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Are Sedans Safer Than Wagons

People often make claims that SUVs are safer than cars, but how do 4 door sedans compare to their 5 door counterparts?

My thought is that the sedan has more reinforcement in the area where a rear impact is occurring. The wagon is less rigid due to the larger opening in the rear. The larger spread between the reinforcement beams of the rear would seem more difficult to protect.

The sedan has the benefit of a rear deck that stiffens the car transeversely, and quite possibly longitudinally as well.

Now, it is entirely possible that the manufacturers have foreseen this possible safety risk and have taken the opportunity to further reinforce the tailgate, and add reinforcement of the rear quarter.

The question is, even in the best case scenario of engineering, is a wagon going to be as safe as a sedan?

I don’t buy that story that one type of car is safer than another. Generally you can say that a larger heavier car my be safer, but beyond that … Stiffness may be helpful, but it could also be a problem if maybe it was preventing a crush zone from working. Safety in an accident has a lot of issues.

I once had a Sunbeam Imp (1,200 lbs). I got hit on the freeway one night by a Greyhound bus. It was repaired and I suffered no damage, a few years later I sold it to a co-worker, He fell asleep about two miles from where was hit by the bus and he went 70 mph into a parked Chevy Impala. He only had a scratched head and a few scraps, thanks to a well designed crumple zone.

It is not easy to tell by looking or guessing.  Just about any modern car is better than grandpa's cars. 

The one really important safety feature on any car is the nut behind the wheel.

Watch a few demolition derbies.

This is something I’ve never even considered when looking at a vehicle. I have a coupe, a wagon, and a pickup. I don’t believe any of them is inherently “safer” than the others.

There are WAY too many variables to start asking if one particular type of vehicle is “safer than another.” I don’t think there can be a legitimate answer.

Perhaps someone with a degree in safety engineering could answer this question. With varitions in brands and models I’m sure there are some wagons that are safer than some sedans, and vice versa.

Likely the biggest difference in safety is the cargo and where the cargo is stored. Items in the trunk of a sedan cannot fly around the cabin and hit the driver and passengers. Items stored in the back of a wagon can become missles in an accident. A wagon with a safety cage to contain cargo behind the rear seat would eliminate this problem. Volvo wagons have safety nets built into the rear seats, but I don’t think many driver’s even know they exist or how to use the safety net.

Of course, a sedan with the back seat loaded with junk, or the rear window shelf loaded with stuff can be just as hazardous. It is just more likely that wagons will contain more cargo in an area where the cargo can get loose and be a hazard in an accident, most especially a roll over accident.

Why would SUVs be safer than cars? Up until recently, they’re more likely to roll. If it’s mass, then yes, heavier vehicles do tend to be safer. I doubt very much the slightly different body shell on a wagon makes much difference compared to the same car as a sedan.

No generic statement can be applied. It depends on design. Some wagons may be far safer while sedans better or equal. Generic statements cannot be applied as engineering differs car maker to car maker.

That being said I feel safer in my Subaru wagon vs many sedans. It does incredibly well in crash testing.

Taking your idea to an extreme, is a vehicle with a full roll cage inside it safer? Myself I woulds say, any body type where the manufacture uses construction techniques and materials that mimic a type of roll cage will provide better occupant protection in the event of certain type impacts but it doesn’t make the car safer, it’s not the car or the road that is dangerous, it is the driver

Some sedans or hatchbacks have fold-down rear seats to extend the trunk length. I’d expect these to perform similarly to a wagon in an accident where lateral stiffness is needed but I can’t say that I have seen a wrecked car body that could have benefited from more lateral stiffness behind the rear seat.

I guess we need to define safe. Is it the likelihood of an accident or injury? Both?