If you are looking to buy a new car, you know just how many options there are out there. Gas or electric, luxury or economy, SUV or sedan: with thousands of vehicles on the market, how do you know what is right for you? If you are having a hard time deciding between an SUV and a sedan, you may be wondering which one will best fit your lifestyle–and we are here to help!
Here are the key differences between SUVs and sedans and how you can decide what’s best for you.
What is the difference between a sedan and an SUV?
SUVs have been around since the 1980s, but what defines them exactly? The definition has become a bit slippery in the past few years, but in general an SUV is built on a truck chassis while a sedan is built on a traditional car chassis. This makes SUVs a bit higher off the ground, and since they tend to have 4 wheel drive (in most cases), they are capable of going off-road.
The Jeep Cherokee is considered to be the first modern SUV, but they have come a long way in the past 40 years. Now there are a few different categories of SUVS and crossovers:
- Subcompact Crossovers
- Compact Crossovers
- Mid Size Crossovers
- Full Size Crossover
- Compact SUVs
- Mid Size SUVs
- Full Size SUVs
- Performance Crossovers and SUVs
Crossover SUVs use a unibody platform, which is the same platform used for sedans, but they have the look and space of a traditional SUV. Regular SUVs use a body-on-frame platform, which is what trucks use. All of these SUVs range in different size, engine size, and off-road capabilities.
What are the advantages of an SUV?
SUVs are an incredibly popular choice for many Americans. In fact, SUVs and pickup trucks combined make up 70% of the American car market. SUVs made up 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. And there are good reasons for that. So what are the advantages of an SUV?
SUVs are typically taller and larger than sedans.
Since SUVs are built on truck frames, they are higher off the ground and can provide a better vantage point than sedans. This can provide the driver with a better sense of safety and control. And since they are larger and heavier than a sedan, they typically sustain less damage than sedans when they are involved in accidents. But it’s important to note that SUVs are not inherently safer than sedans. While they do tend to fare better in accidents, their higher center of gravity makes them more prone to rollovers than sedans.
SUVs can also fit more passengers and more cargo than a traditional sedan. If you have a large family or have a lot of stuff to lug around, an SUV is an excellent option for you.
SUVs are better for going off-road.
If you are interested in taking the road less traveled, a sedan will not do. Since sedans are typically two-wheel drive, they are less equipped to handle going off of the pavement. SUVs are either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which gives them more traction to handle rougher terrain. Since they are higher off the ground, they are also more capable of driving rough terrain without damaging the undercarriage.
SUVs are also better equipped to handle rough winter conditions because of this. If you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice, an SUV is a better option than a sedan.
SUVs have more towing capability.
SUVs have more torque and towing capacity than sedans. While you may not find a tow hitch standard on your SUV, you will be able to have one fitted. If you are planning to tow anything, whether it is a boat or just a small trailer, an SUV is the way to go.
What are the advantages of a sedan?
While SUVs have certain advantages, don’t discount the sedan too much. There are a lot of benefits to a sedan, even though they are not quite as popular as they used to be.
Sedans are more fuel efficient.
Since sedans are smaller and more lightweight, they are much better on fuel than SUVs. If you do not need the added space and towing capacity of an SUV, a sedan can get you much better gas mileage–after all, newer sedans have a combined gas mileage of over 70 miles per gallon. Sedans are perfect commuter cars because they have great fuel efficiency and their smaller size makes them easier to park.
Sedans are more comfortable and easier to drive.
Sedans are designed to be comfortable to drive. Since they are smaller they tend to handle turns and twists more gracefully than SUVs. And modern sedans are spacious enough to still be comfortable without all of the added bulk of SUVs.
Sedans are more cost-effective.
Not only will you spend less money on gas if you drive a sedan, but you will spend less money upfront. On average sedans are $5,000 less than SUVs. Additionally, sedans are less expensive to maintain than SUVs. So if you are on a budget, a sedan will give you a bit more bang for your buck.
How do I choose between sedan and compact SUV?
There are a lot of advantages to both sedans and SUVs, so you will have to look at your lifestyle and see what makes the most sense for you. A sedan will make more sense if:
- You plan to use your vehicle for commuting.
- You are on a budget.
- You do not have a big family.
An SUV will make more sense if:
- You have a large family.
- You need the added luggage capacity.
- You need towing capabilities.
- You live in an area where there is a lot of snow, mud, or ice.
- You want to take your car off-road.
Look at how you plan to use your new vehicle to determine what makes the most sense. No matter what features you are looking for, there is sure to be a sedan or SUV that will fit the bill.
That’s how you can decide between an SUV and a sedan.
SUVs and sedans have made a lot of improvements over the decades, and there are almost too many options out there. But assessing your needs will help you come to the best decision for you and your family.
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