Everything you need to know about sedan

Sedan is the most common type of automobiles in the world. But only few people know specifically which cars are called a sedan.

There are many different types of cars such as sedans, SUVs, coupes, crossovers, and so on. Among these, sedans are the most common type of vehicle and we can see them on almost every road. But what exactly is a sedan?

A typical sedan consists of three separated parts: passenger compartment, luggage compartment and engine compartment. It usually has 4-5 seats and has 2 doors on each side of the car.

Toyota Camry 2017 angular front

Sedan is the most common vehicle type on the road

However, the rapid development of the automobile market has caused the concept of sedans to expand to be broader and more sophisticated. Nowadays, with many large automakers around the world trying to expand their product portfolio by diversifying car models, the lines to separate between different car types are fading, which makes categorizing vehicles more difficult than it used to be. And not only that, even within the same segment of sedans, there are also different classifications applied for each market.

To identify sub-segments of sedans, automobile experts consider five basic criteria: design, size, performance, accessories, and price. Among these factors, the most important determinants of a sedan are performance (including cylinder capacity, engine power, sensitivity, etc.) and design (including exterior and interior automotive designs). Accessories and price criteria, on the other hand, vary between different markets and between standard/luxury segments.

Although there are differences in naming the vehicle types between markets, we can basically divide sedans into six categories:

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1. Subcompact cars

Subcompact cars include models such as the Toyota Vios and Yaris, the Ford Fiesta, the Hyundai Accent etc. These cars are relatively smaller than other sedans, and have lower performance. Manufacturers of most modern subcompact cars provide 5-door hatchback versions, which could be quite handy for families who prefer economy cars.

Toyota Vios angular front

Subcompact cars are relatively smaller than other sedans, and have lower performance

2. Compact cars

Compact cars are often 4250-4500 mm long and have a 1.4-liter to 2.5-liter engine. Most common compact models are the Ford Focus, Toyota Altis, Kia Forte, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, and many many more.

Toyota Corolla Altis angular front

Compact cars are often 4250-4500 mm long and have a 1.4-liter to 2.5-liter engine

3. Mid-size cars

Mid-size cars (or so-called large family sedans) are a bit longer, from 4700 to 4900 mm, and most of them have 6-cylinder engines which provide capacity from 2.0 liters to 3.5 liters. This is a quite large sub-category, and there is much room for flexibility and variations. Depending on the market, each model can have different engine versions as well as optional accessories. Many popular sedans in the market are mid-size cars, including the Ford Mondeo, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata. The famous Toyota Camry has six different versions with diversified prices and accessory options.

Honda Accord angular front

Many popular sedans in the market are mid-size cars

4. Full-size cars

Full-size cars are longer than 4900 mm and have a very spacious cabin. These sedans are often medium-to-high-price models with a comfortable interior and many accessories, and of course they cost more than mid-size cars and compacts. Notable large sedans include Toyota Avalon, Ford Crown Victoria, Chrysler 300C, etc.

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Toyota Avalon angular front

Full-size sedans are often medium-to-high-price models with a comfortable interior and many accessories

5. Executive cars / mid-luxury cars

Executive cars / mid-luxury cars are often 4900 mm or longer, equipped with 6-8 cylinder engines and have capacity from 2.5 to 5.0 liters. The interior of these cars are spacious and convenient, which combines with their classic elegant designs in positioning executive cars as luxury cars. The name ‘executive car’ also tells something about its targeted customers: businessmen and women who prefer the convenience of the back seat and don’t care much about car prices. In fact, the rear seat on the right side are often specifically designed so that the person sitting there feel the most relaxed and comfortable. Most popular cars of this subcategory are the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Mercedes E Class, Jaguar XF, etc.

Mercedes benz e350

Mercedes-Benz is famous for mid- and full-size luxury sedans

6. Full-size luxury cars (Grand saloons)

Full-size luxury cars are the most luxurious sedans, with a length of over 5m, engines from 6-12 cylinders and capacity over 4 liters. Most modern interior accessories and features can be found equipped for this type of car. The right-hand seat on the rear row is designed so that the person sitting there can handle all vehicle applications, except for the steering. Notable models in this sub-segment are BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS, Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8, etc.

Lexus LS angular front