Difference Between a Coupe and a Sedan

A car is an automobile that runs primarily on the road, has 2-8 seats, has four wheels, and is used for transportation for humans and not goods. The invention of cars in the 20th century has made it so popular that every economy is dependent upon it in modern times. In the year 1886, cars were invented for the first time by Karl Benz. Cars are usually associated with comfortability, parking, driving, features, control, ease to operate, etc. Cars come in many models, among which a coupe and a sedan are common.

Coupe vs Sedan

The main difference between a coupe and a sedan is that a coupe car is usually shorter in length and has small doors and windows. While a sedan is longer, that gives it luxury and comfortability over a coupe. A sedan has more cargo space for carrying additional luggage and passengers. A coupe is generally considered sportier as it can have only 2 seats for driving with less interior and more machinery.

Coupe vs Sedan

A coupe means a passenger car consisting of two doors. The term was first used for horse-drawn carriages. Definition of a coupe is a fixed car roof with one or two rows of a seat and a sloping roofline. Since the 1940s, it has been distinguished from a sedan because of its shorter roof and sportier look. Variations of a coupe include club coupe, hardtop coupe, business coupe, quad coupe, Berlinetta, 3-door coupe, 3-window coupe, coupe SUV, etc.

A sedan, also called a saloon in British English, is a family car consisting of an engine, cargo, and passenger with separate compartments. This car has a three-box configuration. A sedan can consist of more seats than a coupe. The seating and cargo space of a sedan are very comfy, with ample space for legroom and head. Size and space is the only thing that makes it different from a coupe. Variations of a sedan include convertible sedan, fastback sedan, hardtop sedan, close-coupled sedan, club sedan, notchback sedan, and sedanet/sedanette.

Comparison Table Between a Coupe and a Sedan

Parameters of ComparisonCoupeSedan
SizeLess than 33 cubic feet.More than 33 cubic feet.
PerformanceHigher performanceWith few changes can give superior performance.
DoorTwo doorsFour doors
Cargo SpaceLess More
StyleSporty-lookFunctional look

What is a Coupe?

The word ‘coupe; comes from a french word meaning shorter than the standard one. It was first used for horse-drawn carriages that consisted of two passengers without any rear-facing seats. The definition of a coupe includes a sports car with a fixed roof, two front-seat, and a sloping roofline. However, there is always a debate on how to distinguish a coupe if it has two doors or four doors. From the 1940s and 50s, it is distinguished from a sedan based on its compact look and sportier design.

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, USA, it has defined a coupe having less than 33 cubic feet of space in its interior size. The definition became blurred when almost all the cars made by manufacturers came in 2+2 body style, i.e., roofline, two doors, sleek, sloping, and two functional seats up front, plus two small seats in the back. In 2005, various cars having four doors were also termed as coupe.

Variations of coupe include Berlinetta that was a two-door car with two seats. It was very lightweight and had a sporty look. Hardtop coupe lacks the structural pillars between rear side and front side windows. It can also be called a convertible coupe. Three window coupe had a rear window and two side windows. Coupe SUV is something that consists of four doors but comes under the category of a coupe.

What is a Sedan?

The word ‘sedan’ comes from a 17th-century word litter that means human-powered transport. In those times, the sedan was a chair trhat6 carried one person enclosed in a box with windows and was carried by porters. A sedan, also called a saloon, is a three/four box configuration that has separate compartments for cargo, passengers, and engine. Like the coupe, it also has a fixed metal roof. It has the following characteristics, i.e., it has a B-pillar that supports the roof between the rear and front windows.

It has a three-box design with an engine at the front and cargo space at the rear. Its roofline is not so sloping as a coupe that makes it stiff and gives more space for legroom and headroom. It has a functional look with two rows of seats that can accompany four or five passengers. The interior space of a sedan is more than 33 cubic feet. A sedan can have both two and front doors. There are different terminologies used for sedans like a sports sedan is called a super saloon in the United Kingdom.

Hatchback sedans are called hatchbacks. The standard style of sedans includes Fastback sedans, hatchback or liftback sedans, hardtop sedans, and notchback sedans. In the 20th century, it had variations like coach sedans that didn’t have an external space for luggage. Closed coupled saloons having four-door. Club sedan that had a two-door with large body and space for luggage and trunks. Sedans include models such as the 1942-1951 Buick Super Sedan, Cadillac Series 62 Sedanette, and 1956 Studebaker.

Main Differences Between a Coupe and a Sedan

  1.  A coupe is an automobile that has an interior size of less than 33 cubic feet. A sedan is an automobile that has an interior size of more than 33 cubic feet.
  2. A coupe gives higher performance because of its reputation for being a sports car and having a compact size. A sedan with few changes like suspension upgrades and engines can give superior performance.
  3. A coupe has two doors. A sedan has four doors.
  4. A coupe has less cargo space with typical seating of four people. A sedan has more cargo space providing luxury and ample space for headrooms.
  5. A coupe has a sporty look with sleek windows and a sloping rear roofline. A sedan has a functional look with a four-door configuration.


Both coupe and sedan have certain distinctive features. However, there are no standard means by which they can be distinguished. Since the revolution of cars, manufacturers have blurred the difference between the two. Sedans are considered a family car because of their space and comfortability. A coupe is a sports car because of its high performance. It all depends upon the buyer. If they need a space for kids, space, luggage tec, then they should opt for a sedan. If they love adventure, speed, the performance, they should opt for a coupe.


  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/978-3-658-22050-1_6.pdf
  2. http://ieomsociety.org/pilsen2019/papers/462.pdf
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