Recently, a colleague who wanted to buy a new car wasn’t able to decide between a sub-4 metre sedan and a sub-4 metre SUV.
His priorities were clear: a petrol car with an automatic gearbox, primarily to be driven in urban traffic, never to be taken off the road, and a long road trip with family (4-5 members) once in a few months.
His heart was on an SUV (Mahindra XUV300 W6 AMT variant), but the mind said a sedan (Honda Amaze S CVT) is a better option. Later, he added another SUV to the list (Maruti Suzuki Brezza VXi AT).
Have you also gotten stuck between an SUV and a sedan? Let’s deconstruct.
Body style, cabin space
While the XUV300 and the Amaze have similar length (3,995 mm), the former has a stronger road presence (because it’s higher and wider). This means the XUV300 offers more headroom (for tall people) and the rear seat can accommodate three adults easily.
Three adults can also sit on the rear seat of the Amaze, but it gets a bit tight.
The Amaze, however, has a boot space (420 litres) almost double that of the XUV300 (259 litres). For reference, an aircraft cabin bag takes up 70-80 litres space, a medium size suitcase is 100-120 litres, and a large suitcase is 150 litres and above.
—Here, the XUV300 has a slight advantage over the Amaze.
In an SUV, you sit higher and have a better view of the road. But with sedans such as the Amaze offering height-adjustable driver seat, this advantage is negated.
—Both stand equal.
Engine and performance
Both have a 1.2-litre engine, but the XUV300 gets a more powerful turbocharged unit (which is fun to drive, but goes 17 km/litre of petrol), while the Amaze has a naturally-aspirated unit (slightly slow, but 18.6 km/litre fuel efficiency). A turbocharged engine also produces more sound, and therefore the cabin of the Amaze appears quieter than that of the XUV300.
The Amaze has a CVT gearbox that offers far smoother gearshifts than the AMT of the XUV300.
—Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
The XUV300 W6 AMT offers more features (such as a sunroof and a touchscreen), and hundreds of customisation options such as chrome styling, sporty seats, unique skid plates, etc. Buyers usually customise SUVs to own taste, but this increases the sticker price.
The Amaze offers basic but necessary features on the dashboard. Before you read further, ask yourself why do you need a sunroof at all?
—SUVs offer more features than sedans.
Both cars have scored high on the Global NCAP crash test—the XUV300 got 5-star rating and the Amaze got 4-star rating (5-star is considered the safest and 1-star is the lowest). But that is passive safety (keeping occupants safe after an accident).
But the Amaze is 200-250 kg lighter than the XUV300, and a lighter car can have a shorter braking distance (so that accidents don’t happen in the first place). That is active safety.
Value for money
The entry-level automatic gearbox variant of the Amaze is S CVT (Rs 8.37 lakh) and that of the XUV300 is W6 AMT (Rs 10.51 lakh), making the sedan almost Rs 2 lakh cheaper than the SUV.
This price difference isn’t only in these two models. The entry-level automatic variant of Maruti Suzuki Dzire (VXi AT), a sedan, costs Rs 7.78 lakh, which is over Rs 3 lakh cheaper than the VXi AT variant of the Brezza, an SUV, even though in daily driving there isn’t a huge difference between the two.
Two sub-4 metre SUV models—Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger—are priced closer to sub-4 metre sedans, but both have a smaller 1.0-litre engine (compared to 1.2-litre in sedans).
Turns out, in the sub-4 metre segment, a sedan is almost always better value for money; SUVs are for the heart.
How they stack up
Prices of sub-4 metre sedans and SUVs
(SUV) Nissan Magnite Rs 5.97 lakh to Rs 10.37 lakh
(SUV) Renault Kiger Rs 5.99 lakh to Rs 10.62 lakh
(Sedan) Tata Tigor Rs 6 lakh to Rs 8.84 lakh
(Sedan) Hyundai Aura Rs 6.09 lakh to Rs 8.87 lakh
(Sedan) Maruti Suzuki Dzire Rs 6.24 lakh to Rs 9.17 lakh
(Sedan) Honda Amaze Rs 6.63 lakh to Rs 11.5 lakh
(SUV) Kia Sonet Rs 7.49 lakh to Rs 13.99 lakh
(SUV) Hyundai Venue Rs 7.53 lakh to Rs 12.72 lakh
(SUV) Maruti Suzuki Brezza Rs 7.99 lakh to Rs 13.8 lakh
(SUV) Tata Nexon Rs 8 lakh to Rs 14.08 lakh
(SUV) Mahindra XUV300 R s 8.41 lakh to Rs 13.92 lakh
(Prices are ex-showroom)