A blue SUV and a grey sports sedan driving down the highway

SUV vs Sedan: Which One Should You Buy?

Big family trip? Cramming everyone and their luggage can be a squeeze! But maybe you’re a city driver, battling traffic every day. Do you need a beast that tackles bumps or a zippy car that saves fuel? This is the struggle: SUV or sedan? Both have their pros and cons. Now, whether you’re looking for the best SUV cars in India or a sleek sedan, you must read this as we break it down and find your perfect Indian car!

Table of contents

SUV vs Sedan - What are they?

What is an SUV?

SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle. It’s a type of car that combines some features of a passenger car with those of a truck. Here are some key characteristics of SUVs:

  • Larger size and higher ground clearance: Compared to sedans, SUVs are generally bigger and sit higher off the ground. This provides more cargo space, easier entry and exit and a better view of the road.
  • Versatility: SUVs are designed for both on-road and light off-road driving. Many models offer all-wheel drive (AWD) for better handling in slippery or rough conditions.
  • Passenger and cargo space: SUVs typically offer more seating capacity and cargo space than sedans, making them a good choice for families or those who frequently haul a lot of gear.

What is a Sedan?

A sedan is a classic four-door car with a defined three-box design: engine compartment, passenger compartment and trunk. Here are some key features of sedans:

  • Sleek design and lower profile: Sedans tend to have a more aerodynamic and stylish look compared to SUVs. Their lower centre of gravity often translates to better handling and fuel efficiency.
  • Comfort and fuel efficiency: Sedans are known for offering a comfortable ride and good fuel economy, making them ideal for everyday commuting.
  • Manoeuvrability: Their smaller size makes sedans easier to manoeuvre and park, especially in tight spaces and city streets.

SUVs prioritise space, versatility and a higher driving position, while sedans focus on comfort, fuel efficiency and a sportier feel.

Understanding your driving needs

Before buying an SUV or a sedan, one must figure out which one fulfils the various needs of you and your family.

Who Should Buy an SUV?

  • People with active lifestyles who need extra cargo space.
  • Families with children who require more passenger space.
  • Drivers who prefer a higher seating position and better visibility.
  • Those who plan to tow or occasionally go off-road (consider AWD/4WD options).

Who Should Buy a Sedan?

  • Budget-conscious drivers seeking a more affordable option.
  • Individuals who prioritise fuel efficiency for everyday commuting.
  • Drivers who enjoy a sporty ride with better handling.
  • Those who navigate tight spaces and city streets often (easier parking).

Consider your budget

While SUVs generally have a higher upfront cost, some sedans like the Skoda Slavia can be pricier too. Factor in fuel efficiency (sedans typically win here) and maintenance expenses (both can vary depending on the model). Remember, there’s also the cost of PPF Coating, which can protect your car’s paint, for both SUVs and Sedans.

Where will you be mostly driving?

SUVs with higher ground clearance and powerful engines are better suited for uneven terrain. Mahindra Thar or Tata Nexon are known for their off-road prowess. Sedans are built for smooth surfaces and might struggle on rough patches.

Remember, these are just starting points to think about before you make the purchase. There are fuel-efficient SUVs and spacious sedans too, so don’t get discouraged! The best sedan cars in India or the ultimate SUV depends on your specific priorities.

Pros & Cons of SUVs: Power, Space and Adventure

A blue coloured Range Rover SUV parked on the curb at sunset
SUVs are generally seen as an upgrade in any car owner's lifestyle

Calling all adventure seekers! SUVs are the ultimate road warriors, conquering anything from cityscapes to rough terrains. Here’s why they might be your perfect match:

  • Spacious Interiors: Need room for the whole crew and their luggage? SUVs boast ample space for passengers and cargo, making them ideal for large families or frequent road trips.
  • Commanding View: The higher seating position in an SUV offers a better view of the road, making you feel confident and in control.
  • Off-Roading Capability: Many SUVs come with powerful engines and higher ground clearance, allowing you to tackle uneven surfaces and explore hidden gems off the beaten path. Think Mahindra Thar for the ultimate off-road beast or Tata Nexon for a well-rounded SUV experience.

However, there’s a flip side to the coin:

  • Fuel Efficiency: SUVs tend to be thirstier on petrol compared to sedans due to their larger size and powerful engines.
  • Higher Cost: Generally, SUVs come with a higher upfront price tag compared to sedans.
  • Bulkier Handling: Their larger size can make them feel less manoeuvrable in tight spaces, especially for city driving.

Pros & Cons of Sedans: Comfort, Efficiency and Style

A white sedan speeding through the road in the countryside
Sedans are usually the first cars of many car enthusiasts

For those who crave a smooth ride and a touch of elegance, sedans are the perfect companions. Here’s what makes them shine:

  • Comfort & Efficiency: Sedans offer a comfortable and fuel-efficient driving experience thanks to their aerodynamic design and smaller engines. They’re perfect for daily commutes and navigating city traffic.
  • Sharp Handling: The lower centre of gravity in sedans translates to sharper handling and a more engaging driving experience compared to SUVs.
  • Stylish Design: Sedans come in a variety of sleek and stylish designs, making them a head-turner on the road. Popular options in India include the ever-reliable Maruti Suzuki Dzire or the feature-rich Honda City.

However, sedans do have some limitations:

  • Cargo Space: Compared to SUVs, sedans offer less cargo space, which might be a concern for larger families or those who travel with a lot of luggage.
  • Seating Position: The lower seating position in a sedan might not be ideal for everyone, especially those with knee problems.
  • Family Suitability: While some sedans can comfortably seat a small family, they might feel cramped for larger families with multiple kids and frequent road trips.

Pro Tip

Protect your SUV or Sedan’s paint with a TPU-based PPF from day 1 for robust scratch resistance or opt for Graphene Ceramic Coating for a glossy finish and easier cleaning. Both enhance durability and maintain your vehicle’s pristine look, making them wise investments for any car enthusiast.

Factors to Consider in India

Here in India, car ownership goes beyond just the car itself. Let’s explore some factors specific to Indian roads that might influence your decision:

  • Fuel Matters: Fuel prices are a major concern for Indian car owners. Sedans, with their superior fuel efficiency, can help you save money at the pump in the long run.
  • Road Conditions: Indian road conditions can be a mixed bag, with a good mix of paved highways and uneven patches. While most SUVs offer higher ground clearance to handle these variations, some sedans with decent ground clearance can also be suitable choices.
  • City Spaces: Traffic congestion is a reality in many Indian cities. A sedan’s compact size and manoeuvrability can be a huge advantage when navigating tight spaces and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Feature SUV Sedan
Body Style
Taller, boxier design
Sleeker, lower profile
Passenger Space
More legroom and headroom, often seats 5-7
Less legroom and headroom typically seat 5
Cargo Space
More cargo space, expandable with folded seats
Less cargo space and the trunk is a separate compartment
Fuel Efficiency
Generally less fuel-efficient due to size and weight
More fuel-efficient due to smaller size and lighter weight
Handling
A higher centre of gravity can affect the handling
A lower centre of gravity provides better handling and a sportier feel
Ground Clearance
Higher ground clearance for off-roading
Lower ground clearance is better suited for paved roads
Seating Position
Higher seating position for better visibility
Lower seating position
Price
Starts from Rs.8-9 lakhs
Starts from Rs.5.5 lakhs
Parking
More difficult to park due to the larger size
Easier to park due to the smaller size
Ideal for
Active lifestyles, families, towing, occasional off-roading
Budget-conscious drivers, daily commuting, city driving

Finding the Right Balance

While SUVs offer a sense of adventure and space, their fuel efficiency might not be ideal for everyone. Sedans, on the other hand, excel in city driving and fuel economy but might lack the cargo space or ground clearance for some needs.

Remember, protecting your car’s paint is important no matter what you choose. Consider investing in a good quality ceramic coating or take it up a notch with paint protection film (PPF) – the choice of the “best” brand depends on your research and budget – to shield your car’s finish from scratches, UV rays and the elements, keeping it looking new for years to come.

CarzSpa Detailing Studios, the pioneers of car detailing services in India, have introduced the best in the car protection game with G10 graphene ceramic coating and Eternal series of the thickest paint protection films in India.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do people choose sedans over SUVs?
Sedans are chosen for their fuel efficiency, comfort and easier handling in traffic, especially for smaller families.

2. Which is safe, a sedan or a SUV?
Both SUVs and Sedans can be very safe with good safety ratings. Research specific models for their safety features.

3. Is a sedan or SUV better for a family?
SUVs offer more space for larger families and frequent road trips, while some sedans can work for smaller families.

4. Do SUVs last longer than sedans?
There’s no significant difference in lifespan between SUVs and Sedans when properly maintained.

5. How much does it cost to apply PPF on an SUV?
PPF cost for SUVs varies depending on size, brand quality and number of layers applied. Expect a range of ₹1,00,000 to ₹2,00,000 lakhs (approx.).

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Deepam Sama

Deepam Sama is the Vice President of Business Strategy and Development at CarzSpa Detailing Studios, a leading car care company in India. He is a second-generation entrepreneur who has a passion for scaling up businesses and creating innovative marketing strategies. Deepam holds an MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune and a BBA from the Institute of Management, Nirma University. He previously worked in the Sales Strategy team at ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, where he gained experience in developing and executing growth plans.

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