Over the past 10 years, the auto industry has undergone some major changes. All you have to do is look out onto the road on your morning commute to see for yourself.
Hybrid and electric vehicles are peppering the roads at an exponentially increasing rate, and SUVs and Pickup trucks seem to only get stronger and stronger in popularity. The odd vehicle out: the sedan. Once America’s most popular option of a vehicle, the sedan has seen a rapid decline in popularity and sales over the last decade.
The residual value, or end-of-lease value, of sedans, has been slipping in recent years as well, making the average sedan not worth as much as it once did at lease end, posing a problem for banks and automakers alike when leases mature.
The increase in demand for SUVs and crossovers has taken a huge chunk out of the sedan market, to a point where American automakers are stopping production of them completely.
Just last year, Chevy ditched the Impala, Cruz, and Volt, Ford stopped production on the Focus sedan, Fiesta and Taurus and Cadillac dumped their ATS sedan in favor of a sportier coupe version. But automakers aren’t just cutting ties with models to replace them with nothing.
Most of the models mentioned above are getting an overhaul as a crossover vehicle. This adds to the already blossoming market for new crossover vehicles, as we’ve seen Cadillac roll out the XT4, Hyundai debut the Kona and BMW introduce the X2 last year, just to name a few.
So, where does that leave the lowly sedan with the dominance of the crossover not looking to be slowing down anytime soon?
The good news: 3 of the 10 top selling vehicles of 2018 were still sedans, with the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Toyota Camry accounting for a combined million units sold in the U.S.
The bad news: just 7 years ago in 2011, that number was double, with six of the top 10 spots occupied by sedans. The Ford Fusion, Chevy Cruze, Nissan Altima, and Honda Accord were all in contention for most sold, to go along with the Civic, Camry and Corolla. Those models have been replaced with cars like the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav4. See a trend here?
However, even though sedan sales have been slipping, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the car style is dead. Sedans still offer superior gas mileage over SUVs, generally provide more headroom for taller folks and can be more fun to drive in a lot of cases.
That being said, does it still make sense to purchase or lease a sedan in 2019? Let’s find out.
1. Lease Prices
If you’re leasing on a budget, more often than not, a sedan is still going to be your best bet.
The Hyundai Sonata, Nissan Sentra and Kia’s Forte and Optima, are all great examples of sedans that still hold the cheapest lease for those looking for a new car to get from point A to B. These no-frills sedans can all be leased for under $200 a month with some money due at signing, whereas similarly, MSRP crossovers will run into the $200’s.
Manufacturers have been aggressively pricing certain sedans to move units, meaning a sweet deal for consumers looking to grab a car without breaking the bank. At the end of the day, your cheapest lease is hands-down going to be a sedan, which is reason enough to consider a sedan as your next vehicle.
2. Cargo Room
A major reason crossovers have really taken off in recent years is pure cargo room. Although most sedans have ample trunk space, crossovers have the luxury of foldable rear seats and taller stances, to go along with dedicated cargo areas.
This makes fitting more gear, luggage, furniture, and basically anything else you would need a car to transport, a whole lot easier. At the end of the day, the sedan is just limited by its sedan-ness for lack of a better term. It’s not the sedan’s fault, the crossover just offers a better solution when it comes to different ways it can be used to get more stuff where you want it to go. Which brings us to our next point…
Pound for pound, the crossover is easily a more versatile option for those looking to utilize their vehicle for a multitude of uses. Crossovers are more likely to come with All Wheel Drive, offer similarly sized engines and specs (non-performance models) and offer increased visibility for shorter drivers.
Combine that with the aforementioned cargo room, and it’s easy to see why crossovers sell the way they do.
4. Gas Mileage
While crossovers have made leaps and bounds in the fuel efficiency department in recent years, sedans still generally reign supreme when it comes to spending less at the pump.
Most gas powered sedans will get you anywhere from the upper 20’s to low 30s when it comes to gas mileage, while typically crossovers will sit in the 24 to 27 MPG range.
Of course, if gas mileage is a major factor, you might be better suited for a hybrid or electric vehicle, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks here and there, a sedan is definitely the way to go.
5. Selection (Or Lack Thereof)
As previously mentioned, while the number of crossovers to choose from keeps growing, the amount of sedan models left in the American market continues to dwindle. This trend is unlikely to change in the next 5-10 years, so don’t hold your breath for that hot, new sedan model from your favorite automaker to drop anytime soon.
However, in 2019, the usual sedan heavyweights (Toyota, Nissan, Honda) are still pumping out Corollas, Altimas and Accords at a high production rate, so if you’ve got your heart set on one of those, there are plenty to choose from.
Overall, if you’re still deciding on whether or not a sedan is right for you in 2019, the short answer is: it depends on your lifestyle. If you need a new set of wheels to get around town and to and from work, you really can’t go wrong with a sedan for a great lease price. However, if your lifestyle needs a little added versatility to accommodate your active lifestyle or you live in the Northeast and want a little added stability on the roads, you might be better suited to lease a crossover.
If you have any doubts at all about whether a sedan, crossover, SUV or more truck is right for you, contact the automotive experts at Capital Motor Cars. Our entire staff is well versed on the best deals out there for each and every model available for any budget.