Why You Should Consider an SUV Over a Sedan

Jerry breaks down sedans vs. SUVs in the areas of safety, budget, and performance to help you decide what’s right for you.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
There’s no single answer to the sedan vs. SUV debate, but understanding the advantages and disadvantages of both cars will help you decide what’s right for you. You probably already have an idea of the kind of car you want, but the pros and cons might be more complicated than you realize.
When you think "car," what you’re picturing is probably a sedan. But in recent years, SUVs have become incredibly popular for their trucklike appeal and powerful handling. So, which kind of vehicle is the better bet?
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If you’re trying to figure out whether to get a sedan or an SUV, keep reading as we break down the differences between these vehicles.
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Both sedans and SUVs are incredibly popular.
Sedans, of course, have the crowd appeal of a classic, plus a reputation for fuel efficiency and affordability.
But low fuel prices in recent years have made SUVs a more attractive option, and their truck-like styling gives them an edge for many drivers. In fact, since 2009, trucks and SUVs have consistently outsold cars.
As more drivers opt for SUVs over sedans, some automakers are even replacing the sedans in their lineup with SUVs or crossovers, which blend the strengths of an SUV with the unibody construction of a sedan.
But popularity alone may not be the best way to determine which car is right for you.

Advantages of SUVs

SUVs are the undeniable breakout stars of the automotive industry in the twenty-first century. But what drives the SUV obsession? The standout features of these vehicles come from their roots in trucks: they’re big, they’re powerful, and they have a reputation for safety on the road.


One obvious advantage SUVs hold over sedans is size. Legroom and cargo space both multiply when you move from a sedan to an SUV, many of which offer third-row seating and generous storage space that’s maximized by seats that fold flat.
For active travelers who transport a lot of gear or busy families carpooling with a crowd, SUVs deliver on that precious square footage.


Your engine converts raw fuel into power, and in an SUV that engine is probably a V6 or a V8 instead of the tamer four-cylinder standard in most sedans. The increased power of SUVs means more speed, shorter acceleration time, and overall better performance, particularly over rugged terrain or in hazardous weather.
All-wheel drive and towing capabilities are also standard in most SUVs. This makes them ideal for anyone who frequently needs to take their car off-road or haul trailers long distance.


The inherent sturdiness of SUVs means that they’re formidable vehicles on the road. In a collision, these burly cars tend to hold up well. You’ll also have better visibility from behind the wheel of an SUV, thanks to higher ground clearance and a raised seating position.
Key Takeaway SUVs are sturdy cars built for action, but those strengths come at the price of fuel efficiency and affordability.

Advantages of sedans

With all the strengths of SUVs, what do sedans have to offer? Turns out, sedans can still compete with SUVs in a number of areas, particularly when it comes to price, fuel economy, and safety.


Sedans tend to be more affordable than SUVs. That’s a major point in their favor, especially for budget-conscious drivers or anyone who wants to upgrade to a higher trim level without breaking the bank.
They’re also cheaper to insure!

Fuel economy

Sedans also beat out SUVs when it comes to fuel economy. Those thirsty V6 and V8 engines that give SUVs their alluring horsepower come with a high fuel cost.
The four-cylinder engine of a sedan doesn’t deliver as much oomph, but it will come through with savings—on top of what you already saved on the car itself!


The smaller body of a sedan means that it’s easier to maneuver, especially in tight spaces. Ever tried to parallel park in a full-sized SUV? Sedans tend to offer smoother driving and more painless parking.


Don’t think that the diminutive size of a sedan means it can’t stand up to danger. Sedans have closed trunks, which are safer in terms of security and visibility than the open cargo space of SUVs.
You’ll also get access to a broader range of standard safety features with a sedan, meaning that these cars generally rank higher in safety ratings.
Key Takeaway: Sedans won’t match the raw power of SUVs, but they offer major savings, a smoother drive, and increased safety.
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What about crossovers?

We still need to talk about crossovers, the "car-based SUVs" that combine elements of both vehicle types. These cars offer a middle ground that might sway your preference.


Budget is one area where crossovers split the difference between SUVs and sedans. You’ll pay more than you would for a sedan, but their unibody construction makes them cheaper to manufacture than SUVs.
If you’re into the features of SUVs but not the price, a crossover might fit your needs.


Crossovers tend to come with the all-wheel-drive capabilities of an SUV in a lighter body that’s easier to maneuver.
These vehicles are ideal for people who do a lot of city driving or park in the work garage every day but still want to be ready to go off-roading when the wilderness calls.

Fuel economy

Sedans still reign supreme in terms of gas mileage, but you’ll get better fuel efficiency from a crossover than a full-sized SUV. And if you’re interested in hybrids, there are plenty of crossover options available.


When it comes to the look and feel of your vehicle, personal style plays a big role in deciding between a sedan and an SUV. If you’re looking for that muscular truck-like feel, you’ll find it in an SUV.
But you’ll get better customization options with a sedan, and the financial savings mean that you might have the freedom to upgrade to a higher trim with a more polished look.

The bottom line

It’s impossible to determine a single clear winner in the sedan vs. SUV debate. Each vehicle type offers different capabilities to drivers, so it comes down to what you want your car to do for you.
If you’re looking for an affordable car with a high safety rating and great fuel economy, you’ll find it with a sedan. These classic vehicles are best for drivers whose top priorities are budget and safety on the road.
If you want to travel a lot in rough conditions, transport substantial cargo, and prioritize a powerful engine over fuel savings, go with an SUV.
You can also consider a crossover if you’d like to balance between the performance of an SUV and the conservative size and pricing of a sedan.

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. Comparing sedans and SUVs is one thing—comparing insurance quotes gets dizzying fast!
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