUVs compared to sedans and loading and unloading cargo.

Why do SUVs cost more than sedans?

Because SUVs are larger in size than sedans they need more materials to manufacture and in the case of four-wheel-drive models you get the extra complexity of the drivetrain.

The parts used in SUVs are also over-engineered to cope with the extra weight of the vehicle.

Maintenance will also be more expensive and more frequent because of the weight and the terrain where the vehicle drives.

Fuel consumption will also be higher so expect to spend more on fuel as well.

Are SUVs safer than sedans?

In crash testing, SUVs and sedans are quite similar in their crash ratings. The only thing that SUVs tend to do in crashes and emergency maneuvers is to roll over, but with modern-day electronics and stability management, this can be countered but only to a certain point. 

So what is the best SUV vs Sedan?

It all depends on what you want out of the vehicle and what lifestyle you have. 

People with a big family, children, and dogs will be drawn to the versatility of the SUV. 

If you are an adventurous person that wants to explore the great wilderness or have extreme hobbies like boating, biking, surfing the offroad capabilities of an SUV are also a big plus point.

If you want to drive long distances or travel from A to B as cheap as possible with the easiest parking experience then the sedan is your best choice.

When you enjoy sporty handling and driving in general the sedan is also a better choice due to the low center of gravity.

Hopefully, this article shined some light on this topic and will help you make the right decision for your next automotive purchase.


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Article by

Jaco Schrader

Jaco is the automotive heart of our platform. Born and raised in Namibia, he began his journey in the automobile sector in 2012. Launching his own automotive repair business in Africa and fitting a Toyota 1UZ-FE V8 in a Ford Sierra, Jaco brings over six years of hands-on automotive experience. He’s a self-taught expert in various mechanical and electrical aspects of vehicles.

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