Crossover SUVs vs Sedans in India : Pros & Cons

GTO had earlier started a neat discussion on SUVs vs Sedans, but that was from an era when the only SUVs around were Scorpios & Safaris. The "crossover" tidal wave we are witnessing today didn't exist then. It was before the Duster was even launched!

Crossovers have delivered a body-blow to the sedan segment. Look in any price range and you can see the enormous popularity of this body style, and how it's eating the sedan's lunch. Unlike body-on-frame SUVs, crossovers are more car-like to drive. Which do you prefer and why?

Advantage CROSSOVER:

  • Higher seating position offers superior road visibility & easier ingress / egress. Will also suit those with a weak back.
  • It could arguably be said that crossovers are more stylish than sedans, and offer its owner a better image.
  • More boot space & practicality, including the ability to fold down the rear seat for greater flexibility.
  • Optional AWD - Some crossovers offer AWD, making it possible to take your ride almost anywhere in India.
  • Thanks to the higher ground clearance, you don't have to baby crossovers over large speed breakers or broken roads, both of which are so prevalent in India.
  • It could be said that a crossover is easier to drive than a sedan in the city, because of its superior visibility & the fact that other road users give it a little more respect.
  • Since crossovers are enjoying phenomenal demand, I predict they will be easier / faster to sell when its time to upgrade. Ask anyone who tried to sell a 4-year old Creta vs a 4-year old Verna.
  • A taller seating position can result in superior space management.
  • In some segments, you will find a more inspiring choice of crossovers than sedans. Example, there is hardly any interesting D1-sedan today, but there are many appealing crossovers. Even at 10 - 12 lakh rupees, there are so many more appealing crossovers than sedans. Manufacturers are basically following the market and offering a wider choice where there is demand.
  • 3-row seating is available in a few crossovers, but never in a sedan. Even if it's a 5 + 2, that's still space for 2 more kids.

Advantage SEDAN:

  • A sedan is usually cheaper than its crossover sibling. You can save lakhs of rupees upfront. One more way of looking at it is you could buy a sedan with more features instead of a crossover's base variant.
  • All things being the same, while crossovers are very car-like to drive, a low slung sedan will handle better & be more fun to drive. Is there any crossover that can match a Rapid TSI for fun @ Rs. 10 lakhs?
  • Faster: Because sedans are lighter & usually have an aerodynamic advantage, they will accelerate quicker than crossovers.
  • Another advantage of being lighter is fuel economy - most sedans will deliver higher FE numbers than a crossover.
  • Ride quality - You can tune a sedan's suspension for comfort, but manufacturers cannot make crossovers too soft because of their height & odds of roll-over. Just take a spin in the EcoSport, Seltos, Nexon etc. and you'll know what we are talking about. Tune a crossover for comfort and its handling is all over the place (e.g. Hector).
  • It can be debated that a sedan is safer because it will handle an emergency manouveur in a more composed manner. A crossover has a higher chance of toppling in an emergency manouveur @ 120 kmph. But then, crossovers can be seen as being safer due to their taller seating position + better visibility.

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