Coupe vs. the Sedan: What is the defining difference?

2021 Honda Civic

When you take a quick look at the etymology (the study of words – primarily their origin) of “coupe,” you will quickly understand the fundamental difference between coupe and sedan. You may also gain insight into why some car enthusiasts you know in Freehold get very offended when the word “coupe” is used to describe other types of cars or even SUVs.

The word “coupe” originated in 1834 to describe a low, short-wheeled carriage space for the driver that seated two. The French word “couper” means to cut in half. So goes the explanation of the carrosse coupe – half of a car! Many have heard of the classic car “Coupe de Ville,” which is the famous Cadillac convertible two-seater.

So, in the most basic of definitions, a coupe has two doors and a sedan has four doors. However there is more to learn about the differences between a coupe and sedan with the team at Honda Universe. Read more about the differences between the style, performance, and cargo space available in a coupe and sedan below to see which model will best suit your driving needs.

Coupe vs. Sedan: Exterior Style, Performance, and Cargo Space

Exterior size: Given that coupes generally have two doors, this means they are smaller cars. The coupe with two doors often means the doors and windows are elongated, giving a definitive look to the car. The car is also shorter and closer to the ground, which gives it a sportier look. A sedan means two doors with three compartments – the driver’s area, passengers area, and trunk, which is perfect for hauling the whole family from Toms River to Jackson.

Performance: The smaller size and lighter weight of the coupe lends to a sportier arrangement. The sedan is large and heavier, which means it requires more engine strength to give you a faster ride – meaning you can zip around Lakewood with finesse.

Interior/Cargo Space: The interior space of a sedan is more extensive as it is made for up to 5 passengers. A coupe has a backseat that is only meant to accommodate two passengers. The Society of Automotive Engineers defines a coupe as a car with no more than 33 cubic feet of interior space. If this were a hard and fast rule, no sedan could be considered a coupe. The cargo space is more prolonged and broader by design, so they merely offer much more space.

See the Coupe vs. Sedan Difference at Honda Universe

It is fun to explore the history and meaning of car-style names, but the most important aspects of any vehicle are reliability, fuel efficiency, and individual needs. Contact us with any questions you may have regarding car styles, then visit us to view our inventory and take a test drive today!


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