The Pros and Cons of Small Sedans
Updated on February 23 2024
There was a time when sedans were the default choice of car buyers worldwide. But as crossovers and SUVs crept up the sales charts beginning in the mid-2000, sedans have taken the backseat in terms of sales. For example, in the United States, one in every five cars sold in 2012 was a sedan. But in 2019, barely one out of 10 vehicles sold were sedans. In addition, SUVs and pickup trucks made up over 70-percent of total sales that same year.
Are Small Sedans Losing Favor to Larger Vehicles?
It’s the same story on our home turf. In a 2017 report by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers in the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association, light commercial vehicles or LCVs (in the Philippines, SUVs, MPVS, and pickup trucks are categorized as LCVs by the government) accounted for 66-percent of total vehicle sales.
Despite the facts, there is no denying that small and practical sedans remain close to the hearts of Filipino buyers, and for a good reason. For starters, compact sedans are effortless to drive around town and are easier to park, but there are certain drawbacks to choosing a small vehicle. Here are the pros and cons of small sedans.
Compact Sedans Pros and Cons
- Small sedans are more fuel-efficient than crossover SUVs and pickup trucks. You get more kilometers per liter in a small car than in a large vehicle, and compact sedans with smaller engines sip less fuel when stuck in gruesome Manila traffic.
- The price factor. Smaller cars have lower base prices and are more attainable by the general buying public. Not everyone can afford millions of pesos on a Toyota Fortuner or Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Still, the working class has a lot to smile about when choosing small cars like the Toyota Wigo, Mitsubishi Mirage G4, or Nissan Almera.
- Small and compact sedans are easier to drive and are ideal for first-time drivers.
- Compact cars have smaller engines that require less maintenance than bigger gas engines or diesel motors. For example, the Mitsubishi Mirage has a three-cylinder engine that runs on only three liters of engine oil. Compare that to a Nissan Navara that needs seven liters of expensive synthetic diesel oil in every oil change.
- Smaller engines and lighter bodies mean fewer emissions.
- Finding a suitable parking space is not a problem if you’re driving a compact car.
- Compact sedans have grown more spacious in the past decade or so. If you compare the cabin and trunk space of an AE91 Toyota Corolla to a present-day Toyota Vios, the differences are glaring. With a modern compact car, you don’t need to sacrifice comfort and cabin room.
- Small sedans are not the most exciting to drive on the highway due to their smaller engines.
- Compact sedans do not ride as smoothly as a midsize sedan or crossover.
- Some buyers who need more passenger and cargo space may find small sedans inadequate.
- Small cars have a lower ground clearance and are vulnerable to pockmarked roads, driving over floods, or traversing regional routes.
- The safety issue. Not all SUVs or crossovers offer the highest ASEAN NCAP safety scores, but larger vehicles are generally safer in a crash than a compact sedan or hatchback. Despite this, a few small and cheap cars got a higher than average score in crash tests.
Are sedans more practical than hatchbacks?
It depends on the make and model of the vehicle. The Toyota Wigo Hatchback offers up to 14.9 cubic feet of cargo room if you fold the rear seats down. It’s the same story in the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback with 17.1 cubic feet of space with the rear seats in the upright position and 47 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
However, the Mitsubishi Mirage G4 has 12.6 cubic feet of trunk space, while the Toyota Vios has 16.8 cubic feet of cargo room. In terms of cargo space, hatchbacks may be considered more practical than small sedans.
Despite the rising popularity of pickup trucks and SUVs, smaller sedans remain the king of frugality and make more sense in the real world. If you want a small sedan, knowing the pros and cons will help you make the right buying decision.