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What is the Difference Between Coupes vs Sedans?

Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes

What IS the difference between a coupe and a sedan?

The answer may not be as simple as you’d think.  Traditionally, people would believe that the answer is easy: coupes have two doors while sedans have four doors. However, car enthusiasts know that the correct answer has become increasingly complicated over time.

One of the biggest wrenches in this theory is that more and more car manufacturers have been calling their various models “four-door coupes.” This development alone makes the entire classification confusing.

Four-door coupes are legitimate, just like two-door sedans are legitimate.

First of all, readers should know what an “Automobile Pillar” is.  Pillars are the vertical supports of an automobile’s window area.  Most vehicles have three or four pillars, labeled A, B, C, or D-pillar.  Previously, people could identify coupes by their lack of a B-Pillar, serving as a clear divider between the front seats and rear seats.

Automobile Pillars - Carsforsale.com

Automobile Pillars – Carsforsale.com


To answer the grand “Coupe vs. Sedan” question, we’re going to give you some typical characteristics of both Sedans and Coupes, followed by the final technical difference between the two car types.


  • Generally, closed-body style, two-door cars
  • Generally, two or four seats (only two seats in the rear, as opposed to three)
  • Commonly described as “sporty”


  • Generally, closed-roof style, four-door cars
  • Generally, comfortably seats four or five passengers
  • Generally, the fixed B-pillar is noticeable between the front windows and rear windows
  • Commonly described as a “spacious, family” car

Now, let’s get technical.

The above characteristics are what the average consumer may think of for a sedan or a coupe.  There are exceptions to every guideline listed above.  However, there is one TRUE distinction between a coupe and sedan.  Are you ready?

  • Coupes have less than 33 cubic feet of interior space.
  • Sedans have 33 cubic feet, or more, of interior space.

That’s right.  The volume of the interior, alone, is the true difference between a coupe and a sedan.

This hard fact will not stop car makers from labeling a car a “coupe” whenever they would like to suggest a “sportier” appeal for their vehicles.  There are plenty of companies who break this rule.  For example, the Cadillac Coupe Deville is technically a two-door sedan.  Even with the technical difference in place, the words “Sedan” and “Coupe” will continuously be used as marketing terms for manufacturers to reach out to their targeted audience.

What type of car do you prefer:  Sedan or Coupe?

Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes
Dustin "Dusty" Rhodes

A fan of nice round numbers and working on tiny European cars, Dusty is the proud owner of a '58 Lloyd 600, a '50 FIAT 500, and is currently on the hunt for a Vespa 400. And, despite all that repair work, he still finds time to write about cars.

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1 Comment

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    Petrev June 15, 2017

    Sorry understood it now


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