Are you in the market for a new car but unsure whether to go for an SUV or a sedan?

You're not alone. With the rising popularity of SUVs in Australia, it can be tempting to follow the crowd and opt for a spacious, rugged vehicle. However, sedans still have plenty of advantages to offer, from better fuel efficiency to more affordable pricing. 

Today, we'll take a comprehensive look at various aspects of SUVs and sedans, so you can make an informed decision and confidently drive off into the sunset.

SUV vs. Sedan: Sales Figures in Australia

The Australian automotive market has dramatically shifted in recent years, with SUVs overtaking sedans as the nation's most popular vehicle. In 2021 alone, over half of all new car sales were for SUVs, while sedans comprised less than 30%. 

In 2022, this trend only intensified due to an unprecedented demand – 1,081,429 vehicles were sold. The Toyota Hi-Lux was the bestseller with 64,391 units sold, and Corolla remained the only sedan among Australia’s top 10 cars.

The market continues to bring more of the same. In March, Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling sedan, whereas Toyota Hi-Lux remained the overall leader. SUVs dominate the Australian automotive market and show no signs of slowing down.

Although we can see that SUVs have taken the lead in Australia, sedans still provide certain advantages that make them a viable option for some buyers. Let's dive in for a detailed comparison. 

Advantages of SUVs

SUVs are popular because they offer an unbeatable combination of comfort, power, and practicality. Here are a few of the top advantages you can expect from an SUV: 

  • Roomy interior: The seating area of an SUV is usually larger than that of a sedan, with plenty of legroom and headspace for passengers. 
  • Powerful engine: SUVs typically have more powerful engines than sedans. For instance, the turbo-charged engine of the Hyundai Tucson offers plenty of power and torque. 
  • High ground clearance: If you camp or explore remote areas, higher ground clearance can keep your car from unnecessary damage.
  • Off-roading capability: Most SUVs are designed with off-road capabilities in mind, meaning they can handle steep inclines and rocky paths with ease. 
  • Towing capacity: If you need a car to tow heavy loads, an SUV is the way to go. 
  • Spacious cargo area: SUVs usually offer more space in their cargo areas than sedans, so you can easily fit luggage and other items when travelling. 
  • All-wheel drive (AWD) option: Many SUVs come with all-wheel drive as standard or as an optional extra. This means the car has better traction on wet or slippery surfaces, making driving safer under challenging conditions. 
  • Stronger safety features: SUVs have more robust frames and better crash protection than sedans, so you can feel confident that you and your passengers are well-protected in the event of an accident. 

Related: Best 10 Medium SUVs Australia 2023

Advantages of Sedans

While SUVs offer many advantages, sedans also have some features that make them attractive to buyers. The top benefits include: 

  • Price: Sedans are typically more affordable than SUVs, making them popular for buyers on a tighter budget
  • Fuel Efficiency: As sedans are smaller and lighter than SUVs, they tend to be more fuel efficient. 
  • Easier to drive: Sedans are usually smaller than SUVs, making them easier to drive and navigate through city streets and tight parking spots. This also makes them less intimidating for beginners who may be uncomfortable with driving a large vehicle. 
  • Cheaper insurance: As sedans are generally more affordable vehicles, they also tend to have lower insurance premiums than SUVs. 

SUV vs. Sedan: Top Factors to Consider

When comparing SUVs and sedans, several factors can help you decide which vehicle suits your needs. 


Regarding comfort, SUVs are the most spacious and offer plenty of room for passengers and cargo. The high seating position also provides an excellent view of the road ahead. On the other hand, sedans are more compact and may offer less leg room or cargo space than an SUV. 

Sedans tend to have a lower centre of gravity, which provides better stability and handling. This feature can make sedans more comfortable to drive, especially on winding roads. Sedans also tend to have a more refined ride quality, with less road noise and a smoother experience, thanks to their lower ground clearance.

SUVs' extended wheelbase and suspension systems also give them a smoother ride over uneven terrain than sedans, making them more comfortable for longer trips. On the other hand, sedans are typically better suited to city driving and shorter trips due to their smaller size and lighter weight. 


Affordability is a significant factor when choosing between an SUV and a sedan. While sedans cost less due to their smaller size and fewer features, some high-end models can be just as expensive as SUVs. 

However, SUVs often come with superior towing and off-road capabilities, making them worth the investment for those needing these features. It's essential to consider the initial purchase price and the long-term costs associated with ownership, such as fuel costs, maintenance fees, and insurance rates. 

Ultimately, setting a budget and comparing prices across different makes and models is essential to find the best option for your financial constraints.

Fuel Efficiency

As fuel prices continue to soar, it's prudent to consider fuel efficiency when purchasing a car. Especially if you think about long-term costs, a fuel-efficient vehicle can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.

SUVs typically have lower mileage than sedans due to their heavier weight and larger engine. However, there are exceptions in the form of hybrid or electric models that can offer improved efficiency. 

For instance, the Honda Civic can provide up to 40 mpg on the highway with its 1.5L turbocharged engine – a remarkable figure compared with most SUV offerings.

Lifestyle Considerations

Finally, you can’t overlook your lifestyle when deciding between an SUV and a sedan. A sedan may suit your needs if you're single or have a small family. On the other hand, if you have a large family with lots of luggage, an SUV is likely the better option due to its larger size and extra cargo space. 

SUVs also offer better off-road capabilities, which are great for those who love exploring nature or camping. However, sedans provide more agility in tight spaces and can handle winding roads better than SUVs due to their smaller size. 

Wrap-up: Consider All Factors to Make the Right Choice

The decision between an SUV and a sedan is ultimately up to you. Though SUVs have become increasingly popular recently due to their size and off-roading capabilities, sedans maintain certain advantages, such as affordability and greater fuel efficiency. 

As you choose, remember the comfort, cost, fuel economy and lifestyle considerations outlined in this article. Do your research, take a test drive of each option, and weigh the pros and cons before making your final decision. You can carefully select the vehicle best suited to your needs and lifestyle.

Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.