Tuesday, May 28, 2013

POLL: Does the U.S. Market Need More Subcompact Sedans?

Mitsubishi Attrage sedan
It wasn't that long ago when the U.S. market was nearly devoid of small hatchbacks. Why? Because the sentiment was that Americans don't buy hatchbacks—they buy sedans. Things have changed since, say 2006, and the U.S. gets the more practical (and better looking) hatchback versions of nearly all small car models. However, there is still that idea that Americans may want a sedan variant of a hatchback. Nissan, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, and Ford all offer sedan and hatchback versions of the their subcompact vehicles. Toyota, for example, discontinued the sedan version of its Yaris when it redesigned the car for 2012. Some, such as Honda, Fiat, and Mazda, have never offered sedan iterations of the Fit, 500, and Mazda2, respectively, and I'm 100% OK with that.

In my not-so-humble opinion, the sedan version of most subcompact vehicles rarely looks as good and is never as practical. While we liked the Nissan Versa sedan for its no-nonsense approach to motoring, we don't find it particularly good looking. Ford's Fiesta sedan looks OK, but still not as much of a looker as the hatch. Both are more practical in hatchback versions.

This leads us to Mitsubishi, which is set to release its Mirage hatchback in the U.S. soon. It is offering the above "Attrage" sedan in Thailand (e.g. a Mirage sedan). Frankly, it's not very good looking. In fact, it kind of reminds me of a 3/4 sized Versa sedan. I have not heard whether or not we'll get the sedan. I kind of hope it stays in Asia.

Unfortunately, most automakers don't break down their sales by body style, so I don't know if Hyundai sells more Accent sedans or hatchbacks on the U.S. market, for example. I can tell you this: In the Pacific Northwest area of the U.S., I see more hatchback versions of small cars than I do sedans. After all, hatchbacks are infinitely more practical than sedans (or coupes, for that matter), and I still think they look better (with rare exception). No offense to you sedan owners out there. But does the U.S. market needs a sedan version of everything? This same question could've been asked of the hatchbacks we see nowadays. But I'm curious as to what Subcompact Culture readers would say.

Does The U.S. Market Need More Subcompact Sedans?


Rich M said...

After my 07 Honda Fit, I am a convert. From now on it's hatchbacks, liftbacks, or wagons only.

Anonymous said...

Hatchbacks rule. Don't need sedans. All the "sporty or performance" variants have been hatches. Fiesta ST, Sonic RS, Yaris SE, Kia Rio SX, & so forth & so on. They look a hell of a lot better & are way more practical.

nlpnt said...

I'm actually surprised to see the Fiesta Titanium sedan carried over into the facelift model - most of the Fiesta sedans I see are bare-bones S models or full-default "rental spec" SE automatics.

That goes for the rest of the segment, too. Subcompact sedans mainly sell on price and to fleets, which could be why the Yaris sedan disappeared (the 3-door hatch was cheaper).

Anonymous said...

I think, the more the merrier. You don't like sedans? Don't buy them; instead, let people choose cars based on their priorities, perceived values, expectations, financial realities, and so forth. Don't like it? Tough titties.

Andy Lilienthal said...

I don't think anyone is saying it should be regulated or anything. This was more of a question to see which people prefer. If sedans are selling, automakers will obviously keep selling them. As we've seen with the proliferation of hatchbacks, people seem to like them, hence the choices.

24limes said...

Small sedans? Not for me. More small wagons? Yes please!

I'd love to have the options of a Focus (ST) wagon, Fusion wagon, Corolla wagon, Cruze wagon, you name it! I had a Hyundai i30 diesel wagon rental in England that I actually dug pretty well.

Full disclosure: I drive a Fiesta hatch and don't like the sedan much at all. I'm not a big fan of the Fiesta facelift look on the hatch except the ST, but it actually looks better on the sedan.

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Ducati Scotty said...

I find the only people I see in subcompact sedans are the AARP crowd. I think most people prefer the better looks and utility of the hatchback models.