How to choose between a sedan vs. coupe

The biggest difference between a coupe and a sedan is that a sedan has four doors while a coupe has two. But in recent years, automakers have mixed design elements between the two types of cars. Despite these overlaps, each vehicle type has pros and cons, such as space, accessibility, performance, and cost. Ultimately, your choice should come down to what you need and want from your next vehicle.

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How are coupes and sedans similar?

Coupes and sedans have what the automotive industry calls a three-box design, with distinct compartments for the engine bay, passengers, and trunk. Coupes and sedans fully enclose the trunk, unlike hatchbacks with open cargo areas. These vehicles also have fixed roofs that aren't removable. Another similarity between coupes and sedans is the low center of gravity, which reduces rollover risks compared to taller vehicle types, such as SUVs and trucks. Learn more about the difference between SUVs vs. trucks and hatchbacks vs. sedans.

What's the difference between coupes and sedans?

Traditionally, a sedan has four doors while a coupe has two. A coupe, which originates from the French word "to cut" due to the vehicle's shortened design, typically has a smaller interior and sportier shape than a sedan. In addition, sedans come in different sizes and performance levels and can seat as many as five passengers.

What are the pros and cons of coupes?

Pros of coupes

Appearance is a big draw with coupes because they tend to be sportier and sleeker with low, sloping rooflines. A coupe's two doors are often wider than the front two doors on a sedan. They also generally have a shorter wheelbase, lighter weight, and optimized engines.

Cons of coupes

Despite better handling and acceleration, coupes may have some limitations. If the vehicle has any rear seating, it will only be accessible through the front doors, and space will probably be tight due to the sloping roof. Coupes usually have less cargo space than sedans. In general, coupes have a higher purchase price than sedans. They can also cost more to maintain and repair, especially ones with specialized parts.

What are the pros and cons of sedans?

Pros of sedans

Sedans come in sizes ranging from tiny, lightweight subcompact cars to spacious full-size vehicles. The performance level can vary accordingly. While the smallest sedan models might have interior space comparable to larger coupes, sedans are known for offering more passenger and cargo room. Four doors make the rear seating area more accessible than in a vehicle with two.

Overall, sedans have a lower ownership cost than coupes, including maintenance and repairs. Their purchase price is usually more affordable when compared to the coupe. But some luxury models with powerful engines and upgraded interiors cost more.

Cons of sedans

A sedan's increased weight and length can make handling and acceleration feel less sporty than a coupe. Sedans also have a less sporty shape than sleek coupe designs. However, sedans tend to have great performance for their body style.

Pro tip:

When making a coupe vs. sedan decision, look at the potential cost to insure each car make and model you're considering. Insuring a coupe could be more expensive due to the higher purchase price and repair costs.

Should I buy a coupe or sedan?

There are several important factors to weigh in the sedan vs. coupe debate. One is space, both for passengers and cargo. Accessibility is another: How many people do you anticipate transporting, and how often? Will they be able to get in and out with ease? The cost to buy and own the vehicle should also factor into your decision. If you're on a tighter budget, it may be worth looking at sedans instead of coupes. If you're not too worried about your budget and are looking for style and performance, then a coupe may be more to your liking.

Learn more about buying a new car and check out Progressive's Car Shopping service provided by TrueCar to shop an inventory of new and used cars.

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