Hatchback vs Sedan: Which One Is Best For You?

By - Manjul Sharma
April 25, 2024

As we know, SUVs are reigning in the Indian car market today, courtesy of the compact SUVs which made these cars more financially accessible. But before compact SUVs became a rage, hatchbacks and sedans had been the best-selling cars for decades. Even now, many Indians put a lot of thought into choosing between hatchbacks and sedans while buying a car under Rs 15 lakh. To clear up the confusion, this article explains each type’s key characteristics and their pros and cons.

What is a Sedan?

Maruti Dzire side profile
Maruti Suzuki Dzire side profile

The evolution of sedans has not changed their basic design definition. A sedan is a passenger vehicle with four doors and a three-boxed design that includes a separate trunk. The front box houses the engine, the middle box houses passengers and the third box located at the rear is the trunk. In simple words, a trunk or boot is the space for luggage. In sedans, the trunk is a completely closed space at the rear, separated from the cabin by a rear seatback and a fixed package tray below the rear window. These days, many sedans feature a foldable rear seatback and folding the back seats merges the space of the trunk with that of the cabin. However, the upright position of the rear seatback keeps the trunk completely closed for any access from the cabin.

What is a Hatchback?

Maruti Suzuki Swift side profile
Maruti Suzuki Swift side profile

Hatchbacks have a two-boxed design. The front box is the home of the engine, and the second box is for passengers and luggage space. The second box is integrated with a flip-up gate at the rear, which is also known as a tailgate or hatch. The tailgate can be flipped open upwards to access the luggage space or the entire backend for that matter. Usually, the hatchbacks come with foldable rear seats to increase the luggage space right behind it, in case it is needed.

Over the years the designs of hatchbacks and sedans have evolved and manufacturers have made some interesting developments. While some of the hatchbacks in India resemble a crossover appearance, there are some cars that look like sedans in which the roofline finely tapers down to the trunk at the rear and the tailgate opens upwards. These cars are usually compact, mid-size performance, or luxury cars and are referred to as coupes by manufacturers. Regardless of the marketing terminology of automakers, these vehicles are actually hatchbacks.

Hatchbacks vs Sedans: Differences

Hatchbacks

Sedans

Tow Box design

Three box design

Varying design

Fixed design

Shorter wheelbase

Longer wheelbase

Second row can be folded down

Second row cannot be folded down in most cases

Pros & Cons of Hatchbacks

Maruti Suzuki Swift boot space
Maruti Suzuki Swift boot space

Pros

  • Versatile cargo spaces – With no fixed package tray in the boot, hatchbacks can accommodate larger luggage pieces which you could never fit into a sedan’s boot. Also, they offer easier accessibility to boot space as compared to Sedans.
  • Easiest to drive – The compact size of a hatchback facilitates a smaller turning radius which makes hatchbacks easiest to drive.
  • Affordability – Hatchbacks are the most affordable cars and have cheaper running costs as compared to all other body types including sedans.
  • Fuel efficiency – Due to its compact size, a hatchback needs a relatively smaller engine to power it and this eventually results in better mileage.

Cons

  • Cargo Visibility – Since a hatchback does not have a package tray to cover the luggage from the top, the prying eyes of passersby can easily see the luggage. However, these days many hatchbacks come with package trays for example, Maruti Swift, Tata Tiago, Maruti Wagon R, Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, and others.
  • Shortage of space – The short wheelbase as well as the compact size can make the accommodation of five passengers a tight fit.

Pros and Cons of Sedans

Maruti Suzuki Dzire boot space
Maruti Suzuki Dzire boot space

Pros

  • Best comfort – Sedans are the most comfortable cars for families as compared to any other cars. As the cabin of the sedan is completely separated from the trunk, there is a better level of insulation and lower levels of NVH (Noise, Vibration, and harshness).
  • Aerodynamic design – Sedans are designed more planted than any other cars and therefore they are more stable at high speeds.
  • Good looking – While SUVs are known for their commanding attire, sedans are known for their elegance and their unique air of sophistication.
  • Privacy of Cargo – The absence of cargo cover in the hatchback’s trunk can keep the luggage visible from the outside, but this can never be the case with a sedan, since the trunk in a sedan is an entirely separate box.

Cons

  • Inflexible boot space – Due to the package tray in the boot, you can not pile up the luggage, the way you can in a hatchback. Moreover, a sedan’s boot is situated higher as compared to that of the hatchback.
  • Low ground clearance – With a low-slung profile, sedans have lower ground clearance as compared to other segments of cars. This makes the drivability difficult when driving through rough and uneven roads.

Hatchbacks vs Sedans: Summary

Though hatchbacks and sedans are quite different from each other, they share an interesting relationship. Many carmakers across the globe have a hatchback and a sedan version of the same car. For example, the Tata Tiago is the hatchback version of the Tata Tigor, the Maruti Dzire is the sedan version of the Maruti Swift, and the Hyundai Aura is the sedan version of the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios. Because of this, there is not much difference between prices of the hatchback and sedan versions, for instance, Maruti Swift costs Rs 5.99 – 9.03 lakh (ex-showroom) and Maruti Dzire costs Rs 6.57 – 9.39 lakh (ex-showroom). While this article will simplify things for you in choosing between a hatchback and a sedan, it is imperative to take extended test drives before making a final decision.

Hatchbacks vs Sedans: FAQs

  1. Why are sedans more stable at high speeds?

    Sedans have relatively less height as compared to other cars, which means their centre of gravity is much closer to the ground as compared to other cars. That is why sedans are relatively more stable at high speeds.

  2. Why are sedans more comfortable than hatchbacks?

    Due to the longer wheelbase and separated trunk, sedans are more comfortable than hatchbacks.

  3. Among hatchbacks and sedans, which ones have better mileage?

    In most cases, hatchbacks have better mileage figures than their sedan counterparts, due to the relatively less kerb weight of hatchbacks.

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