What's the difference between a sedan and a hatchback?

Both sedans and hatchbacks are passenger vehicles that seat up to five people. They have similar features and are comparable in size. The major difference between a sedan and a hatchback is the trunk space — in a sedan, the trunk is separate from the passenger area. In a hatchback, the two areas are connected.

Hatchback vs. sedan: Pros and cons

Here's how hatchbacks and sedans stack up across a few key categories:

Noise

Winner: Sedan. Since the trunk is separate from the passenger area, sedans typically have less road noise than hatchbacks.

Resale value

Winner: Hatchback, usually. Although it depends on the car make and model, hatchbacks often have better resale value than their sedan counterparts.

Security

Winner: Sedan. Since the trunk of a sedan is separate from the passenger area, no one can see what's inside it. Whereas a hatchback is generally going to let passersby see what you're storing in the back, unless you have a cover.

Storage

Winner: Hatchback. Because there's no separation between the trunk and the car's interior, hatchbacks have more storage space than sedans. You can fit larger items into the trunk of a hatchback, and the rear seats fold down, giving you even more room for cargo. Plus, a hatchback's trunk area is flat, making it much easier to load and unload.

Hatchback vs. sedan: Which is right for me?

Some auto manufacturers offer sedan and hatchback versions of the same model car (e.g. Toyota Corolla sedan vs. Toyota Corolla hatchback), making it easy to compare your options. Before deciding which is right for you, consider the following:

  • Lifestyle: A hatchback offers more flexibility and is more practical for people who need room to haul cargo back and forth but can't afford or don't want a truck, SUV, or minivan.
  • Budget: Hatchbacks are typically more expensive. Depending on the type of vehicle you're considering, the price difference between a sedan and a hatchback may not be significant.
  • Design: Hatchbacks typically have sportier designs than sedans, but that doesn't mean they're better. The one that's right for you is a matter of personal preference.

Learn more about buying a new car and check out Progressive's Car Shopping Services by TrueCar to browse a wide range of new and used cars.