Automotive, Opinion

Why I Prefer Hatchbacks Over Sedans

More often than not, potential car buyers look at two distinct body styles before even deciding on a particular model: hatchback or sedan. While both of them have their own strengths and weaknesses, one body style will be more appealing to you depending on what you look for in a car.

Personally, since I do most of my driving in the city, I much prefer a hatchback for a number of reasons. If you’re considering between a hatchback or a sedan, hear me out – you may lean towards the former by the end of this article.

Hatchbacks Are Easier to Drive in the City

This is by far the biggest advantage of a hatchback. Because it has shorter rear overhang, it is much easier to negotiate dreaded tight corners in KL parking lots with a hatchback rather than a longer sedan, for example.

Aside from that, the shorter overhang also makes it easier to park with a hatchback. Even if most modern cars are equipped with reverse cameras now – which makes parking with a longer car less of a headache – the fact that hatchbacks are physically smaller still makes it easier to park, especially in crowded KL parking lots.

Better Visibility

The ease of driving a hatchback in the city can be attributed to its superior visibility too. Because hatchbacks are more “upright” than sedans, there are more glass area around the car. These bigger windows make it easier to see out of a hatchback, especially when it comes to rear visibility.

On top of that, the bigger windows also make hatchbacks feel less…well, for the lack of a better term, “claustrophobic.” This could be an important factor to consider for certain folks who want a car that feels less confined, though this will be different from one car to another.

Sportier Looks

While sedans usually have more mature stylings, hatchbacks are generally sportier, more aggressive-looking. Of course, there are exceptions to this case, but just compare the Toyota Yaris hatchback to its sedan sibling, the Toyota Vios. Both of them are essentially the same car with different body styles.

However, it’s important to note that just because hatchbacks look sporty, it doesn’t automatically mean they are also sportier to drive than a sedan. Yes, a hatchback’s shorter rear overhang (in theory) improves handling, but this may not be all that relevant to more affordable, everyday cars that most folks are looking to buy.

More Practical for Loading Large Items

Even though a hatchback generally has smaller boot space than a sedan, it makes up for this in terms of practicality. As a hatchback’s boot opening has a larger aperture, you can fit in larger items without too much difficulty. Want even more space? Then just fold down the seats.

But Options Are Limited in Malaysia

Unfortunately, as much as I love hatchbacks, options are quite limited here in Malaysia. While you do get a fair number of selections in the B-segment market – such as the exceedingly popular Perodua Myvi, Proton Iriz, and Toyota Yaris – that’s simply not the case when you’re shopping for, say, a C-segment model.

Take the two most recognisable names in the local C-segment market, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. While both of these models are offered in hatchback and sedan body styles globally, only the latter is available in Malaysia, much to my chagrin.

This is the very reason why I opted to get the current 10th gen Honda Civic anyway despite the fact that it’s a sedan. I would’ve loved to get a C-segment hatchback instead, but the closest alternative to the Civic (pricing wise) is the Mazda 3 Liftback, which goes for a whopping RM137,660 for the base model.

That’s a huge price disparity compared to the Civic, which now starts at about RM107,000. Granted, the Mazda 3 offers a number of features the Civic do not have, but I find it hard to justify the price difference, even if I do prefer the hatchback body style of the Mazda.

Judging by the popularity of the Civic and other C-segment sedans on Malaysian roads, it would seem I am in the minority. While I hope that more carmakers will offer their C-segment hatchbacks locally – especially for Honda Malaysia to bring in the sleek 2022 Civic Hatchback – it’s unlikely, given that the Civic had always been offered only in its sedan form here.

Nonetheless, it’s a different story if you’re looking to get a B-segment hatchback instead. The new 2022 Proton Iriz looks to be much improved over the previous model, and you can’t go wrong with the popular Perodua Myvi either. If you want something a little more upmarket, there’s the Toyota Yaris too.