When we think of Australia’s automobile culture, we tend to think of big powerful utes and rugged four-wheel-drives, but surprisingly, there is actually a healthy demand for smaller cars such as sedans and hatchbacks. Unlike the old days in which small hatchbacks were typically little entry level runabouts for P-platers, modern hatchbacks often come with all the tech and features we would expect from a more expensive family car. Nevertheless, the configuration of both hatchbacks and sedans has remained much the same throughout the years, so what are the major differences, and which one should you choose?
What Is the Difference between the sedan vs hatchback?
The biggest difference between the sedan vs hatchback is that sedans have a divide between the boot space and the rear seats while hatchbacks do not. Hatchbacks do come with parcel shelves which often make it seem as though there is separation between the cabin and the cargo area, but ultimately, it is still part of the cabin space. Alternatively, a sedan’s boot is a separate space altogether.
Hatchback models are also more likely to be offered as a choice between 2-door or 4-door options.
What Is a Hatchback?
A hatchback is a small passenger car with a large boot. A hatchback’s roof doesn’t drop to meet the boot; instead, it has a rear door that opens upwards giving easy access to the entire cargo space. Furthermore, the rear seats are usually foldable, meaning they can be folded down to open up more space when they’re not in use. This can give hatchbacks a surprisingly large cargo capacity.
Not only are they great little cars for inner city driving, they’re also very capable of transporting furniture, drum kits or even surfboards.
They’re also extremely fun to drive. Take the Skoda Scala, for example. Its 1.5L engine produces 110kW, which is a fair amount to deliver to the front wheels of a small car, making it exciting as well as utilitarian. Plus, being compact and light means they tend to achieve better fuel economy, so there’s the added bonus of cheaper running costs than what you get with bigger cars like sedans and wagons.
While generally thought of as a separate class of car, the SUV can technically also be considered a hatchback. So, if the idea of a hatchback is appealing to you, but Captain Sensible is telling you to consider something a little more future proof, then perhaps it is worth looking at the Skoda Karoq or Kamiq.
What Is a Sedan?
The sedan utilises a three-box design, meaning the engine bay, passenger cabin and storage spaces are individual sections of the car. While some can still be quite small, most are medium to large sized, particularly in Australia where larger cars are often favoured over small cars. Four-door sedans typically have a longer wheel-base—the distance between front and rear axles—and therefore tend to offer more interior space, particularly for the rear passengers.
Given their overall size and weight, sedans like the Skoda Octavia generally have bigger and more powerful engines than hatchbacks. The inherent nature of the design also creates better isolation between the passenger cabin and the rear wheels, meaning sedans offer a quieter, smoother, and therefore more comfortable ride than the hatchback. This may be an important factor when choosing a car, as long drives could make overall comfort a higher priority over cargo space.
We shouldn’t dismiss looks as a consideration when shopping for a new car. A car’s looks can really strike a chord with us that could easily sway a person’s decision one way or the other. It’s hard to deny that a great looking sedan like the Skoda Octavia can make a person feel just that little bit more excited each time they step out the front door. And of course, we all want to drive the car that is befitting of how we wish to present ourselves to the world. These are worthy things to think about before making such a big decision.
So Which One Should I Buy?
Choosing the right car will ultimately come down to a range of considerations, many of which will have already been covered in this article. Those of us who are more practically minded may prioritise fuel economy and cargo capacity over engine power and comfort. That all comes down to one’s individual circumstances, location and exactly what tasks the vehicle is going to be expected to carry out. Families with growing teenagers may find that the extra cabin space of a sedan is more important than the extra cargo space of a hatchback. Conversely, the single inner city motorist may well feel that a more compact car with more space for musical instruments or leisure items may be the best practical option.
So which car should you buy? The only person who can answer that question is you, so head to your nearest Skoda dealer and arrange a few test drives. We trust you’ll make the right choice for you.