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Car vs SUV: What Are Their Pros & Cons?

Mercedes Benz

SUVs, or sports utility vehicles, are immensely popular as tough, rugged vehicles that can go almost anywhere and have plenty of space and comfort. This makes them one of the most sought-after vehicles for both adventurers and families. An SUV fills the void between a car and truck, giving the luxury of a sedan with the power and utility of a truck. Large families have ample leg room and comfort in a vehicle that can do what a sedan is just not capable of.

A sedan gives you speed, luxury, and comfort. They are perfect for daily commuters and city-dwellers who experience consistent traffic. If you are torn between a car and an SUV, there are two main considerations to weigh:

  • What will you be primarily using the car for? Are you an astute outdoorsman who likes to drive the roads less traveled? Do you enjoy outdoor activities like fishing or boating? Do you have a large family or need extra space for outdoor gear? Are comfort and the latest technology a requirement for your driving experience?
  • Where do you live? Are you are a daily commuter who spends most of your time in traffic? Do you live in the country or travel to places with dirt roads?

Even taking all these preferences into consideration, the choice between a Sedan or SUV can still be a difficult one. Most people, on average, spend a great deal of time inside their cars, so it’s an important decision.

Let’s take a deep dive into the pros and cons of each vehicle to help you decide which is best for you.

Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV)

Mercedes Benz
Mercedes Benz by reverent, Pixabay

Sometimes called crossover vehicles, SUVs sit between a sedan and truck, making them a class all on their own. They are characterized by their big wheels, high ground clearance, and rugged yet sporty look. They are designed with adventure in mind, as they can go almost anywhere. Their high clearance makes for effortless traveling on road conditions of all types, with bad roads only adding to the fun.

Pros
  • High visibility
  • Safety
  • Strength
  • Space
  • Resale value
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Fuel economy
  • Comfort
  • High cost of maintenance

The Pros

Because of their height, SUVs have great visibility on the road. You are above almost everyone else, enabling a good field of vision. This enhanced visibility makes for a safer drive.

Adding to this is their strength: SUVs are made to be tested. Their rugged construction makes them far more likely to be on the better side of a road accident with another car.

A bigger car equals more space. Not only can you stretch out your legs and have more seating room, but SUVs also have loads of space for storage. Usually, SUVs are also equipped with roof racks to further increase carrying capacity. This makes it the ideal car for people who enjoy outdoor activities like boating or fishing or any activities that need additional gear. This also makes them perfect family vehicles, providing the space for myriad add-ons that come along with having children.

If space is still a problem, SUVs have great towing capabilities. With their powerful engines and 4×4 wheels, towing a trailer or boat is simple. This makes them ideal for long camping or road trips. You can essentially bring the entire house with you wherever you go!

Due to their newfound and ever-increasing popularity among motorists, SUVs also have great resale value. An SUV’s market value tends to remain fairly stable compared to a sedan.

The Cons

With all the great features of SUVs, there are downsides worth considering. Unless you are looking at buying a high-end sedan, SUVs can be much more expensive. With extra features like 4×4 capabilities, roof racks, and tow hitches, the price can quickly escalate.

Adding to this expense factor is fuel economy. Due to their large engines, 4×4 capabilities, and heavy weight, SUVs can be quite thirsty. This is a big consideration if you are an environmentally-conscious person. However, there are certain SUVs out there with fairly impressive fuel consumption and even hybrid options. Even so, they cannot compete with the economy of the smaller sedan.

While SUVs can handle rugged terrain, this capability can also make them less comfortable. The suspension is made to handle bad roads, which can lead to a bumpy ride, with passengers being tossed around in the seats.

With all this tough technology comes high-maintenance costs, especially if your SUV is a 4×4. Parts and services on these vehicles tend to add up quickly, leading to a general maintenance cost that far outweighs a sedan. This will inevitably lead to higher insurance costs too. Having to worry about damaging your SUV almost defeats the option of having one: You want to be able to go anywhere in it. But shocks, tires, and brakes will all take a higher hammering in an SUV.


Sedans

Mercedes Benz
Image credit: Mercedes Benz by Pexels, Pixabay

A sedan is the perfect car for the city commuter. They are generally a more comfortable and smoother ride. A sedan is light, making it fast on the road, and its smaller size makes it easier to navigate through traffic and parking spaces. This also makes them more powerful on the open road, overtaking a bulky SUV with no effort at all.

Pros
  • Fuel economy
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low cost
  • Low maintenance
  • Comfort
  • Speed and maneuverability
Cons
  • Lack of space
  • Narrow field of vision
  • Safety
  • Not optimal in bad weather

The Pros

The first plus for a sedan is fuel economy. Their lower weight and smaller engines make them far more gas friendly than SUVs. Rising fuel costs worldwide make a sedan a more attractive option. Some SUVs are becoming smaller and more reminiscent of a standard car. However, they still cannot touch a sedan when it comes to fuel economy.

Added to this are environmental factors. More fuel economy means less fuel needed per mile, which means fewer emissions. An eco-conscious driver will be happy to know that the carbon footprint of a sedan is far less than their gas-guzzling SUV compatriots.

Sedans are simple vehicles: Being light, they don’t need sophisticated suspension or 4×4 setups. This makes them far more affordable both to purchase and to run. Their suspension does not get tested like an SUV, their brakes last longer, and their tires are spared the harshness of rocky terrain. Not only will you save on fuel but also on parts and services.

A sedans’ smaller size makes it easy to park and maneuver through traffic. Its faster acceleration capabilities help as well, making it nimble and quick in traffic-dense areas.

Sedans are generally far more luxurious and offer a smoother, more comfortable ride than SUVs. They are also lower to the ground, which reduces their center of gravity and makes the handling better.

The Cons

The number-one downside to a sedan is that their smaller size means that the space for storage and passengers is lacking. With no roof racks and a questionable towing capability, you’ll need to pack light when driving a sedan. More sporty sedans tend to be two-door, making it uncomfortable and slightly more dangerous. The lack of back doors in an accident can leave back-seat passengers in a vulnerable position.

This brings us to the safety aspect. Being a small vehicle low to the ground reduces the driver’s field of vision. It also hinders bigger cars on the road from seeing you. It’s less rugged build quality could also have potentially dire consequences in the event of an accident. Because sedans are lower to the ground, bad weather can also be a problem. Snow and heavy rain leave a sedan vulnerable to the elements, especially on dirt roads. Sedans’ lack of 4×4 capabilities further enhances this, making them more liable to slide around or get stuck on a muddy road.


Conclusion

Both a sedan and SUV have their unique place on the road. They both offer a wide variety of choices and extras, as well as many benefits in their particular classes.

The decision comes down to your individual needs. Do you need space for more passengers and extra outdoor gear? Then, an SUV will be the obvious choice. If safety is a concern, a bulkier and sturdier SUV may help you feel less vulnerable on the road. If you are a daily commuter who spends large amounts of time in traffic, comfort and speed will be your number-one priority.

With the demand increasing in recent times, SUVs are becoming more and more sedan-like, improving in both speed and stability. But in terms of speed and comfort, the sedan reigns supreme for the time being.

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