There’s a bit to think about when choosing between a sedan or hatch: which provides better boot space? Which has a better resale value? Which is right for you?
The big Aussie sedan was long the staple of an Aussie driveway, until the wagon turned up – giving people the option of more space to pile things in.
But the sedan has been overshadowed in recent years by all manner of SUVs, as well as the humble hatchback.
Early hatch efforts such as the Holden Torana and Ford Laser helped with the popularity of a body style that is still a big seller today.
So, if you’re in the market for a small or medium car, which do you choose?
Do you go for the size and tradition of the sedan or opt for the stumpy tail of a hatch?
We crunched the numbers on six popular small cars, each of which is available as a hatch and sedan: the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato, Audi A3 and Subaru Impreza.
The world view
Geography affects the popularity of sedans and hatches around the world. America and China – the world’s two biggest car markets – typically prefer a sedan over a hatch.
Europe, on the other hand, swings the other way.
Some car makers, including Toyota and Hyundai, separate their sedans and hatches more dramatically than just changing the rear-end – and it’s all in response to those market preferences.
The Corolla and i30 sedans, for example, sit on a longer platform with more space between the front and rear wheels (the wheelbase) to create more rear legroom. That’s important for Americans, who are often bigger and want more space and it’s also important for China, where it’s considered a luxury to be driven around in the back seat.
Those brands’ Europe-focused hatches shorten things for the tighter streets and more compact dimensions buyers demand.
As for Aussies, we’re still partial to a sedan, but in the small car realm, hatches have taken over, these days accounting for the bulk of sales.
Some car makers say sedans attract more older buyers, likely because that’s what many grew up with.