What’s the difference between sedans and hatchbacks?

With so many different vehicle types to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the option that is right for you. If you’re searching for a 4-door passenger car but don’t need a ton of space or power, chances are you’re exploring the sedan and hatchback markets. But are these two vehicle classifications really that different from one another? Come along with us as we explore the main differences between sedans and hatchbacks.

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side view of blue 2018 Toyota Prius driving on highway

3 Differences between sedans and hatchbacks

  1. Cargo Space – This is probably the most notable difference between these two types of vehicles. Since hatchbacks are designed with a cargo area that is attached to the passenger cabin, they offer quite a bit more cargo space than sedans.
  2. Versatility – Again, due to the cabin design of hatchback models, they offer more versatility when it comes to transporting cargo. Folding down the back row opens up a virtually flat surface that can fit a surprising amount of cargo. The back seat in most sedans can also fold down, but the cargo area is less open than that of a hatchback.
  3. Seating – Although the seating space isn’t much different between sedans and hatchbacks, it’s important to note that there are size variations for both types—compact and midsize. Depending on how much space you need, you can choose between available sizes and models.

When it comes to performance and efficiency, there isn’t going to be much distinction between sedans and hatchbacks. Each type will rely on the powertrain options of its manufacturer, and you’ll likely find the power-to-efficiency ratio is pretty similar across the board. Of course, sedans and hatchbacks can be available with turbocharged engines for a boost of power or hybrid powertrains for improved efficiency.

What about wagons?

Although wagons aren’t quite as common in the U.S., they are certainly worth noting. Wagons are essentially a cross between a hatchback and a crossover. They’re longer than a conventional hatchback but typically lower than a standard crossover.

What about fastbacks?

Fastback is another body style that is worth mentioning. Vehicles designed as fastbacks essentially look like sedans, but their trunk opens up to a cargo area that more resembles a hatchback. The new Kia Stinger and even the latest Prius model could be considered fastbacks.


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