With the SUV and “Baby” SUV market in Australia catching up to the “old faithful” medium to large sedan market, is the choice between a sedan and an SUV less clear than it used to be? Australians seems to think so – 37.6% of total retail vehicle sales chose SUVs over all other categories, according to ACA Research. So what’s the best choice for you or your family?
The Stylish “Family Wagon” – The case for SUVs
Back in the day, the “family wagon” for seating five or more passengers was notoriously spartan. Your choice boiled down to a people mover van that looked like a coloured tablet on wheels, or a station wagon, which was a nightmare to park and was tough on the hip pocket when it came to fill up. New and more economical SUVs are not only easy to navigate and park around the city or suburbs, they also pack a range of top range safety features such as collision detection, rear reversing cameras, curtain and side airbags, and other bells and whistles.
They do have a higher clearance off the ground, which can make them cumbersome to enter and exit. You do gain the advantage of more cargo space, and 4WD options which means they’re suitable for off-roading or even hauling caravans and other equipment.
The urban choice – the case for sedans
Sedans have been around for much of automotive history, but really came into the fore in the 1950s and 1960s as the choice for commuters and families. Families can still enjoy a lot of space in many modern sedans, though there is a limit to how many can fit in one space. Though SUVs are catching up with hybrid options, they can never hope to match the fuel economy of a sedan, either with or without a hybrid drive.
Sedans have no shortage of safety features and mod cons; some higher end sedans come with infotainment systems and Bluetooth connectivity as standard. Of course, sedans aren’t built for towing or hauling, and their lack of relative boot and storage space can be limiting if you’re hoping to use it as a family holiday vehicle. Even so, a sedan is much easier to park and handle in city and suburban driving, and can do a handy turn at country roads. The lack of traction and torque might become a problem in unsealed roads, though.