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The big sedan’s not dead yet

Ten-plus years ago, the most popular cars in New Zealand were almost all sedans, but that has slowly changed as SUVs and utes were developed with improved handling and high tech features.

Four out of five of New Zealand’s best-selling cars in 2018 were utes or compact SUVs, with just one sedan making the cut.

These advancements mean that these big units now drive like passenger vehicles, but usually boast more space, towing ability and off-road capability.

Now, consumers and manufacturers alike are asking: is there still space in the market for big sedans? Or have utes and SUVs completely replaced them as New Zealand’s favourite everyday family vehicles?

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The case for the big sedan

Fuel efficiency

A high-quality ute or SUV like the Nissan Pathfinder or Mitsubishi Triton is a great option for an everyday family vehicle, but in many ways the right sedan has the edge. For one, sedans are usually more fuel efficient and quieter because of their lighter weight.

For example, the excellent Mazda 6 sedan uses an average of 7 litres of fuel per 100 KM while the larger CX-9 SUV uses around 8.8. Choose the SUV and be prepared to spend hundreds or even thousands more on fuel every year, which simply isn’t worth it if you don’t use the extra space.


Another reason to choose a sedan over a ute is their superior performance. The new Holden Commodore 2.0 litre turbo is a sensible, fuel efficient sedan that can still accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in around seven seconds. The Holden Colorado ute (as excellent as it is) will struggle to reach 100 kph in under 10 seconds. This is true for most sedans – they’re simply faster and more responsive at the throttle than larger alternatives, often making them more fun to drive.


The final and perhaps most convincing reason to choose a sedan over a ute or SUV is value. Typically with SUVs and utes, you pay extra for the additional space, power and weight—which, if you don’t need them, is just wasted cash in comparison to buying a sedan. The Holden Commodore and Mazda 6, for example, start at just $38,990 and $45,995, whereas similar market-leading utes with fewer comfort and tech features are often far more expensive.

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There are countless excellent sedans on the market but our favourites are the two we mentioned above – the Mazda 6 and the Holden Commodore. The Mazda 6 has been nominated for World Car of the Year twice and won countless other awards for its excellent safety features, fuel efficiency, design and handling. The Holden Commodore, on the other hand, won the AA Best in Class award for the Medium/Large car category in 2018.

If you’re looking for your next family wagon, don’t write off a quality sedan. To experience one of the best from behind the wheel, drop into your nearest Nicholson Auto today for a test drive.


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