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Choosing between a hatchback or an SUV for your family

Choosing between a hatchback or an SUV for your family

Getting a new car has the potential to significantly enhance your lifestyle by offering both freedom and convenience.

However, it’s important to pay close attention to all the details. If you’re a prospective buyer, you may need to consider financing and dealer options, the brands available in your budget, and importantly, the type of car you want to drive.

If you’re torn between a sports utility vehicle (SUV) and a hatchback, here’s a hatchback vs SUV comparison to help you choose a car that will suit your style and needs.

Why an SUV?

Size: An SUV stands out for its size, mainly characterised by elevation and large wheels. It’s styled as both sporty and large. An SUV is engineered and designed so that it can be driven on rough terrain while avoiding damage to the underside of the car, thanks to the ground clearance. If you plan to go off-road often, an SUV will likely serve you better.

Space: As SUVs are larger than other cars, they tend to offer more space inside. Five to seven people can easily be seated, depending on which brand you’re buying. An SUV also has good boot space to accommodate your luggage if you’re planning long drives.

Better view: Apart from the size, an SUV provides a better view of the road because of high ground clearance. Some people prefer an SUV for this reason alone, as it gives them a commanding presence on the roads.

They’re trendy: According to a report by Roy Morgan, only about 19 per cent of Australians preferred to buy an SUV in 2009. A decade later, the figures had doubled, and about 40 per cent of Australians said they were interested in purchasing an SUV. Back in the 2000s, a large SUV may have been noticeable on Australian roads because they were relatively uncommon. Now, people may not look twice because SUVs are everywhere. But does this mean that an SUV is a good choice for you, or should you look at smaller cars? To answer that question, let’s take a look at hatchbacks.

Why a hatchback?

Compact: A hatchback is a compact vehicle and smaller than an SUV, with a limited space in the boot. Hatchbacks are ideally suited for driving a maximum of five people. If you’re looking at buying a car for just yourself or perhaps you and your partner, a hatchback may be a good choice.

Economical: Hatchbacks are generally a lot cheaper than SUVs. Apart from the price tag, hatchbacks can sometimes offer good fuel efficiency as well, depending on the brand. So, if you plan to drive the car every day to work or college, a hatchback may just work. Besides that, a hatchback typically costs less to maintain because of lower servicing costs, when compared to an SUV.

Easier to drive: A hatchback, being smaller, is often easier to drive in cities bustling with traffic. You will find it easier to fit your car into tight parking spots. Many will appreciate these features in a metropolitan area, which is likely to get more and more crowded every year.

In the hatchback vs SUV comparison, both can be winners for different buyers. It’s all about the utility and features that match your needs and aspirations. Once you finalise the category you want, you can start exploring financing options.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Georgia Brown before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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