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Coupe Overview

Jim Sharifi
June 2, 2011
Coupe Overview
Coupe Overview

Not everyone needs the comfort of a sedan or the utility of an SUV. If you prefer form over function, and can sacrifice some passenger and cargo space, going for a coupe gives you a car with lots of style and sporty performance.

Interior and Cargo Space

Right off the bat, there’s no way that the coupe body style is going to work for people who frequently have rear-seat passengers or small children in car seats. Since coupes sacrifice seating and cargo capacity in favor or stylish designs and performance, you’ll be hard-pressed to find rear seats and trunk space that rival sedans at the same price point.

Even within the same model line, coupes offer smaller accommodations for passengers and their cargo. Take the Infiniti G37, which is available in both coupe and sedan body styles. The coupe seats four with modest backseat accommodations and the trunk can hold 7.4 cubic feet of cargo. The G37 sedan, however, offers a much more comfortable backseat with room for five and a trunk with 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space. The coupe can’t compete with the sedan in terms of utility, but it does offer improved performance and a more attractive exterior.

Convenience Features

There are coupes available at every price point. But if cutting-edge standard features are high on your shopping list, you shouldn’t worry that a coupe with those features is beyond your reach.

Even affordable small coupes like the Kia Forte Koup offer standard features such as steering wheel-mounted audio controls and USB, iPod and Bluetooth connectivity. Push-button starting is optional on the Forte Koup, which has a starting price of about $17,000.

Some luxury brands may still charge for many of these features, turning their focus to quality materials rather than packing in features at a good value. The $36,900 base Audi A5, for example, does not come with standard iPod or Bluetooth connectivity, although they are available options. The A5 does offer much more luxurious appointments. These include a leather steering wheel and seating surfaces, power seats and automatic climate control.

Engine, Drivetrain and Fuel Economy

Choosing a coupe with the right drivetrain is important. If your area gets lots of rain, snow and ice, the security of an all- or front-wheel drive coupe will serve you better than the sporty nature of rear-wheel drive models.

Fuel economy is another important factor and can vary greatly depending on the size of your vehicle and its engine. Many coupes, like the BMW 1-Series, Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis Coupe, offer engine options with lots of power, though it’s usually at the expense of fuel economy.

The base Ford Mustang is equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that generates 305 horsepower. Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but those seeking more performance may want to upgrade to the Mustang GT, whose 5.0-liter V8 puts 412 horsepower to the rear wheels, which is 107 more horsepower than the base model. That’s significantly more power, but it does come at a price when you make your way to the pump. The EPA reports that the base Mustang gets 19 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway with an automatic transmission. Upgrade to the Mustang GT and those numbers drop to 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway with the automatic.

If you’re looking to maximize economy, you can save money at the dealership and the pump by opting for less powerful engines. But when you’re comparing vehicles it’s a good idea to consider the fuel economy of all models. The provides numbers for fuel economy, as well as projected annual fuel costs, cost of a fill-up and the distance you’ll be able to travel on a tank of gas.

Safety Features

Every passenger car on the road has to have certain safety features and coupes are no different. As you compare vehicles, pay attention to features like the number of airbags, and availability of anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control. More upscale models may also offer rearview cameras, blind-spot warning systems and pre-collision systems which can prime the brakes if they detect a potential collision. Subscription-based telematics systems, such as GM’s OnStar, can also be a valuable tool for requesting roadside assistance or contacting emergency services in the event of an accident.

If safety is a high priority as you shop for a new vehicle, be sure to check out ratings in crash tests performed by the federal government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The federal government evaluates vehicles with a 5-star safety rating system, which has been updated with more stringent testing. The new rating system for 2011 provides an overall rating, as well as frontal crash, side crash and rollover ratings.

The IIHS rates vehicles on a scale that ranges from a top score of “Good” to the lowest possible score of “Poor” in front, side and rear crash tests along with roof strength tests. The IIHS awards Top Safety Pick status to vehicles that earn a top score of “Good” in all four categories and have electronic stability control. 


Base Engine/ Drivetrain

Fuel Economy


Cargo Space (cu. ft.)

Scion tC


2.5L I-4/FWD




Hyundai Genesis Coupe


2.0L Turbo I-4/RWD

21/30 (manual)



Ford Mustang


3.7L V6/RWD

19/31 (automatic)



Dodge Challenger


3.6L V6/RWD




BMW 128i Coupe


3.0L I-6/RWD




Infiniti G37 Coupe



19/27 (automatic)



Audi A5


2.0L Turbo I-4/AWD

21/31 (manual)



Cadillac CTS Coupe






Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe


3.5L V6/RWD