Car designSedanTypes of cars

How to distinguish a coupe from a sedan?

3 Mins read

Do you know the way a typical sedan looks like? What is about a coupe? These are two pretty distinguishable types of cars, aren’t they? At least, it had been like this before the latest generations of personal cars were designed. With these new vehicles, the features of sedans and coupes were blurred and mixed with the classic elements of other cars making the tasks of identifying these types of cars even more complicated.

If you feel you are no more able of telling the difference between coupes and sedans or you have never known these differences in the first place, let’s refresh our knowledge about the typical body styles of these car models and learn what have changed since their advent.

A classic sedan car

A classic sedan car is a so-called three-box personal vehicle. It is called in such a way since the entire construction of such cars has a division into three parts each of which is separated from the others. Thus, a car has a separate compartment, a cabin for a driver and passengers as well as a trunk compartment. It is also crucial to point out that traditional sedans have four doors.

A typical coupe car

Coupes are also three-box cars which makes them quite similar to sedans, however, their important feature is the fact they have only two doors. Traditionally, the roof of coupes is fixed.

Today, you can find cars with somewhat different body styles also referred to as coupes. For example, some sedans featured by particular dimensions of the backseats are called coupes by many experts. Furthermore, a great variety of sports cars can also be called coupes because of the shape of their bodies and two doors.

In addition to that, some hatchbacks with two doors are also regraded by many marketers as coupes, although this type of personal cars is featured by a different construction which is not based on the conventional three-box design. As you might know, hatchbacks have two compartments, the first of which is earmarked for engine and the second one is used for both passengers and a cargo space.

Finally, so far, some automotive experts also started referring to targas as to coupes even though, as we have just mentioned, classic coupes are equipped with fixed roofs and targas are featured by a partially removable roofs.

According to this information, you can imagine that a diverse group of cars can be called coupes today. Toyota Supra, Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911 Carrera, Subaru BRZ, Infiniti G60 and Honda Civic are all regarded to be coupes.

The confusion in the body styles of modern passenger cars

Even though some other categories of cars are also called coupes while their body styles are more of sports cars, hatchbacks or targas, there is even more confusion on the market.

One of the greatest feature of vehicles making them confused with coupes is a typical sloping design of the rear part of the roof which used to be reserved exclusively by coupes. This type of a roof has become one of the most favourite details of car designers who now tend to add it to almost any type if a passenger car. As a result, today, you can see such a type of a roof not only in coupes, but also in sedans and even in SUVs. Furthermore, if you are interested in purchasing such a car, you might hear the marketers referring to these model as to four-door coupes which itself is a kind of a paradox.

More about four-door coupes

The “four-door coupe” term is especially reserved for a total mixture of body styles such as, for example, Audi A7. These are the cars looking like sedans with a fastback roof making them look like sporty coupes indeed. Yet, the exact construction of the roof like this transfers these cars from a group of sedans into hatchbacks since the liftgate of such cars gives you access to the cargo area looking very much like the cargo of SUVs. Of course, this feature is incompatible with the sedan body style since it is featured with a separate trunk.

Now, compare Audi A7 to the cars of the Mercedes-Benz CLS-class. Do you think such Mercedes cars are coupe-like hatchbacks? Certainly, they might look very much like this, but technically, the Mercedes-Benz CLS-class has a separate trunk although in some models you will use a hatch to access a trunk.

Moreover, have you ever seen such cars as Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV and, especially Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe? The second model even has the word coupe in its name, although technically they are not coupes at all! These cars are simply featured by a sleeker design than other SUVs since their cargo space was reduced. This exterior design got a lot of fans, so you can expect even more “coupes” of this type on the market.

The final rule

Despite the fact, the designers and marketers today have become even more creative developing not only new styles for cars breaking the conventional approach, but they mix the categories of naming the cars.

Still, you can be sure if there is a separate trunk in a car and four doors, the vehicle is a sedan. If there are two doors instead of four, but the trunk is still there, the car is a coupe.

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