It’s the age-old debate, isn’t it? Sedans vs wagons – which one do you go for when you’re buying a new car and you’re after something between a hatchback and an SUV?
At the end of the day, both sedans and wagons are fantastic options for those who are looking for a midsize vehicle to get them from A to B, and everywhere else in between. What it really comes down to is understanding your own lifestyle and how your car is going to fit into that.
So what are the benefits of a sedan vs a wagon? How do you make that tricky decision? Don’t worry – we’re going to break it down for you.
This is probably the main thing that springs to mind when making that decision between a sedan and a wagon. But what most people will be surprised to hear is that in terms of cabin space for passengers, both car body types are pretty similar.
The main difference, as you’d probably expect, is in the boot space. Take a car brand that has both a sedan and wagon version in one model, like the Skoda Octavia. The interior space is pretty much the same – but the boot space differs significantly. The sedan will see 600 litres of boot space (1555 litres with the seats folded down) whilst the wagon gets 640 litres (1700 litres with the seats down). That’s a pretty significant difference!
The question you need to ask yourself, then, is how much junk do you need to fit in the trunk? Do you take a lot of road trips and need a lot of gear? Or are you using your car mostly for a daily driver to get you around town, from work to the shops to home?
Figuring out exactly what you need the car for is probably the quickest way to make your decision, and considering how much boot space you truly need is a good place to start.
If you’re a city slicker and need to navigate the traffic and streets on a regular basis, generally the smaller the car the better. Sedans are just that little bit more agile in terms of maneuverability.
If you’re weaving your way through smaller spaces on narrow streets, you’ll be needing a car with a nice small turning radius and low wheelbase. In an urban environment, a sedan might be the better option, as generally they’re a bit shorter than the typical wagon.
That being said, if you’re not hitting the city streets regularly and you find yourself on the long open road more frequently, a wagon might be the better choice. Wagons generally perform better on longer drives and at high speeds – they’re a little bit more stable due to the larger body.
Again, it comes down to where you’ll be driving the most.
You don’t really need to stress too much about this one, as cars with different body types but the same model type will most likely have the same safety features.
As mentioned, the real main difference between a sedan and a wagon is the back half of the car. So, really, the only difference in safety is when it comes to the rear impact you might experience in an accident.
Wagons may perform better in this respect purely because of their larger boot. But in terms of actual safety features, they’re pretty much the exact same. Differences may come in trim level or additional features, but that’s something for you to decide on when you’re buying your new car. Definitely do your research on this prior to buying, though, to ensure you’ll be getting the exact same safety features in the body type you decide on compared to the other.
Chances are they’ll be exactly the same, though.
As you’d probably expect, the sedan wins on this one too, purely because of its slightly smaller body size.
It’s your basic physics really – the lighter the body, the less fuel it consumes. Sure, the difference between the two is not quite as big as, say, the difference between a hatchback and an SUV. But if you’re really hoping to watch the pennies, the sedan may be your best bet.
So who is the wagon for?
If you’ve got children or a bigger family and need extra boot space to cart around everything you need, the wagon is the one for you. Fit trolleys, prams, and a ton of luggage with ease. Going for a picnic? Chuck the outdoor tennis set, outdoor chairs, and picnic hamper in the back with no stress at all. Heading away on a big road trip and your kids just need to take that extra bag full of their favourite stuffed toys? Yeah, cool, put it in the back.
Another great benefit of having a wagon that some people may not think about is the potential to fill the back with pillows and blankets and chill out. Yeah, it’s quite a niche interest, but sometimes there’s nothing better than getting cosy and looking up at the night sky, or going to the drive-ins and watching a movie in the utmost comfort. Very specific benefit, but one to think about.
Who should buy a sedan?
Sedans are for those who want something a little bit more spacious than a hatchback, but don’t need the large amount of cargo space that a wagon provides. Sedans are great for families who don’t have a lot of stuff to take with them, or for singles and couples.
Sedans are basically just a good middle-ground and work for a wide variety of people and lifestyles. If you don’t need the extra space of a wagon, but don’t want a large SUV, and also don’t want the small body size of a classic hatchback, a sedan is the way to go.
What’s the final verdict?
Well, we’ve come full circle, and we’re going to repeat ourselves now… but the best way to choose between the two body styles is to consider your lifestyle and how you’ll be using your car. At the end of the day, one of the biggest and only differences between the two is the space. So think about how much space you need and which body type you find the most aesthetically pleasing, and let that make your decision for you.