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Sedan vs hatchback

Charl Grobler
August 08, 2016

Sedan vs HatchbackFour door, five door, boot? We break down the difference between a sedan and a hatch and the advantages of each.

Cars come in a whole lot of flavours, and one of the first structural choices you’ll make is deciding between a sedan and a hatch. In South Africa hatchbacks take up 46% of the market, and sedans a paltry 23%, and that number hasn’t shifted much in the past four years. This is partly because hatchbacks have what Charl Grobler, the manager of marketing and product planning at Suzuki South Africa calls “a cool, sporty factor”, but there are advantages either side.

The key difference

This is all about the cargo carrying configuration of the car.


A sedan has a completely separate boot, inaccessible to the car’s passengers, separated from the rest of the car. For this reason a sedan is called a four-door, because only the front and passenger doors give access to the body of the car. However, a hatchback is called a five-door or three-door because the boot is a part of the main body of the car, and the boot’s door could technically be used to access the car.


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    • VERSATILE Because the boot is part of the main body of the car, the seats can be moved to increase the boot space, and it’s more accommodating to bulky items. You can transport a washing machine in a hatch, but you’ll struggle to do the same in a sedan.
    • CHEAPER Hatchbacks tend to be less pricey than sedans
    • SPORTY LOOK The hatches have a funkier, more modern look
    • ACCESSIBLE boot You don’t need to leave the car to access the boot



  • LOCKABLE BOOT “There’s more security in a sedan,” says Charl. The boot is inaccessible through a broken window, and for this reason sedans are popular rental cars.
  • MORE SPACE The actual boot is bigger. This is great for kid’s equipment, luggage or anything that requires secure additional space.
  • PROTECTION The space is protected from air and dirt

Which is better?

Both builds do their job - transporting people and cargo - so the main difference boils down to personal preference and what you need from you car. Is flexibility more important than security, or a bigger space more key than a sporty look?

It’s the versatility, affordability and funky look of the hatchback that appeals to the South African market, but both builds have their place. How's about to book a test drive at your nearest dealer to see which one you prefer

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