Sedan vs. Hatchback: What’s the Difference?

sedan vs hatchback

Many of us drive our cars without necessarily knowing too much about them or how they work. But sometimes, we need to get a bit more in-depth knowledge to figure out which model is the best one for us. A particular time when you’re doing a lot of research is when you’re getting a new car. You know you don’t want an SUV, so your dilemma is now sedan vs. hatchback.

But do you know the difference between these vehicles? What advantage do you get from choosing a Chevrolet sedan over a Buick hatchback or vice versa? Let’s take a closer look at these two types of vehicles.

It’s All About the Door

The biggest difference when it comes to the sedan vs. hatchback is the number of doors. Hatchbacks have an odd number of doors compared to a sedan, which will always have an even number of doors. Depending on the size and class of a hatchback, it may have three doors or five doors, but something like a Buick sedan will always have four doors. So where is this extra door?

The odd door in a hatchback in the rear; it’s the “hatch” in the name “hatchback.” Unlike sedans, where the back cover is technically referred to as a trunk lid, on a hatchback, that rear opening is considered a door.

An Accessible Trunk

One reason why the rear hatch is considered a door and not a trunk lid is accessibility. In a typical Buick sedan, for example, the trunk is a completely separate compartment from the passenger cabin; there’s no way a person inside the car can access something once it’s been put in the trunk.

With a Chevy hatchback, on the other hand, there may be a partition, but the rear seats are accessible from the trunk and vice versa. A Chevrolet Cruze LT, for example, can pull down the rear seats for direct access to the cargo area of the hatchback. Furthermore, people who want more storage space and only have one passenger can lower both rear seats to accommodate larger cargo, such as bringing home flat packed furniture or stowing all of your luggage for a road trip.  

Passenger Comfort

Depending on the size of your passengers, some drivers may find that there’s more passenger comfort available in a sedan vs. a hatchback. The hatchback tends to trade some of the rear passenger space and legroom in favour of the expanded storage capacity.

With a larger, dedicated passenger space, sedans offer a more spacious passenger experience. However, this difference depends on the size of the rear passengers. If you’re driving mostly with children, for example, this isn’t going to be a big issue, but taller, longer-limbed passengers will notice the difference. People driving the Chevrolet 2019 Malibu LT sedan will notice more spacious seats and generous legroom compared to a hatchback car.

Engine Performance

A final difference when it comes to sedans vs. hatchbacks is what you get out of your engine. Different models will have different options for the engine, such as choosing a hybrid engine. But as a general rule, the sedan will have the more powerful engine if you’re concerned about performance while driving.

The 2019 Malibu LT sedan packs 160 hp with a fuel tank capacity of approximately 60 L, while the Cruze LT Hatchback has 153 hp engine and a fuel capacity of 52 L. The differences aren’t huge, but they do affect the driving experience.

Which One is Right for You?

The final decision on a sedan vs. hatchback boils down to what you prioritize. For people who need to carry more things with increased cargo space, a hatchback may be a better choice. But for people who don't need that kind of cargo-carrying versatility and care more about a smooth, powerful ride and a bit more fuel efficiency, the sedan is the ideal car.

Look at your lifestyle, and what you think you’ll need out of your driving experience for the next few years. A family with children is going to have very different needs from a double-income-no-kids couple.

Always make sure to go to a trusted auto dealership to take a look at the car for yourself, take a test drive, and ask all the questions you want from the staff. That’s the best way to make an informed decision, and City Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC is here to help!