After years of being the most popular body style, sedans are no longer king, now having been overtaken by sport utility vehicles (which include traditional SUVs and car-based CUVs). Sedan sales are only predicted to fall in coming years, and there are those already predicting their demise altogether. While that time may be far off in the future, indeed it is getting rarer and rarer to find a parking lot devoid of any tall, two-box vehicles.
I can’t think of a clever caption for this one. 🙁
“Look for the grey sedan parked in the back row. You can’t miss it!”
I agree. Anyone who says that sedans don’t exist, or that people don’t drive them anymore, are either blind, or stupid. What do you call these cars in the picture?
It’s unforgivable anyone would say sedans don’t exist.
Your logic is very compelling, as usual.
I’ve tried counting sedans vs other vehicles a few times lately. Among moving vehicles it’s about 1/6 sedans, 5/6 bigger. (SUV types, pickups). But in parking lots it’s more like 2/3 sedans, 1/3 bigger stuff.
I’m not sure what to make of this. Bigger vehicles never park? Or never park in stores or malls?
This picture tends to agree with my correlation.
Depends where. At Costco I see 80%-90% SUVs CUVs vans and trucks in the lot,
All the pickups park at Home Depot or Menard’s.
Where ever I park my 4 door sedan if there are even 2 SUV’s etc. they always seem to park on both sides of me so I pray as I inch blindly out in reverse no one clobbers me.
I know. Even though I park far away from everyone else when I come out of the store there’s often a truck or van right next to me even though there’s empty areas all around.
I was going to say that your image of the cars parked at the perimeter against the fence looked like employee parking, saving the spots closer to the shops for the customers.
Until I realized that I just typed as much in this comment.
This picture proves nothing, Brendan – nobody is driving any of these either. They are all parked. Says the argumentative lawyer. 🙂
It’s not difficult to prove that the owner’s actually intended to eventually drive them.
Irrelevant and argumentative, Your Honor.
Sedans stink. There was a time, not all that long ago, (I’m sure some of our readers were still in diapers at the time) when being seen driving a sedan was the equivalent of french kissing your sister. It was either a parts car, or you still lived with your parents. Station wagons were far cooler, especially the big Ford’s.
I have ALWAYS thought of sedans as terminally uncool. I tend to be offended by the inoffensive. But Ive warmed up a LOT to the Chrysler 300C, to the point that its not an embarassment. Still…the Challenger and Magnum are far and away my first choices.
That’s interesting because the reason I got a 300c was because it’s basically the last car that is anywhere near Brougham. I love the extra chrome and wood trim.
The 300 can be fleshed out in different ways. You’re thinking of the Platinum editions. Not to my taste, but they represent that style very nicely. The SRT-8 is just a mean looking sled. The refreshed ’15’s in 300s guise are what I had in mind:
Funny…I’ve always thought sedans were functional, dignified, unpretentious and adult, while I’ve always seen most coupes as belonging to either the pimple face teenage/early 20s crowd, showy corporate lawyers needing attention, or the over 50 mid-life crisis ‘I’m still hip’ set.
Proper sports cars being the exception of course.
Different stroke for different folks I guess…
Once upon a time, you might be correct. But nowadays, a mid life crisis mobile is more likely to be a huge SUV or diesel truck on ridiculous clown shoe wheels, or some absurdly expensive luxo-tech mobile. The teslas come to mind, since its completely ass backwards to drop 6 figures on a car with the intent of saving a couple hundred in fuel costs. Likewise to have 12 inches of lift on a truck wearing 26″ rims and tires that would immediately get shredded on a gravel road.
One ‘proper sports car’ that is still a mid life flagship is the Corvette. Granted, its a legitimate performance machine and has the respect of true enthusiasts. But a low end model sporting a slushbox…ummm….
Sedans are absolutely dignified, unpretentious and adult. The same can be said for a funeral home or an IRS audit. While that may be okey dokey for some, for myself it reeks of stodgy, frumpy and numb…a total nightmare. Different strokes, as it were. I disagree on functionality though, since sedans carry no unique advantage over any other bodystyle out there. Its neither fish nor fowl, since the heavier, clunkier and flimsier body is a lousy platform for a performance car as opposed to a coupe, yet a wagon would be far and away more useful. Its vanilla. Thats fine for some, I guess.
As we agreed, to each his own.
My only comment is that sedans do have the significant advantage of having a completely separate storage area for both safety and security, as well as an extra two doors to make ingress and egress significantly easier and more comfortable.
You also have the advantage (or at least did) of a stiffer body then hatchbacks or many coupes, and often had less noise issues than wagons or hatchbacks. The only down side is a slight weight addition due to the extra doors.
The Europeans figured this out with such performance classics as the 1st and 2nd generation M5 from the 80s-90s or the Mercedes 6.9 from the 70s…
Most wagons/hatches have some kind of cargo cover to obscure valuables. My PT cruiser had a trick hard shelf that could be positioned multiple ways.
By and large a sedan wont have the body integrity of coupe, if theyre both built to the same specs. Sure, a flimsy coupe like a 3rd gen F body vs a Subaru Impreza would fly in the face of that, but Im talking different variants of the same car. There are some compelling reasons why racers sought out 2-door sedans. Not only was that the cheapest variant, but also the lightest and strongest. Having more movable panels in the body degrades its integrity and adds weight/complexity. You want none of that if the goal is to hold a shape under a lot of torque while going fast in a straight line and/or around corners.
My mid life crisis vehicle? 73-74 Ford Ranchero 4X4 with Super Duty running gear or Dana Crate axles. 7.3 Powerstroke under the massive hood. And if more room is needed for the intercooler, feel free to graft Elite front clip on. And add a body lift if needed. If only I had not lost my wallet…Killer ute?
From left to right: silver, dark grey, black, silver, black, dark grey, white, black, dark grey. How colourful. How joyful. How wonderfully daring.
Funny–here in Tucson, red sedans (various shades of red) are not rare. I have seen various shades of green. Our own 2009 Camry is a light blue. I have seen nearly cobalt blue sedans from Toyota, Hyundai, and Ford; probably others offer that color, too. (White is VERY popular here, because it stays the coolest in the summer.)
I’m struck by how the cars in this photo are ALL neutral non-colors. Are there regional differences in popularity of colors?
Not that long ago the Ford Mondeo was available in this color. I remember seeing them. Just a few times, of course…
I hate the current lack of color, though it doesn’t afflict just sedans, it’s with all types of vehicles.
If I ever buy another new vehicle (entirely possible as my wife’s job involves a lot of driving) I see it as my responsibility to avoid black, gray, white, silver and actually get something in an honest-to-god color.
Our current contribution (not my actual car, found on google image search so I’ve no clue whose VIN this is, but the color is the correct Corsa Blue.)
I’m with you on the evil of dull colours!
I’m planning to buy a sedan later this week, to replace the sedan I’m currently driving (well, not literally as I’m typing this). So there.
Now admittedly, that may only be because the pickings for small pickups trucks are pretty slim these days, but still…
Depends what country. In Israel sedans are more popular than hatchbacks and SUVs/CUVs by far.
I’m going to call “sampling bias” on this picture. Where was this taken? One hint is the “Employee Parking” sign, so these vehicles are all used for a regular commute to work. The type of business will further bias the type of vehicles you’ll find there. Are these predominantly owned by young people who aren’t raising families yet?
As an example of sampling bias, on Saturday we took my son to cub camp. Whole parking lot was minivans, CUVs and pickups with a couple hatchbacks (a Matrix and a Focus if I recall correctly) and one or two fullsize SUVs thrown in. There was a single sedan, an older Mazda, and it was parked in the camp employee parking area.
You should go to a home school convention some time – it’s an equal spilt between minivans and 15-passenger full-size vans… (c:
No joke. When we took my F-150 to one, I was walking around the parking lot thinking which one of these was not like the others.
I was floored a few years ago at our local boat, sports, and travel (trailer) show. Looking down the parking lot rows, all you could see was the very familiar Ford truck taillight shape lined up like you were in a dealer lot. Proof positive that the F-150 has 90% of the vehicle market!
Recently purchased a Crown Victoria, it replaced a 2 door Civic, and that replaced an Acura Integra 4 door which replaced a Civic hatchback and a G20.
So, based on my previous posts….idiots and maroons are the folks still driving sedans.
And I agree with a previous poster, how pathetic that our color choices (seem?) to be limited to shades of grey, white, and black.
“Idiots and maroons”…heh.
There are plenty of Sedans available. What I’d like to know is where all the COUPES have gone?!?!?!
Rear seat passengers have the gall to ask for their own doors.
No one sits in the rear seats anymore.
Although, while the coupe choices may be slimmer, the ones left are more focused on where they excel: performance. Better to have a handful of hardcore muscle, sports, or grand touring coupes than a slew of gaudy broughammers, cutesy girl’s cars, or half baked sticker and bodykitted wannabes.
Having researched and test driven the Challenger, I can tell you its all muscle while delivering good handling, suprising mpg, roomy enough for 4, and the LXs are well built. All 3 ponies are amazing machines though and serve both the inage-seeker as well as enthusiasts.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mustang, however I’ve always preferred a ‘personal luxury car’ as it is more practical for the occasional extra passengers, but still gives you a sportier coupe style. I’ve had several Thunderbirds over the years and a Grand Prix GTP, and yes, although less popular, mine was the W-Body COUPE, and not the more popular sedan.
My Fairmont Futura was a coupe, and since you mentioned it, my Broughamified 1973 Ford LTD was a coveted Hard Top! – Remember THOSE! You could actually roll the rear window down for a sleek look (Ok, that’s a stretch with that bloat mobile, but…)
I guess I’ve just always preferred the clean lines of a coupe. I’m in my car by myself most of the time, or with my wife other times, so the extra doors are really a moot point. For the rare occasion I ever needed to use the back seat, it was always manageable in a personal luxury sized car… to your point about the Challenger, yeah, that car might fit the bill as it’s bigger than a Mustang or Camaro.
The Mustang’s rear seats are basically useless, although when I get to drive my granddaughters around there’s plenty of room for them… but they’re only 7 and 11. They fit just fine. ;o)
Follow Up: My wife actually hates riding in my Mustang; she says it’s too small inside… yeah, maybe for her, as it’s designed around the driver. She prefers her Mitsubishi Lancer… and yes, although small, the car has 4 doors, with plenty of room inside. It’s the one we usually take when we know that 4 adult sized people are going to be riding along….
I do like the sharknosed front clip on those. But the sedan bodystyle is a nonstarter. They did have a liftback though, and that’s a workable compromise, so long as it can be had as an EVO also….
PLC’s were more about the looks and image in the day…but as a 6’1 250lb guy, I can see the benefit of the longer doors for getting in and out. Many of todays 4-doors have ridiculously dinky openings that I always smash my head or my shoulder on.
But you touched on one thing…Those big coupes were all about comfort which isnt my thing, per se. But if you MUST go comfy, best to do so while looking good. I just cant stomach the fussy and dumpy look that 99.9% of sedans have. And at the end of the day, if the looks turn me off, I aint biting.
My wife’s ‘sedan’ if you want to call it that turns heads; many ask if it’s an EVO, which it obviously isn’t, but the wing on the back and the ‘Octane Blue’ color gives it that sporty look, even for a 4-door. But like you, I’m tall… (6′-0″ & 196 according to my license) and bean my head almost every time I get in her car. Of course she’s only 5′-4″ and has the seat set too far forward to me. If I have the forethought to move her seat back first, I just barley clear the A pillar of the ‘dinky opening’, but once inside, I find the car quite comfortable and fun to drive, even though it’s a bit under powered for me.
For her, she finds two doors impractical, and probably doesn’t like driving my Mustang because she can’t see the end of the hood, I have power seats and she can move the seat up, but she likes the visibility in her car better. I’ll give her that point. ;o)
Well, I’d call pretty much 2/3rds of new vehicles currently on the market cutesy girl’s cars, so I don’t know if I prefer it to the old days where they were at least those were often small and fun. Also I don’t know why we live in a land of such extremes today – where two door is either a floaty personal luxury car or a ponycar, both specialty cars in the lineup. I for one prefer and desire the pre-personal luxury coupes, coupes like the old Muscle cars were based on, which were based on regular midsizers. If I were around then I’d buy a hardtop Chevelle, Charger, or Torino, or the slew of other midsize 2 doors over a Camaro, Challenger or Mustang available at the same time, I don’t have that choice today. Neither a sport sedan nor a bloated ponycar is a proper substitute.
My wife currently drives a coupe. This condition will become intolerable when we start a family though–dealing with a car seat in the back of a compact 2-door would be a proper nightmare.
Not time for a minivan yet, though, either. 🙂
looking at this backs what i was thinking this weekend. mattel could do about 20 model sedans off the same die cast , just change the trim, grill, lights and you have a different make. all sedans look pretty much the same these days. 3 sizes, all models within a brand generally share the same details on a 7/8 scale, as chevy has redone the malibu to mimic impala more closely this model year.
It’s still quite orderly when I look around here. D-segment and up are sedans or wagons and some coupes. All low-riders, so to say. Typical mainstream D-segment cars are the VW Passat, Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia, Mazda 6, Toyota Avensis, Citroën C5, Peugeot 508 and the new Renault Talisman. Non-mainstream D-segment models are the you know which I mean.
Toyota week is over. Well, all right then.
Seems like “trendsetter auto writers” and car company sales PR is doing all the “Everyone who is anyone is buying an SUV” and “By 2018, we will all be driving them!” promotions.
But someone posted here or somewhere that in LA Rush Hour, most of the commuters are in real cars, still, while the big ‘truck’ is for family shopping, vacations, etc.
There are still quite a few buyers who can’t afford a $35K “truck” to go to work.
Oh yea, sedans are definitely on the way out and no one wants to be seen in one. Funny how so many real prestige cars at not only sedans but are selling as fast as they can be made. Rolls Royce, Maybach (the new one is selling hard over fist), S Class’s, 7 Series, Bentley’s – sedans all and their owners are very happy to be seen I them too. You will also see heads of state and royalty in sedans (or their stretched cousins). Indeed, they regard being seen in an oversized plasti-chrome covers SUV as being vulgar, unless you are on a country outing if course.
I don’t see this market segment switching to tall, bouncing SUV’s any time soon.
I think to some degree it has already switched over, and is likely to continue to do so.
Mercedes, Lexus, and BMW have offered SUVs for years, and they have become a significant part of their sales, including some of their highest transaction prices. Bentley introduced an SUV last year, and the Queen of England was promptly shown driving one! Rolls has an SUV planned for 2018.
Suburbans are used to ferry about U.S. politicians seemingly 95% of the time. The President’s limo, painstakingly built to look like a custom Cadillac sedan, actually sits on a General Motors commercial truck chassis.
That’s the thing though–even though it’s essentially a truck, and a stout one at that, it’s bodied as a Cadillac sedan due to the prestige it conveys.
That’s because a sedan does class and effortless style better than any glorified truck ever could. If I was going to get a Benz, it would have to be at least a E-class sedan. If I wanted a truck, I’d get a Ford or Chevy.
I keep hearing the sedan is dead, seems alot of people didn’t get the memo.
Finding the perfect vehicle is all about knowing what you need and what you don’t need. Sedan owners don’t need towing or hauling abilities, or 4 wheel drive or ground clearance, and they don’t pretend to. What they do need is personal transportation that is easy to park, will hold required passengers and groceries. Rumours of the sedans death are greatly exaggerated.
For many years, coupes were much better looking than their sedan counterparts. In fact many sedans looked like afterthoughts (see early 70s Cutlasses, Malibus for example). Even earlier models, like 55-57 Chevys, look much better as coupes. Sedans were for old people, salesman, or fleets. No one would be caught dead in a sedan, when they would look much more stylish in a Charger, Monte Carlo, Cutlass. Even in the 80s, when the Cutlass Supreme was the best selling car in the US, it was the coupe leading the way.
I think it comes to several factors. One, we are much bigger and less limber people, so climbing in the back of a coupe is too difficult. In fact that is why crossovers are selling so well. They are easy to get into and out of. You fall into cars. It’s like we’re back in the 40s. Starting in the 50s, it was longer, lower, wider. Two, cars, and coupes in particular, used to have actual trunks with openings wider than a mail slot. Ever open the trunk of a new Camaro – ridiculous. Even a Focus sedan is much less useful than the hatchback, but Americans don’t like hatches. Three, the rise of warehouse shopping and big box stores means people need vehicles to carry home their cube of toilet paper, giant TV, or IKEA stuff. In the old days, delivery would be included, or for a nominal charge. Now it’s cash and carry.
I think sedans will continue to exist, but as a smaller percentage of the market, like coupes are now. As more people ride share, CUVs will be even more practical and popular.
Seems unusual that they’re all backed into the spots and straight too. Looks like a rental or leasing fleet. Only a small percentage of people will back in or realize the visibility advantage when leaving. Unless it’s a company where many employees get off work at the same time and the parking lot always turns into a traffic jam. Courious indeed. Brendan is that your Acura with the sun roof and window open?
The oil field service company I work for requires reverse parking in its lots. That may be the case here.
I’ve had mostly sedans and coupes, but last year I got a wagon version of the Acura in the photo! I didn’t want an SUV, but I did want more utility. Honestly, so far we haven’t used it for its carrying capacity much yet, but it’s nice to have the possibility. And I really like the looks and relative rarity of a wagon these days. Oh, and mine’s maroon, which is a big switch after 6 years of silver and 9 years of champagne beige before that. It’s nice having a color for a car I drive every day!
Today’s sedan is hell to get in and out of. Its the best means to alienate friends and family!!!
The roof line has continuously dropped lower and lower and back seat head room is a joke. Instead of getting into a sedan, you climb into a sedan like a jet fighter. Getting something bulky in and out of the trunk’s narrow opening is like fighting city hall!!
If you want a true comparison, try sliding into the back seat of your grand dads Mercury Marquis and your current Ford Fusion (Ford largest sedan to date). Tell which one you would like to ride in on your next 3 hour ride to visit family for Thanksgiving.
Now you know why SUV/CUV’s are the hot item!!
People tell me that my Park Avenue’s rear seat is small. What? As long as it isn’t a truck, SUV or CUV and rides pillow soft, I’m in.
and not one single solitary “Detroit” sedan in the whole row!
(runs and jumps in the back seat of the nearest sedan before THAT war starts!;))