Published on August 28th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
In Defence Of The Sedan In The Sedan Vs SUV Debate
Reasons on why the sedan should continue to live on, even when facing the SUV onslaught.
Ever since the SUV segment exploded in popularity sometime in the mid 2010s, the sedan market has been slowly declining, and will soon probably be on its last legs in the very near future.
Looking around a typical traffic jam in Malaysia, what used to be filled with sedans has now been replaced by a sea of high riding SUVs of all shapes and sizes. Best selling sedans of yesteryear are now slowing their pace in terms of sales, while high-riding crossovers and SUVs are flying out of the showrooms.
Many might call this an inevitability as buyers nowadays are seduced by the SUV’s commanding driving position and its large amount of useful space, both of which the sedan struggles to offer. That being said, the sedan segment does offer some different perks that might be more important to some, if they can overlook that alluring high seating position offered by the SUV.
For starters, being lower, leaner and sleeker than most SUVs, the sedan is generally more aerodynamic than its high-riding box-on-wheels equivalent. Regardless of how swoopy and curvaceous the current crop of SUVs can be, the laws of physics dictate that the larger car will be more difficult to punch a hole through the air.
In simple English, this translates to mean that the sedan will be more fuel efficient, especially on the highway cruise where aerodynamics is key. This fuel efficiency is also helped by the fact that sedans are generally lighter than the SUVs, and the weight penalty with an SUV doesn’t stop there.
Additional weight means more power is needed to make it move, more fuel is needed to keep it going, and larger brakes are needed to make it stop. This all means that, in principle, the SUV is thirstier, slower and less nippy than its sedan equivalent.
While on the subject of nippiness, the additional weight of the SUV also negatively affects the already hampered ride and handling thanks to its high driving position. While some may claim that SUVs these days are on par with its sedan counterpart in the ride and handling department, in general it is clear to see that a sedan is still the better handling and more manoeuvrable vehicle between the two.
This goes back to the laws of physics again, a typical SUV couldn’t hold a candle against the equivalent sedan’s lower centre of gravity and higher power-to-weight ratio in an agility contest.
While daily driving scenarios might not warrant a nippy car, it does come in really handy when in extraordinary circumstances, like when swerving in an emergency. This is where the high centre of gravity in an SUV really doesn’t do it any favours.
On the maintenance side of things, a sedan should also be cheaper than its SUV counterpart too. Focusing on the tires on the SUV should be enough to prove this point.
In an attempt to maintain that chunky off-roading lifestyle look, SUVs will more often than not be fitted with gigantic tires with huge sidewalls. This will inevitably mean big bills when it comes to swapping those huge rubber donuts.
The heftier weight of the SUV will also bring additional wear on consumable parts like brake pads and suspension components. Adding to the already hefty running costs due to the higher fuel bills, thanks to the aforementioned heftier weight of an SUV.
Moreover, continuing on the theme of practicality, while a sedan may not have the perceived acres of cargo capacity the SUV has to offer, the traditional three box sedan comes instead with a secure boot.
A sedan is able to keep valuables stored in the back of the car securely away from prying eyes, unlike in the SUV with its open cargo bay, with the only privacy coming in the form of a flimsy tonneau cover.
Lastly, while this may be subjective, but sedans in general have a more attractive design over its SUV counterparts. The long, low, sleek, slender and sporty look of a sedan in most cases is usually more aesthetically pleasing compared to the bulky, ungainly design of some SUVs.
While I concede that certain SUVs may prove exception to certain points mentioned above, the sedan still makes a good case for itself against the SUV. So if you are looking for your next car, instead of going straight to looking at an SUV, it doesn’t hurt to check out the sedans in the showroom too. And you may find that the benefits of the sedan might be worth the trade off to the commanding position of the SUV after all.