Aaron Widmar
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Should I Buy a Used Sedan or Used Crossover SUV?

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Used sedan vs used crossover -2017-Toyota-Yaris-iA and 2017-Kia-Sportage at 2017 Chicago Auto Show (1)
2017 Toyota Yaris iA and 2017 Kia Sportage at 2017 Chicago Auto Show
Photo: The News Wheel

Sedans used to be the vehicle of choice for families over the past century. Now, the crossover SUV dominates the market as the family vehicle of choice. But is it better to buy a used sedan or a used crossover when you’re shopping for your next vehicle? Should parents ever consider buying a sedan anymore instead of an SUV? Should single adults buy a crossover if they don’t have children? These are the questions we hope to answer.


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2020 Kia Rio exterior
Pictured: 2020 Kia Rio
Photo: Kia

Benefits of choosing a used sedan over a used crossover SUV

Sedans have been the tried-and-true form of transportation for many families over the 20th century, and there are a handful of reasons that used cars are still preferable to some people.

Lower resale cost

More people want to buy used crossovers instead of used sedans. This reduced demand for used cars reduces their resale cost by as much as 50%, meaning you can buy a used car for much less money than a used crossover.

Familiarity

Many people have grown up driving sedans and feel most comfortable sticking to what they know. The handling, visibility, maneuvering, and seating position all feel natural to some drivers, who would prefer to stick with a used car.

Greater stability

Sedans have a lower center of gravity than crossovers do, which gives them greater stability on slick surfaces, better handling around curves, and more surefootedness when doing sporty maneuvers. That’s why sedans and coupes still make the best sports cars.

Private, secured trunk

Do you transport a lot of valuable small items? Used sedans have enclosed trunks that keep your belongings out of sight. Conversely, crossovers have exposed cargo space that is visible to passersby through the windows — unless you add a cargo shade, which makes it very obvious that you’re stowing valuables.

Longevity

Sedans have a great track record of lasting for 150,000+ miles with proper care. While true SUVs (body-on-frame) can last just as long, unibody crossovers don’t have the same glowing track record. Their added weight puts more stress on the engine, the suspension, and frame without the bolstered underpinnings that true SUVs have.

Style appeal

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, yet many beholders tend to find sedans far more appealing than crossovers. Most compact SUVs have bland, boring designs that looks boxy and utilitarian; they’re the accustomed ride for parents. Sedans are athletic, youthful, and appealing in their sweeping, aerodynamic bodies. In other words, a premium sedan looks dazzling; a premium crossover still just looks like a crossover.

Fits into tighter spots

Do you often park in tight spots? Used sedans are better at fitting in small household garages, tight parking garages, narrow street parking, etc. While this depends entirely on the class/measurements of the used crossover vs. the used sedan, compact cars are notably smaller than compact SUVs.

Better gas mileage

Crossover SUVs and sedans share the same platforms and thus tend to share the same engines; so, the added weight and worsened aerodynamics of used SUVs result in worse MPG rates, whereas used sedans get better fuel economy.


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2018 Hyundai Tucson crossover SUV model overview vehicle specs information engine exterior red driving
Pictured: 2018 Hyundai Tucson crossover
Photo: Hyundai

Benefits of choosing a pre-owned crossover SUV instead of a used car

Ground clearance

The undercarriage of a used crossover is a few inches higher above the ground than a used sedan’s underside is. This makes a huge difference if you drive on roads with lots of potholes, speed humps, high driveway curbs, and gravel terrain. There’s more suspension travel, too, to handle the ups and downs, so this results in a softer ride.

Cargo space

Used crossovers allow you to stack more boxes behind the backseat — up to the ceiling, which used sedans cannot do. That makes their cargo capacity notably larger. Just remember that those boxes are visible through the windows!

Visibility

The driver sits higher above the road in a used crossover than down low in a used sedan. This higher line of sight provides better visibility in traffic. Plus, you’re not sitting down at eye level of other vehicles’ headlights at night like you are in a sedan.

Easier to get in

Pre-owned crossovers are the perfect height for elderly folks and people with back pain to ride in because they can sit and stand without having to squat down. Plus, loading a kid into a car seat is far easier in a taller vehicle.

Chair-like seating posture

The seats in crossover SUVs are taller and allow passengers to bend their legs naturally at the angles, resulting in a chair-like seating posture. This is better on your knees and more comfortable on long rides than half-bending your legs in a sedan.

Greater availability of AWD

More used crossovers were produced with optional all-wheel drive than sedan models were given. That’s because designers offset the higher center of gravity on crossovers by enhancing their stability with torque to both axles.

More models on the market

Crossovers in recent production far outnumber sedans in production, which means you’ll find many more used crossovers for sale to choose from. This makes it easier to find one with the features, colors, engine, drivetrain, and price you want — whereas you may have to take what you can get when searching for a used sedan.

Ultimately, there is no perfect answer for choosing between a used sedan versus a used crossover SUV. They each have their benefits and drawbacks. You have to weigh both options when deciding on the next pre-owned vehicle you intend to buy.


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