How to Choose: SUV vs Sedan - Your Ultimate Buying Guide

By Alexi Falson on 10 Jan 2024
image for How to Choose: SUV vs Sedan - Your Ultimate Buying Guide If you’re tossing up all the options at your fingertips for a new car, you might have wondered how to choose between an SUV and a sedan bodyshape.

Both sedans and SUVs each have their respective advantages and holdbacks, so finding a car that strikes a healthy balance for all your needs is essential before diving in and making your purchase.

Let’s take a look at how to choose between an SUV and a sedan with the help of our buying guide.

What is Better: an SUV or a Sedan?

The question of whether an SUV or a sedan is the better option is unique to your situation, with the most important considerations centring on the size of your family, practicality needs and just how agile you’d like your vehicle to be.

The major thing separating SUVs from their sedan counterparts is the increase in size, cargo space and interior practicality, with their typically larger platform lending itself to a more family-friendly package.

Having said that, there are several large family sedans that can comfortably hold their own with some comparative SUVs when put under the family test.

Sedans also offer a far more engaging platform to drive thanks to their lighter kerb weight and lower centre of gravity which means they’re far more engaging in the handling department, adding some versatility to their family-friendly package.

Some of the most important things you should toss up when comparing an SUV and a sedan include:

  • Size: Do you need to seat five to seven people in the back?

  • Cargo space: Do you need a large boot for school runs and holiday time? 

  • Handling: Would you like something comfortable around town? 

  • Ride Height: Are you looking for a tall platform for a greater view of your surroundings? 

  • User-Friendliness: Are you looking for a package that is easy to park in town? 

  • Off-road Excursions: Are you planning on hitting some trails on the weekend? 

  • Towing Power: Do you have plans to tow a boat, caravan or trailer? 

  • Fuel Efficiency: How low are you hoping to keep your fuel bills?

  • Platform Size: Are you looking for a small package or a large, family-friendly car?

Pros & Cons: SUV vs Sedan?

Let’s kick off with a look at the pros and cons of an SUV and then look at the advantages and disadvantages of a sedan when it comes to everyday driving, practicality and versatility.

SUV Pros:

  • Typically more interior space than a sedan 

  • Larger cargo capacities 

  • Added ride height for superior visibility 

  • More towing power 

  • Added off-road performance 

  • Abundance of choice between small, medium and large SUVs 

SUV Cons:

  • High-riding stance means less performance in the corners 

  • Less fuel-efficient due to aerodynamics & weight 

  • Large platforms prove less user-friendly for driving around town and parking 

  • Tall platform means more of a rollover risk in the event of an accident 

Sedan Pros:

  • Superior performance and handling 

  • Lighter than an SUV 

  • Fuel efficiency 

  • Optimised seating position for tall drivers & front passengers 

  • User-friendly around town 

  • Affordability 

Sedan Cons:

  • Limited off-road performance from low ground clearance 

  • Typically less towing capacity than SUV 

  • Less passenger space in the second row

  • Reduced cargo space in the boot 

SUV vs Sedan: Top Factors to Consider?

As you can see, both sedans and SUVs have their respective advantages, but these come with some drawbacks.

In our opinion, some of the most important factors to consider when shopping around between SUVs and sedans include:

  • The size of your family 

  • How much boot space you need 

  • Performance and handling 

  • Off-road potential 

  • The driving position and visibility

  • Fuel efficiency 

  • How often you’ll be towing 

  • Ease of town driving and parking 

  • Price and comparative value 

  • Ownership costs

FAQ: Why are SUVs so Popular in Australia?

SUVs have become one of Australia’s favourite types of car in recent years largely due to their versatility and their excellent practicality which makes them a great all-rounder for family buyers.

Drivers typically love the added ride height that gives them a commanding seating position over the road, while the large SUV platform typically offers superior interior space and, particularly, increased cargo potential over a sedan.

SUVs can also come fitted with an AWD or 4x4 system that makes them more adept than a sedan when hitting off-road trails, adding to the versatility of the package.

FAQ: Which is Better for Long Drives, an SUV or a Sedan?

Both sedans and SUVs have their advantages and drawbacks when it comes to a long drive here in Australia.

Sedans, for example, offer a far more engaging driving package thanks to their weight advantages over SUVs and their low-slung platform that keeps the centre of gravity low and makes them handle far more competently than an SUV.

SUVs, on the other hand, are super comfortable long-distance cruisers, especially on long and straight sections of roads like highways, while they typically come fitted with a beefed-up suspension package to eat up bumps on the road.

FAQ: What About Crossovers?

As the name suggests, crossovers have been designed to tick as many boxes as possible with their design that blurs the line between your typical SUV and a more conventional hatchback or sedan.

Crossovers typically come riding on the same platform as a sedan, giving them a more lightweight design than a heavy-duty 4x4 while retaining the user-friendly hallmarks of a sedan or hatchback around town that makes them easy to park and squeeze through tight spots of traffic.

Crossovers often receive comparable engine options to sedans and hatchbacks, meaning they’re more likely to receive a fuel-efficient petrol unit or even a hybrid powertrain to keep your fuel bills down.

Request a Quote

If you’re looking to upgrade to a new car, be sure to reach out to one of our car-buying specialists who can help find you the best possible price on your dream car.


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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