What are the Differences between Coupes and Sedans?

November 2nd, 2022 by

If you’re in the market for a car, you may be mesmerized by the number of options and features that are available in today’s automotive market. Technological advances in auto engineering have made the cars more complex, more diverse, but also much more reliable. Almost any new car has a very dependable power train, so finding a good car isn’t so hard. You just have to decide what style of car you want.

There are so many decisions to make when selecting a car. What’s important to you? Is it cargo space, all wheel drive, fuel economy, high tech gadgets, leather seats or heated seats? Since you’re going to spending a lot of money, these decisions you need to make you happy with the vehicle you end up with.

One of the decisions you need to make is body style. This one choice needs to accurately meet your needs, and the needs of your family. Some cars come in only one body style, such as a crossover, SUV or minivan.  Others give you the choice of a sedan or a coupe. Sometimes, there may be two models of basically the same car, but the coupe has one name, and the sedan has another.

Coupes and sedans have been around ever since the automotive industry was in its infancy. Their obvious difference is that coupes have two doors and sedans have four. Automotive engineers classify vehicles with less than 33 cubic feet of interior space as coupes, and vehicles with 33 or more cubic feet as sedans. But are there other differences?

coupes vs sedansSedans

Sedans have four doors, separate compartments for passengers, an engine, and a trunk. Because of these three distinct areas, engineers call sedans a three box design. In the past, some two door cars were considered sedans because they featured a certain amount of rear seat space. As time has gone on, the design of the sedan has become more of a sensible upright style, with taller roofs and squarer lines than coupes. Typically, sedans have longer wheelbases than coupes.


Coupes have only two doors but still utilize the three box design, with separate spaces for passengers, the engine, and cargo. In recent years, coupes have been designed with a lower roof line, more streamlined curves and angles, and an overall sportier look than the sedans. Some coupes are equipped with more powerful engines, racing style suspensions, and special “sport” trim elements. In some coupe models, the backseats have been done with entirely.

To make things more complicated and confusing, auto designers in recent years have begun to build sedans that look more like coupes and coupes that look more like sedans. In the past a sloping roof line was a definite design element of a coupe, but no more. These days, designers incorporate the sloping rear roofline into many body styles including sedans, and even crossovers or SUVs. In essence, these vehicles are becoming four door coupes. Some even have liftgates instead of traditional trunk lids, effectively making them into hatchbacks.

 Sedans vs Coupes, pros and cons

Generally speaking, sedans have more space for passengers and rear seats that are easier to access than coupes. Sedans also typically have longer wheelbases and may have more cargo space in the trunk as well. Many sedans still have a more squarish look than coupes, but the design differences have become less distinguishable between the two.

Coupes are designed with the front seat passengers in mind. The backseats can be quite cramped and uncomfortable, almost as if they were an afterthought. The backseats are also sometimes very difficult to access, and passengers have to squeeze in behind the folded front seat. This arrangement is not only hard on the rear seat passenger, but it’s also less convenient for the front seat passenger or driver, as they usually have to exit the car for a passenger to climb into the back seat. Those backseats are typically smaller than the backseats in a similar sized sedan. In some instances the coupe designers have done away with the back seat entirely, turning the car into a front seat only vehicle.

So then the question is, which is better, the sedan with its four doors and spacious back seat, or the coupe with its jaunty profile, and sporty performance and suspension options?

This decision is strictly based on personal choice, and really just depends on how the car will be used. You need to decide what works best for you in terms of practicality, style, and performance. If you are almost always in the car with one passenger, a coupe will work well. A coupe will offer you the sporty look and feel that you want, and the absence of a comfortable and easily accessible back seat will not be an issue.

If you usually need a back seat for passengers, the sedan is the obvious choice. The four doors of the sedan make entering and exiting the back seat as easy as entering the front seat. In addition, you may want the additional trunk space that so many sedans offer over coupes.

Decisions aren’t always easy and if neither of these body styles is a clear winner, you may need to abandon the choice between a coupe and a sedan and go with an SUV or a crossover vehicle.

For over 85 years, Dixie Buick GMC has served the Ft. Myers & Estero, FL areas, offering a diverse inventory of both new and used vehicles to choose from. Our highly trained sales team is ready to help you select your next vehicle, and our certified factory trained service technicians are equipped to handle your service needs. If you have any automotive needs in the Naples, Cape Coral, or Ft Myers area, we hope you will stop by and let us serve you. For more information, visit our website or contact us. We hope to see you soon!

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