When you’re ready to invest in another car, the wide range of prices can be quite confusing. Depending on where you live, a sedan will likely be cheaper simply because of market forces.
For example, in the United States, sedans are cheaper and easier to find because there are more of them. In Europe and Japan, you’ll be able to get a better price on a hatchback.
This article will provide more information that explains why there is a price difference between hatchback cars and sedans along with some other important information about these vehicles.
The Physical Differences
In terms of production, hatchbacks are simpler to build. The standard sedan is made of three separate compartments:
- Engine at the front
- Passengers in the middle
- Cargo in the back
Hatchbacks only have two compartments:
- Engine at the front
- People and cargo in the middle, separated by the back seat
While there are sedans that have fold-down seats for longer cargo, your carrying capacity is limited by the height barrier at the top of the trunk.
Additionally, there are drivers who find that sedans are much quieter to drive thanks to the smaller gap between cargo space and the back seat.
Focus on Brands
There are few brands that offer both a hatchback and a sedan in the same brand. Toyota, Honda, and Mazda all do, but since the end of the Ford Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze, if you want a hatchback from either of these American automakers you’re dealing with a separate make and model.
Consider Handling and Weight Tolerance
In the brands that offer both sedans and hatchbacks, there appear to be few differences in factors such as
- weight tolerance
If you need to haul large or bulky things, a hatchback may be a better choice for your daily driver.
For those who need to carry a lot of people and very heavy objects on a regular basis, it may be time to upgrade your purchase plans for a heartier vehicle.
Trim and Extras
If you’ve ever ordered a new car, you know that you can purchase upgrades that will make your ride more comfortable.
The add-ons that add to the cost of your new sedan should also be available in the corresponding hatchback.
That being said, there are bonuses of a sedan that you just can’t get in a hatchback. As noted above, sedans are quieter.
The things you put in the trunk of your car will likely be more private than the items you store under the hatch cover.
Your hatchback may cost more, but it will offer a bigger payout when you choose to sell it. Particularly in the American market, hatchbacks hold their value.
Again, market forces are at work, but this time they’re on your side as the seller.
Across the industry, sedans retain approximately 35% of their value after 3 years. Hatchbacks hold more than 50%, and the Mazda 3 hatchback offers more than 60% of its value after 3 years of driving.
If you tend to trade in a car every few years, a hatchback may be a better choice over time.
Carefully Consider Your Needs
There are many wonderful aspects of having a hatchback. As a dedicated hatchback driver, I have to say that the extra height offered by removing the cover of my Mazda 3 hatch has been invaluable.
If I go to the nursery and buy a large plant, I don’t have to put it on the back seat of my sedan and hope it doesn’t tip.
Of course, having that extra room does mean that you need to be careful not to abuse the car. Just because it fits doesn’t mean you can safely haul it.
Sadly, many hatchbacks are woefully short of tie-down spots. Just because you can fit a window air conditioner and 3 box fans in the hatch with the seat folded down doesn’t mean they won’t all come sliding toward your seat during a hard stop.
If you need a truck or a cargo van, don’t expect your hatchback to be as suitable.
If your daily driving requirements include people, groceries, and the occasional run to a big box home store, a sedan may be a terrific choice.
You’ll get a better price than a hatchback in the same vehicle line and probably have more choice of color, finish, and extras. Do your best to hold onto the vehicle and maintain it well for more than three years; your value will take a hit if you try to trade it off early.
However, if you regularly need to haul large or bulky items, a hatchback may be a better choice. Hatchbacks are also wonderful for hauling long things.
I have personally hauled 24-inch doors in my Mazda 3 after
- removing the headrests
- folding the back seats down
- flipping the front seat back
Sedans are terrific passenger cars and you will pay less for one in the United States. Because more of them are produced, you’ll get more choices of finish and features right off the lot.
Your hatchback will be harder to find and may not be exactly the color you wanted unless you have the time to order it.