For under RM 100k, should you buy a sedan or SUV?

Shaun · Aug 25, 2020 10:06 AM

Among the most anticipated launches in the coming months are the all-new 2020 Honda City, 2020 Nissan Almera, Proton X50, or even the Perodua  D55L.

These models happen to be in the B-segment market (some might argue the D55L isn’t but then again, it shares similar wheelbase with the Myvi).

From the looks of it, the B-segment market will be segregated into sedans and SUVs. So to paint a clearer picture when choosing between an SUV or a sedan, here are the pros and cons.

Fuel efficiency goes to sedans

All else equal, a sedan is more fuel efficient than an SUV. Two reasons for this – aerodynamic efficiency and weight.

Due to the taller body of SUVs, there’s a larger surface area pushing against the air and more energy is required to sustain higher speeds. This means SUVs are aerodynamically compromised and ultimately, fuel efficiency is traded off.

A larger surface area typically suggests more weight. And weight is the bane of fuel efficiency. It’s inertia at work here – the heavier the car is, the harder the engine has to work to get it moving.

Sedans are generally more comfortable

Sedans have a traditional 3-box design. there’s the engine, cabin and boot. One of the benefits of having the cabin and boot isolated is improved refinement.

Noises from the road as well as suspension can be better contained within the boot area. Compared to SUVs, road noise tends to reverberate around the rear of the cabin. This is, of course, with all factors such as the amount of sound insulation being equal.

As sedans are lower to the ground, there is less rocking motion from side to side when going over diagonal undulations. And there is less body roll in corners. This means passengers will have a more pleasant ride.

Sedans are less likely to rollover

Having a lower centre of gravity translates to greater stability in corners. Sudden violent swerves or changes in direction are less upsetting to a sedan’s balance compared to an SUV.

Anything else a sedan is better at?

Sedans can be reverse parked close to a wall and still be able to open the boot. Whereas in SUVs, the tailgate may not be able to fully open. 

Speaking of tailgate, sedans provide the security of a sealed-off boot, whereas SUVs have a more exposed boot area, especially those with a missing tonneau cover.

Plus, tyres on sedans are generally smaller than SUVs, which would incur lower cost of replacement.

Does this mean sedans are better than SUVs?

Well, only on some things. SUVs’ taller ride height gives a more commanding driving position and better view out. The height also makes going in and out of the car easier, especially for the elderly.

Larger items can be loaded into the back of SUVs whereas sedans are limited by the size of the boot opening.

Lastly, SUVs’ higher ground clearance means it can fair better when going over obstacles, all-wheel drive or not. For city dwellers especially during the monsoon season, there would be less anxiety going through flooded roads.

Should you buy an SUV or a sedan?

If you prefer a better view out the road, easy ingress and egress, or if you need to go off-road, then SUVs are more suitable for your requirements.

However, if your priority is fuel efficiency, ride comfort, and driving experience, then sedans are the way to go. Plus, B-segment sedans are now rather well-equipped. The Toyota Vios for example, has 360-degree camera and BSM.

The 2020 Honda City has full LED headlamps, electric parking brake, AEB, LaneWatch, and fuel efficient yet powerful 253 Nm two-motor full hybrid.

That's the camera-based AEB system Adrian is pointing at.

With the pros and cons now laid out, would you pick a B-segment SUV or a B-segment sedan? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.