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Born: 17th century (two-human-power version).
Death: In 2018, Ford announced it would phase out sedans in its US home market in favour of pick-up trucks, SUVs and crossovers.
Use: For carrying four people and not much else.
Description: The original "sedan" was a 17th-century fully enclosed variant of a "litter": a chair fitted with long horizontal poles carried by a slave at each end. The up-in-the-middle and down-at-each-end shape gave us the classic three-box car.
With modern motorists captivated firstly by the nifty hatchback and now the manly, muscular SUV, manufacturers see little point in sedans. And they would be right. Where can you put a fridge or bookcase? What if you want to pick up a cyclist who has a flat tyre?
Even our hitherto most enthusiastic sedan users, the police, are moving into much more sensible station wagons.
Don’t even get me started on double-cab utes: they are even more pointless: just sedans with no boot lid, so your briefcase gets wet.
Comeback: The longest-range electric vehicles tend to have a more sedan-like shape, as the thin ends cut and slide through the air more smoothly, reducing drag. This may only be temporary until battery technology advances.
- Peter Dowden