It’s 2017 – Would You Buy a Coupe?

Timothy Cain

At new car dealerships, coupes are thin on the ground. The demise of the Honda Accord coupe at the end of the 2017 model year shutters the mainstream midsize coupe segment, a category long since diminished by the disappearance of two-door Camrys, Altimas, and the Avengers.

Compact coupes are rare, too. You won’t find two-door versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, or Volkswagen Jetta, although their predecessors all offered coupe variants.

Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Chrysler Cordoba, Ford Thunderbird? Long gone. But coupes — genuine two-doors such as the pillarless Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic I’m driving (and being massaged by) this week, or the Honda Civic, or the Infiniti Q60, or the Rolls-Royce Wraith — are still available.

Would you buy one?

Probably not. More likely than not, your next new vehicle purchase will involve a light truck, anything from the Ford F-150 to the Toyota Highlander to the Jeep Renegade. Passenger cars account for only 37 percent of U.S. new vehicle sales in 2017. Two-door cars account for distinctly less than one out of every ten car sales. Between 2000 and 2011, global coupe sales plunged by nearly half.

It’s not difficult to understand why. Coupes, often linked in the last to performance, are by no means the only source of performance in 2017. Just look at the Honda Civic as an example. While the Civic Si is launching as a sedan and coupe now, the true high-performance Civic is the Type R, a British-built four-door hatchback.

Style, always beheld by the beholder, is constantly changing, as well. So-called (and strangely called) four-door coupes combine some of the coupe’s style quotient with some of the sedan’s practical benefits.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that vehicles such as the Toyota RAV4 Adventure have the means of capturing a young couple’s attention. Where are the kayaks you wish you owned and the bikes you intend to ride supposed to go? Not on a Celica’s roof or in a Camry coupe’s trunk, that’s for sure.

So, is a coupe on your list of new vehicles to consider?

[Image: © Timothy Cain]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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