By on July 25, 2013

coupes

Well, folks, I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Nissan is cancelling the Altima Coupe. This, I believe, will affect many of us. You, for instance, might read my opening line and think: I MUST GET ONE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. If that’s the case, I strongly suggest visiting a Nissan dealer before supplies dry up, likely sometime in early 2015.

I’d like to devote today’s column to the Altima Coupe’s unusual market segment: two-door versions of midsize sedans. But before we go there, we must cover a little Altima Coupe background. As I recall, these are the main highlights:

1. Sometime in 2007: Nissan announces they’re coming out with the Altima Coupe.

2. July 24, 2013: Nissan announced they’re cancelling the Altima Coupe.

Really, it was a very uneventful life, and I think we’d all agree that if we went on some sort of automotive quiz show where you get covered in slime if you get the question wrong, and the question was “Name all the Nissan models,” (apparently the questions can be statements too) we’d probably get covered in slime, because we’d forget the Altima Coupe, and also the Armada, which is still in production despite the best efforts of the American car-buying public.

So you’re thinking: If the Altima Coupe was so forgettable, why did Nissan even sell it? And my answer is: Yeah, why did they even sell it? Just kidding. As always, I have an opinion on the topic. My theory is that Nissan saw holes in the market left by wildly popular vehicles such as the Toyota Solara, the Pontiac Grand Am Coupe, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and said: We must compete in this segment.

To me, the crazy thing here isn’t that Nissan decided to build the Altima Coupe in the first place. It’s that they want to cancel it. Keep in mind that this is the same company that builds asymmetrical, box-shaped compact car, a small crossover that looks like a frog, and a midsize SUV with a full soft top convertible, two rear windows, and a $43,000 base price.

In other words: if Nissan doesn’t think it can sell the Altima Coupe, then no one can sell the Altima Coupe.

And this leads me back to two-door versions of midsize sedans. Or, more specifically, to the question: is this segment completely dead?

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, what with all the discussion about the demise of midsize pickups, but midsize coupes are also dwindling in numbers. At this point, I would classify them as the Asian elephant of the automotive world in the sense that they are not yet extinct, but they will be if someone doesn’t do something.

To prove this point, I recently visited the Nissan Altima Coupe configurator, where you can compare the Altima Coupe to its rivals, and I learned that the Altima Coupe has the following rivals:

1. Honda Accord Coupe

I also learned that the Altima Coupe gets far better gas mileage than the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG, and it has way more interior room than the Audi TT, and the reason this article is so late today probably relates entirely to the fact that I wasted most of the morning comparing the Nissan Altima Coupe to expensive European luxury cars.

Anyway: with the Altima Coupe gone, the Accord Coupe is the only car left in this segment. This is a vast departure from years ago, when we had the aforementioned Solara, Grand Am Coupe, and Monte Carlo, along with the Oldsmobile Alero Coupe, the Mazda MX-6 and Ford Probe, the Mercury Cougar, the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring, and probably a few others which I’ve forgotten and therefore hope I’m not asked about on that automotive quiz show with the slime.

With only one vehicle remaining, I think the segment’s future is pretty bleak. But why? Why are people only now starting to turn their backs on two-door versions of midsize sedans? It’s not like these cars are any less practical than they were eight years ago, when a stunningly large segment of the population – which is any number more than 50 – purchased a Toyota Solara Coupe.

And maybe an even better question is: How does Honda still do it? Even with all competitors eliminated, the Accord Coupe soldiers on, providing reliable transportation for people who believe hacking two doors off an Accord sedan creates a sports car.

Basically, I’m baffled by the whole thing, and so I turn to you, TTAC, for some answers. Is this segment dead and buried? How does Honda still manage? And most importantly: why doesn’t the Nissan Altima Coupe configurator include Ferrari?

@DougDeMuro is the author of Plays With Cars and the operator of PlaysWithCars.com. He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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275 Comments on “Are Midsize Coupes Dead and Buried?...”


  • avatar
    cargogh

    I saw one of those once.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      That they built it with a FWD platform, killed a lot of interest by enthusiasts who are steeped in the 240 cult.

      The price when compared to V-6 Ponies and the Genesis coupe, also had to be a big factor. But, I see a fair number of the Altima Coupes in the NW.

    • 0 avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      I *rode* in one of those once.

      (It was a rental.)

      As an appliance, it would have been better with four doors; as a coupe, it was an appliance.

      I imagine that’s what killed it off – the Accord at least offers the pretense of sportiness, however limited.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    All I can think of is that it is a niche market, and that means lackluster resale value. That explains why the pricey European midsize, even full size, coupes are thriving. The rich can afford not to care about resale value.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Dead? Maybe. Buried – No.
    My city seems to be infested by an inordinate number of undead Toyota Solaras. Whenever I’m enjoying a drive with the top down, a Solara will invariably start wagging it’s ugly-ass ass in my face.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I actually know of a family with two Solara coupe convertibles.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, but then… Toyota cancelled it. I thought that was one of the strangest decisions. I used to see those EVERYWHERE!

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        IIRC Toyota replaced (in a loose sense – but this was from their press-release) the Solara’s spot in its lineup with the Venza. Not sure in what sense they meant. Maybe they capped the number of Camry platform cars internally at 75. 76 was just one too many.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      They might have been glorified two door Camry convertibles, but to Toyota’s credit they actually made a whole bunch of TRD parts for the Solaras that made real attempts to make it a somewhat sporty convertible, replete with supercharger for the V6 (which gave it a pretty ridiculous amount of power for that time…about 270HP with 270lb/ft of torque), full coilovers, etc. Of course nobody buying Solaras actually cared and you got reviews like this: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2001-07-05/news/0107040453_1_solara-convertible-toyota-pothole

      Frankly I miss the days when Toyota would stock a full slew of warranty-backed TRD parts, now even the BRZ and FRS don’t get a supercharger. The heck?

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Here’s your answer in three words: FIXED BACK WINDOWS.

    My apologies to commenter Syke…

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      OK, so you bring up one of the reasons they should be selling well. Now, why are they failing?

      In the case of the Altima, part of the problem (according to reviews I have read) is that its the 2010’s equivalent of a 1960’s Chevy Impala 2-door hardtop with a stovebolt six and Powerglide. All looks, nothing to back it up.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    One of TTAC’s low moments was when it gave a 5-star review to this car.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/01/2008-nissan-altima-coupe-35se-review/

  • avatar
    mike978

    Honda does it because the Accord is a great car.

    I am surprised that Nissan is dropping out because they are the only manufacturer in the US to compete in every segment. Even with competing in every segment they still sell less than several other companies.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed. Possibly because so many of their entrants into these segments are so bizarre…

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        And because they compete in segments in which there is only one vehicle, e.g., the “small crossover that looks like a frog” segment and the “midsize SUV with a full soft top convertible, two rear windows, and a $43,000 base price” segment.

        • 0 avatar

          Haha. Yes. When you are the only entrant, that makes it easier to touch every base.

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          The video review from TTAC’s excellent Alex Dykes actually changed my opinion from negative to positive, on the Juke.

          Sure, it has odd looks, but there are only a handful of vehicles this size: the Mini Countryman, Kia Soul and upcoming Fiat 500L come to mind. That said, the Juke has a gem of an engine and great driving dynamics with a not terrible pricetag, so it’s great for what it offers.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddie

      If Honda did drop the Accord coupe, I wonder if they’d let me get the V6 and a stick in the sedan. I prefer a four door, but the V6/stick combo is only available in the coupe.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    For some reason, Honda has a history of keeping dying models on life support for, like, 2-3 years too long:

    Ridgeline
    Element
    del Sol
    S2000
    NSX
    current Insight
    CRZ

    Maybe they just really want to exhaust every last cent they planned on getting out of the tooling. I’m sure the timing of the current coupe launch was kind of in this gray area of “mehhhh, should we launch it or not?” I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the last Accord Coupe for a while.

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      In some cases I think it’s not wanting to admit a mistake, pay off tooling, keep lines running until new product is ready, etc.. But in other cases there is a solid financial argument to continue vehicles.

      For example the Element. Honda was sitting on some consumer feedback from Element owners that they loved Elements first. If they stopped producing them, they weren’t going to buy CR-Vs, they were going to go look for the car most like an Element from whatever manufacturer made them. (Of course if they couldn’t find any they might give up and buy that CR-V)

      • 0 avatar
        strafer

        Honda really messed up by dropping the Element instead of making the same improvements as CR-V.
        I own the first year model, and the latest version is pretty much the same with minor cosmetic difference (besides the addition of 5 sp AT, but mine is MT).

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      In defense of Honda, save Ridgeline (which was never a good idea) those are the kind of models that impress me. Civic and Accord while good or bad at what they are designed to do feel very much like a malaise to me.

  • avatar
    morbo

    I miss my ’96 T-Bird.

    What about the Genesis coupe?

    I’d also argue that the upsizing in ‘compact’ cars now makes them mid-size. What used to be the Sebring/GrandAm/MX-6/Solara/Accord/Altima coupe arena is now CivicSI/Focus/ScionTC/Kia Forte territory, with the Accord coupe, Genesis coupe, and Challenger soldiering on in affordable large coupe niche.

    • 0 avatar

      I would say the Genesis Coupe, by being rear drive, doesn’t really work in this segment. Same goes for the Mustang. When you’re pitching to performance people, you’re in a different place than the Altima Coupes and Accord Coupes of this world.

      • 0 avatar
        Kamaka

        I disagree, the Genesis Coupe and Mustang V6 are around $25-30k same as the Alitma Coupes. I think the RWD coupes can capture both the image of performance and image of sporty but the Altima Coupe will only be sporty. Add the popular “coupe for people who want to know what driving blind is” Camaro and you have a dying Altima Coupe.

        I think it was really Nissan’s advertising that kills it:
        The Nissan Altima Coupe:
        1. The fastest way to say I couldn’t afford the Infiniti.
        2. Still smaller inside than the Accord and Civic Coupe.
        3. Could’ve had a 350Z, could’ve used protection.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          haha…

          But I disagree I don’t believe muscle cars can fit in, an entirely different person is going to buy a muscle car then one who buys these coupes.

          Edit: Or maybe I just didn’t understand you.

          • 0 avatar
            Kamaka

            Put it this way guys will buy Muscle Cars and Muscle Cars only. Chicks will buy it if it has 2 doors. But now Chicks will buy it if its an SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            This Is Dawg

            @Kamaka (It won’t let me reply to you?)

            You can’t lump everyone like that. I happen to like how the altima coupe looks, and would never consider a muscle car. Of course, I ended up in a new Mazda6 so what do I know about what men like.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        “I would say the Genesis Coupe, by being rear drive, doesn’t really work in this segment. Same goes for the Mustang. When you’re pitching to performance people, you’re in a different place than the Altima Coupes and Accord Coupes of this world.”

        I really don’t think that’s true at all of rear wheel drive. People that are buying V6 Camaros and Challengers are not buying them for performance. Otherwise they would buy a Genesis Coupe 2.0T or Mustang V6. They are buying them for looks and the coupe bodystyle. And the Camaro and Challenger both look much better than an Accord or Altima coupe. Being RWD allows them to have a proper long-hood, cab-rearward coupe bodystyle. Certain car people stigmatize the Mustang/Camaro/Challenger so much that they don’t realize that open minded car people actually cross shop the Mustang and Genesis Coupe, or that non-car people go into Chevy dealers and say, holy f*ck, I can get the car from The Transformers for $23K? Less than the Altima Coupe I just saw at the Nissan dealership (that in my subconscious was poorly proportioned, particularly the front overhang)? Sold.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Reg; “V6 Camaros and Challengers are not buying them for performance.”

          While I agree with that comment on the Challenger, I don’t agree on the Camaro V-6.

          During track days this Summer, there were, consistently, several newer base model 5th Gen V-6 Camaros in the paddock and on the track. I have seen, rarely, only a few V-6 Mustangs, and I don’t think I have seen one this year. I, for sure, have not done a safety inspection on one.

          We have had a few V-6 Mustangs in the shop for suspension upgrades for track work, though, no Camaro’s. But, we have had inquiries on what to do to them and where too source suspension parts.

          Right with you on the Genesis 2.0T ‘Track’ coupe, though, again, I have never seen one during a track day.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            “During track days this Summer, there were, consistently, several newer base model 5th Gen V-6 Camaros in the paddock and on the track.”

            I believe it, despite the weight it is a serious car. And in Imperial Blue with the black steelies it looks absolutely menacing.

        • 0 avatar

          I guess my point is that the type of person buying a Challenger or a Camaro is probably a lot different from the type of person who buys an Accord Coupe or an Altima Coupe. Wouldn’t you say? And it’s probably for the exact reason you state – appearance.

          I DO think people are buying the Genesis Coupe for performance. Those are people who turned down cars with way more cachet to pick one that is specifically fast and a bit underground.

          • 0 avatar
            racer-esq.

            “I guess my point is that the type of person buying a Challenger or a Camaro is probably a lot different from the type of person who buys an Accord Coupe or an Altima Coupe.”

            I would not be surprised at all if a lot of the people who would have bought and Accord or Altima coupe decided to get a Camaro instead. I think a pretty broad consensus could be formed that the Camaro looks better than either. And I see the current Camaro being driven by parked and parked places that completely defy our enthusiast F-body stereotypes. Not buffets but real fancified sit-down type establishments.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            I disagree about people buying Challengers & Camaros for the coupe “appearance.”

            This is a case where you need to think like real people in the real world, not internet car-guys.

            People buy Camaros because Bumblebee. (Hell, Chevy *makes* the Camaro because Bumblebee.) I have no idea why people buy Challengers. But I think in both cases, it’s because people like muscle cars (which is not the same thing as “coupe,” after all, isn’t that what drives Charger sales?). Frankly, it’s exactly why people bought Hummers. They like the appearance of being strong; they are indifferent to two-door / RWD.

            Now look at the accord & Altima coupes. Do they look “strong”? Of course not. And they don’t look “sporty,” either. They look like a family sedan, but a little off. One of my close friends bought an Accord coupe. Why did he get it? So friends wouldn’t ask him for rides. He’d point to the doors and say: “It’s too hard to get in & out. Go with someone else.”

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          RWD cars with the lack of torque steer just feel better in every day use. You can feel the torque steer on an aggressive left turn – something you might do every single day.

          This idea that RWD only shows its benefits on the track is just nonsense. RWD is just a more pleasurable layout. The people who buy RWD cars understand this and do not live in the snow belt.. (Or do and don’t mind changing tires/wheels in the winter).

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Looking at both sets of cars (two and four door Altima and Accord), in my opinion, it’s apples and oranges. Side by side the Altima coupe seems like what the two door Chevy Biscayne business coupe was to the Impala sedan. It may not be, but it looks like the cheapest, barebones way to afford an Altima. Honda, on the other hand, has outfitted the Accord coupe to look upscale, dare say sporty, as if to say, ‘ no, we can’t offer another Prelude, but have you seen our Accord coupe?’The very last version Accord coupe was even available as a V6 six-speed manual. One of my friends bought one, and it didn’t drive half bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if Honda kept making coupes, with fewer rivals to siphon off sales.

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      “I miss my ’96 T-Bird.”

      My first car was an ’86 T-Bird, so I feel your pain.

      “I’d also argue that the upsizing in ‘compact’ cars now makes them mid-size. What used to be the Sebring/GrandAm/MX-6/Solara/Accord/Altima coupe arena is now CivicSI/Focus/ScionTC/Kia Forte territory…”

      I’ve always preferred coupes. About four years ago, when I was ready to trade out of my 2000 Escort ZX2, I visited the Honda stealership first. The Civic Coupe looked attractive enough, but it didn’t have enough interior space and the seats were set so low to the ground that I worried I might require a forklift to hoist my elderly father in and out of the vehicle whenever I took him to his doctor appointments.

      So I checked out the Accord Coupe instead, but it was WAY more expensive and felt a little bigger/heavier than what I was looking for. Eventually, I found a good deal on a used ’08 Ford Focus coupe which seemed to do a decent job of splitting the difference between the two Hondas I had been considering for a much lower asking price than either.

      I suspect that the average front-wheel drive coupe customer these days might share a similar outlook. While there aren’t as many choices available as there used to be, most of the two-door models based on humble econobox sedans (such as the Hyundai Elantra coupe and the other ones you mentioned) provide adequate front seat passenger/cargo space, return solid gas mileage figures, and more or less meet similar perceptions of the implied sportiness as the Honda Accord/Nissan Altima/Chevy Monte Carlo class of vehicles for a lower cost of entry.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        Reg; “Accord Coupe_ “heavier than what I was looking for” And you can add ‘Handles like and overweight Pig with sore feet’ Truly awful handling in any attempt at going fast in a corner.

      • 0 avatar
        sixt5cuda

        I checked out the Civic Coupe and the Kia Koup. I don’t mind the seat being close to the floor, but at my height, the seat bottoms just weren’t long enough.

        Wandered over to the third choice, checked out the 2010 Ford Focus Coupe. Once I convinced the dealer to locate one with a dark interior, I bought it.

        Ford promptly got out of the FWD coupe business at the end of the 2010 model year.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Y’know given their size, I’d say Mustang, Camaro and definitely Challenger have partially filled the mid-sized coupe role.

      That’s my theory at least when it comes to why these cars have gained size and consequently mass. People love to point out that it’s corpulent ‘mhurica as to the reason they have gained in size but having a Mustang that splits the difference between the previous car and the old T-bird coupe might have allowed Ford to snag some extra sales.

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      I think that the segment is dying because 4 doors have gotten more sporty. Basically, there’s a set amount of people who want something sort of but not really sporty. Back even a decade ago normal sedans weren’t trying so hard to be cool. Nowadays even the Camry is trying to be hip, and even Buick and Lexus are trying to look cool. As a result those vaguely sporty people are choosing to buy vaguely sporty four doors instead of bothering with a two door

  • avatar
    cargogh

    Last week a brown Accord coupe was at the parking lot of Costco in Louisville. Somehow the taillights appeared less ginormous and better. I thought I saw three other ones on the road, but at second glance all were new C Class Coupes. Guess Mercedes is taking up the slack.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I was passed by a brand new Accord Coupe the other day, with the narrower horizontal tailights. It was also in the metallic brown. i thought it looked quite good. in spite of the silly vertical reflectors in the bumper.

  • avatar
    ggbox69

    I think looking back 20-25 years, the coupes simply looked cleaner than the sedan versions. Generally at that time, the doors, gaps, windows, trim, handles, and moldings were far more prominent, abrupt and awkwardly integrated. The coupe offered you relief from 4 doors of busy design.

    In the mid 90’s sedan design cleaned up, shapes were smoother and blended better, but overall the cars were kind of slab sided. A coupe gave you a break from the bar of soap shape.

    Now four door midsize cars are sleek, but offer a lot visually. You get interesting body lines, complex curves and depth. They kind of do it all, a coupe isn’t the breath of fresh air it used to be.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      This. But not just looks; performance as well.

      If you said four door sedan in the 1970s, you mostly thought of cars like the impala, LTD, and Fury. Even with the police packages, they were large, lumbering cars.

      Then, the 1980s brought us the sports sedan. We then began to see four door sedans like the Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth and Taurus SHO and the AMG Hammer. The could perform every bit as well as a coupe; erasing the performance advantage.

      Coupes look nice, but their large doors are clunky; and climbing in the back seat of one is no fun. The smaller Japanese offerings hung in a little longer; but the end was in sight when Ford dropped the Thunderbird and replaced the NASCAR body style with the Taurus in 1995. GM hung in for awhile longer, but Chrysler had already dropped the Coroda/Miranda/Imperial in 1983, the LeBaron coupe also survived till 1995. (EDIT: Forgot about the Sebring coupe; which lasted till 2005.)

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      Another factor may be a change in what people perceive as being sporty, youthful and individualistic. In past decades people who wanted to project this image bought coupes and convertibles. Today they buy pickups, SUVs and CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Bingo. The coupe will die on the day the last boomer kicks the bucket.

      • 0 avatar

        Very good point.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Well, coupes and “sport sedans” were designed to be just that. A four-door was clearly down-market if it wasn’t a hardtop and a design afterthought.

        Nowadays, cars are designed as four-doors and they can look very sporty and stylish even they aren’t “sporty” in the driving dynamic.

      • 0 avatar
        morbo

        I disagree on only the boomers wanting coupes. I’m a child of the 80’s, raised on domestic cars. Sporty for me meant Michael Knight’s Trans Am, Bumblebee, Turbo Birds (Fox boxy T-Birds), Z71 Blazers, Typhoons, and late 80’s Monte Carlo’s. Luxury was mid 80’s Town Cars, Late 80’s Coupe and Sedan DeVille’s, and Early 90’s Mark VIIs.

        For my friends raised on ‘furrin cars, Sporty is CRX’s, MX-7s, VR4 Mitsu’s. Luxury was Acura Legend, BMW (any), Mercedes (any). Ultimate sport and luxury was the NSX.

        It’s all cyclical, we have the retro Mustang and Challenegr for Boomer’s wanting one last hurrah from their youth. I drive a 300C because my youthful lust of Caprices and Town Cars and Imperials and was left unsated by the Taurus or wrong wheel drive Impala.

        My friends drive Acura TLs and GLs for similar lusting of the Legends and Beemers of days past.

        Today’s kids have the Genesis (sedan and coupe), Denali (Yukon and Suburban), Bumblebee Camaro, CTS-V, BMW (any), and RS6 to lust after. 20-30 years from now the auto industry will give today’s kids the 2040 variants of these cars they wanted but were too young to get. Just like today’s boomers get the retro Mustang and Challenger and I’m expecting a proper Coupe DeVille or Mark IX in about 10 years.

        • 0 avatar
          3Deuce27

          Not Just Boomers_

          Whenever I pick up the odd 3-series coupe or ‘G’ coupe to flip, my e-mail box, is flooded with inquiries. When I contact those inquiring, most, I would say, are from 18-32 for the BMW and 30 – 50 for the G’s.

          Recently I put up a pristine 91′ 318i coupe and nearly all of the inquiries were from men about 35 to 60.

          There certainly seems to be a lot of interest in coupes from all age groups, and it depends a lot on what they wanted back in their day. I always hear the same story… ‘Really wanted _ _ _ when I was _ _ _. The coupes never last more then a day or two after posting on ‘CL’.

          With the rare sedan posting, nearly all inquiries are from younger women(18 28), though, on occasion, one will be interested in a coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      ggbox69

      I agree that performance and perception used to play a part too. Whatever section of those demographics these coupes used to occupy has become too diluted.

      Modern sedans have converged on the average of all car needs, CUV’s have converged on the average of all SUV needs. Many people are happy to fall into these averages, those who aren’t probably want to stray far. The coupes are caught in between the average and the alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      celebrity208

      I think you’re onto something. The best example I can think of is the Corsica/Beretta. The Corsica was gawd awful ugly but when I see a clean Beretta, especially a z26, on the road today I wish I would have bought one (you know, to cruise around NEO blaring my Vanilla Ice tape with house speakers wired up i the trunk).

  • avatar

    The current Accord Coupe doesn’t hit the same spot as the new sedan does. Is the sedan still a conservative machine? Yes. But it’s still dynamically sound and far better than the model it replaced.

    Go to the coupe version of the Accord, both last gen and current, and it’s a different story. The last coupe (before the puffy Crosstour cheeks of 2011) was a smoother design, while this new one brings out overhangs and introduced the cellulite that is modern bumper reflectors. Dynamics and power are still there, but it didn’t improve nearly as much aesthetically as the new sedan. A lot of enthusiast friends of mine agree they’d have the Accord Sports over the coupes.

  • avatar
    igve2shtz

    If you were able to see the stats on where the 2 door Altimas were bought, I am positive that 99% of them were purchased by New Yorkers (or the New Jersey residents who say they are from New York). I can’t drive to the corner market without seeing 3 of these cars. To make matters worse, my girlfriend loved them … right up until she rented one. The thing was atrocious. First, she had to pay the “sporty car” premium at the rental desk, but then, found that even though it is a mid-size, and the website says it fits 4 people and luggage for a weekend, they forgot to mention the big fat “OR” statement. The back seat was unhabitable (even with the driver seat fitted for her small 5’1 frame) and the trunk barely fit her weekends worth of luggage. The car with 4000 miles on the odometer was highly abused and downright unpleasant to drive. Fare Well Altima.

    • 0 avatar
      dts187

      I was going to say the same thing about where I live in WV. This place is littered with Altima and Accord coupes. They’re the go-to car for middle income women who want something “sporty”.

      • 0 avatar

        Honestly, I’m surprised about how many I see in Atlanta!!!

        Now the question is: Why the hell did they cancel it?!?!

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Here in La Jolla, I don’t see many Altima Coupes, but there are still lots of Camry Solaras on the road. Many of them are convertibles. They’re driven by women of a wide range of ages. There are also quite a few Accord Coupes doing hard commuter miles every morning. I probably see at least one for every 500 Priuses I pass. Our freeways are remarkably crummy, and I’ve talked to quite a few people that owned cars that enthusiast rags rave about for very short periods of time as a result of the ride quality losing its novelty after less than a week.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You live in La Jolla?

            A long-time commenter named Dundett also lives there. Retired corporate exec. I believe he said he lived on Neptune in the older part of La Jolla, near the beach.

            He had bought a 2009 Tundra and was very helpful before I bought my 2011.

            I haven’t seen any comments by him on any of the automotive sites we used to frequent.

            Maybe he just got tired of all the trolls and know-it-alls. Too bad. He was a good egg.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Coupes, those in the midsize/midmarket segment in particular, are an endangered species for sure. The market for coupes in general is shrinking and increasingly the only ones who can really and truly afford them are more affluent – in which case they’re looking at a BMW 4, 6, Audi A5 or Merc. For real driving cars, we’re talking Porsches – but again, nothing here is going to be classed as ‘midmarket’.

    For the rest, the market boils down to those who can afford two cars or those who can get by with just a coupe.

    If you can afford two cars, chances are good that one will be a practical four door or truck, the other will be something more fun like a Beetle Convertible, Mini, Mustang or Camaro.

    So, back to the midsize coupes: sure there are a few out there, but likely nowhere near the number necessary to support their continued development and sale.

    I owned a coupe once, for about a year. It was an ’04 R32 and it was fantastic. But then I bought a house, needed to haul a lot of things around and also started carrying things like dogs and additional passengers, so for as brilliant as the R32 was, it had to go in lieu of a 4-door.

    I miss that R32, but I also don’t see myself owning another coupe unless it were a second car. Trust me, when I’m in the position to afford such a luxury, you can be sure it WON’T be an Altima or Accord coupe.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Sad that manufactures are eliminating models to economize. One day we will be wondering why we are all driving the same car.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    Easy. The Accord coupe is good looking and let’s the ladies know you’re single. The Altima just proves you’re clueless.

  • avatar

    I guess the real question is: why would I buy a car that large if all I wanted was two doors and fixed windows in the back???

    Honda fills a niche: it is the only company that makes a coupe this large with a V6 at a price below $30,000.

    It is pretty attractive. The only thing from Honda I’d ever even consider buying… including everything made by Acura.

  • avatar

    My guess is that it is the economy and the overall blandness of these cars that is killing them. First, most young people who would be the prime demo for these cars can’t afford new cars and, second, the ones who can can probably afford the better optioned, higher end ones – why buy an Altima coupe when you can get an Infiniti G coupe that has a lot more base options on it and gets a lot more looks?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Related to this, if young people were a major demographic maybe they have moved in the past 10 years to compact hatchbacks like the Focus, Golf and 3. Cars that were not around 10 years ago.

    • 0 avatar

      Ironically Nissan is phasing out G37 in favor of Q50, which is quite ways bigger, Accord-sized almost. Altima by contrast isn’t so bad, it’s just that the sport market for it is nil. Anyone who wants a downhiller coupe can just buy Scion tC.

  • avatar
    nutbags

    Nissan already makes a great midsize coupe – the Infiniti G coupe mentioned by T.K. above (beat me to it). I think Nissan tried to pawn this off as a low cost alternative to the G coupe.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Because giant carseat.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      There’s nothing like a giant carseat to make you appreciate the sliding rear doors on a minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I have to crumple up my 6’5″ 225 lbs frame to get my daughter out of my Focus. I am practicing a contortionist act for Cirque du Soleil. Once we have another child, I will be ready for the Vegas stage.

  • avatar
    Kamaka

    Now found in the North America the Midsize FWD Coupe has a new enemy competing for the same homo sapiens, the Practically Impractical SUV. The new genus PIS are made up of Jukes, Encores, Evoques, and X6s. The new PIS are just as small inside, just as hard to see out of, and just a blingy but they have a deadly new weapon height. Where in previous years the lower COG has allowed the MFC to handle better, the PIS has additional height making the North American homo sapiens feel safer inside and less insecure. Homo sapiens now flock to PIVs much more than the ancient MFC and thus it is attracting less and less occupants.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I miss the Buick LeSabre coupe, complete with flip forward hood.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      IIRC, the four-door LeSabre, Park Avenue, and Olds 88/98 of that era also had the flip forward hood. Not sure about the Pontiac Bonneville. I can’t imagine having to perform any substantive underhood work on one of those.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        No doubt but the coooooolness factor!!!

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I just remembered. I believe the flip forward hood was on both 2 and 4 door Lesabres. We had an 88 Delta 88 growing up, and it had a rear hinged hood.

        So I am guessing it was a Buick thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Buick thing. I had an ’86 LeSabre “T”-type and absolutely loved it. Would probably still be driving if a young lady hadn’t tried to cross the road in front of me in her Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The Lesbare and Electra had the front hinged hood. The Pontiac and Olds models had a traditional hood. The Bonneville was also the only one to not be available as a coupe.

        Working on my Bonevilles was easier than on my Electra, but it’s not impossible on the Buick. Plus, LN3s don’t break much in the first place.

        At this point, having owned so many, I guess I’m an enthusiast of the first-gen FWD H and C bodies. They were a very interesting transitional car in the history of GM and the tip of the sword for the 3800.

        Too bad not many people seem to care for them these days- most of the ones I see are beaters. Guess it keeps the prices down for me though.

        And, I’d be all over a Lesabre T-type or Olds Touring Sedan if I could find one.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I would too trouble is they barely exist (at least in these parts).

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I care!

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          @ajla

          Funny story about the Touring Sedan. A few years ago my dad really wanted an Olds 98 Touring Sedan. He scoured the Canadian Prairies to no avail, and then expanded his search to the south. He and my mom flew to Akron Ohio and drove back a mostly fully loaded white 1992 98 Supercharged Touring Sedan (lacking only the trunk closer and heated windshield). It is his summer car and spends Winnipeg’s harsh winters covered in the garage.

          I grew up on a 92 LeSabre, 88 Delta 88, and my dad currently drives a 97 LSS and his Touring. As we discussed in Sajeev’s engine thread yesterday, there are a number of us who love our 3800s! :)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I liked the last Ninety Eight, if one became available to me I’d snap it up.

          • 0 avatar
            mies

            I’d be up for some 3800 love :) I had a ’92, ’04, and ’05 LeSabre. I miss the cheap horsepower and low end torque days of the 3800. They were great for highway cruising. I routinely got 35 MPG on road trips with those cars.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I looked this up for you, since I recalled it.

          http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1989-Oldsmobile-Regency-Touring-Sedan-/290939036334?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item43bd5162ae

          Been for sale for a while. It’ll get relisted.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nice Olds porn, thx for the link. Personally I don’t care if its 1 of 10 made, $8K is a little high with 77K OTC, tip top clean or not (museum grade example mayyyyybe). 5ish I might bite.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I agree, which is why he ain’t done sold it in a while. You can message him and offer him something! Dunno how far TN is for you.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            PA here so kinda far but not across the country. Trouble for me is with a car that nice you have to “home” for it, which I really don’t have in the apt bldg.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            $2400 in NC…

            http://www.carsforsale.com/used_cars_for_sale/1989_Oldsmobile_Ninety+Eight_187733725_33

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    I think the author needs to define what he means by Coupe. Is it FWD only?

    If so, why is this an important distinction?

    As pointed out by others, you can get a V6 Mustang (Camaro or BRZ) for the same price and better driving characteristics and “presence”

    From Merriam-Webster
    -the bearing, carriage, or air of a person; especially: stately or distinguished bearing;
    -a noteworthy quality of poise and effectiveness <the actor's commanding presence;
    -something (as a spirit) felt or believed to be present

    The Coupe is not dead. Long live the Coupe!

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      Big difference: these coupes based on midsized FWD sedans have reasonably comfortable back seats.

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        Ok, so that’s the key ingredient? “reasonably comfortable back seats.”

        Then I say get the 4 door and make it easy to get in and out of as well.

        Or better yet, just get the minivan. The rear seats are very comfortable. Gas mileage isn’t that bad and you can haul all kinds of stuff to boot.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m 5’10 and 200lb, probably about 80% of the sedans I have been in have been crampt in the backseat. Heck I think my Grand Prix’s backseat is only adequate at best and its one of the bigger cars out there. Virtually every C or B segment car I see today is too entirely small to comfortably fit four people, none of them should even be sedans, just coupes and hatches. The Ds really don’t look to be any better, just barely there.

          The only two sedans that I thought were spacious for rear passengers were the 2001 Camry I rode to lunch in a few times and the 2009 Pontiac G8 my co worker bought (which is about the best sedan you can buy for rear passengers, hence its cancellation). I haven’t ridden as a rear passenger in the new Camry (2007+), Accord, or Fusion so they may have improved.

        • 0 avatar

          Agree with your point on ‘get the 4 door and make it easy to get in and out of.’ But that returns us to the question of why weren’t people doing just that 10 years ago, when this segment was so popular?

          • 0 avatar
            gmichaelj

            Well, I don’t know. I wonder if it could be that 2 doors had more style. And/Or if people are now buying the car they really wanted some years ago (I’ll call them “throwback shoppers” – I really wanted a Buick Regal in 87, now I’ll buy this 2003 2-door GrandAm. Perhaps today’s slicker/smoother 4 door styles make the 2 door Relatively less attractive.

  • avatar

    While there were a lot of models of mid-sized coupes, most of them didn’t sell all that well (at least in my area).

    I also suspect that many of the people who bought coupes (presumably singles or childless couples) are now buying pickups or SUV’s, which are more practical and still “cool” enough for them.

  • avatar
    Monty

    In between some tasks at work, I extensively researched this topic. the results were staggering, to say the least. In fact, if it were an equation, it would appear as such: mind = blown

    The many polls I conducted indicate that of the three people I asked, two had small children and attempting to load a struggling toddler into its carseat is an impossible task (well, pretty much attempting to do anything with a struggling toddler is an impossible task, but I’ll still mark that as a negative point towards coupes). The third person I asked mentioned the difficulty of transporting four large adults to brunch with only two doors.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    I think that, today, if you buy a mid size car, you want some practical elements. Two doors means you only intend the car for your self and occasionally a passenger.
    That is a bit of a luxury for some, for most?

  • avatar
    carguy

    I think you may be phrasing your question the wrong way.

    Q: Does it make sense to make a coupe from a mid-size FWD family sedan?
    A: Since it combines the thrill of driving a mid-size economy FWD family sedan with the drawbacks of a two doors sports car the answer would be NO

    Q: Does it make sense to make a mid-size performance coupe?
    A: If you design it as a sports coupe with good weight balance, low center of gravity, RWD or AWD and good suspension then YES.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      As the owner of a Grand Am coupe: THIS! Drives just like the sedan, with heavier doors, a back seat that my wiry 5’11’, 160 pound frame can barely contort into, and it ain’t much to look at.

      Regarding the performance coupe, I don’t have a problem with cribbing a decent fwd platform if you give it unique sheet metal and interior (a la the last Cougar), but the swoop-it-up-a-little-and-call-it-good school of coupiness needs to go. I do like the Accord though.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    In the luxury market, segments are getting more and more blurred.

    In the mass market, it’s the opposite: they are getting more and more distinct, and fewer in number, as companies try to minimize production cost.

    So now you get either a midsize FWD sedan with four cylinders and an automatic, or a midsize RWD coupe with (usually) six cylinders and a choice of transmissions. Everything in between has disappeared. Except the Honda Accord coupe. Which I kind of want, but only because the sedan is not available with the V6/manual combo.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    It used to be that the two door was lighter (and therefore faster) and significantly stiffer (so handled better) than the 4 door. While I’m sure that’s still true to a lesser extent, I think maybe modern 4 door cars are sufficiently rigid. Plus there’s just not as much weight savings as you might hope, cars having gained all sort of weight all over.

    The Prelude used to share the Accord platform, but as the Accord bloated up to midsize, at some point the platform outgrew the sporty compact fwd segment, and it was renamed the Accord Coupe. Having no children, I had a 2000 accord coupe, but I really should have tracked down an older Prelude.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You’re oversimplifying. The Accord Coupe first appeared in 1988 and the Prelude didn’t disappear until 2001. During that time they were marketed very differently — the Prelude was marketed as a sophisticated sports car and the Accord was marketed as a slightly sporty, inexpensive coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        Maybe a little. I always assumed the last generation Prelude (1996–2001) was based on the platform of the previous generation Accord (1993–1997). Whereas the Accord Coupe was less differentiated from the Accord, so was able to launch while the Prelude was still around. I could be wrong, but either way, the Accord platform became too big to make sense as any type of two seat sports car, whereas the Accord Coupe still made sense as a budget personal luxury coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        At that time they also offered the Accord hatch or to use old terminology, fastback. Until the MY 90 redesign.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think that coupes in general are becoming niche products. Ford and GM, at least, would rather sell you a higher-profit Mustang or Camaro than a Fusion Coupe or Malibu Coupe. The Challenger is more of a usable coupe than a muscle car, but it’s also quite large and comes saddled with a V6 to boot.

    Still, I suspect that even if the midsized-coupe segment were full of contenders, the Accord Coupe would hold its own.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Because for a few dollars LESS you get direct access to the rear seats in the Altima sedan, which is one of the best-looking, best-selling cars around today.

    Shame, because I’ve always liked the Altima Coupe’s looks.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    “I also learned that the Altima Coupe gets far better gas mileage than the Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG, and it has way more interior room than the Audi TT, and the reason this article is so late today probably relates entirely to the fact that I wasted most of the morning comparing the Nissan Altima Coupe to expensive European luxury cars.”

    Looking at the European coupes as a substitute was a mistake, you should have looked at the following:

    Ford Mustang
    Chevrolet Camaro
    Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ
    Hyundai Genesis Coupe
    Dodge Challenger

    I think/hope/want to believe these are the coupes that people are buying instead of an Altima Coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers sell quite well around here, both V6 and V8 versions.

      I think the people who had Bandit Trans-Ams in the 70s or IROCs in the 80s grew up to have kids who buy the closest modern equivalent.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I think that people who want either good looking coupes or RWD performance cars for under $25K, and without German BS, are buying those cars, regardless of their parents.

        The Camaro is a two door version of the Holden Commodore, which many consider to be an Australian BMW 5 series. The Challenger is a two door Chrysler 300. The Genesis Coupe is a BMW 3 (now 4) series coupe, except better in every way. The FR-S/BRZ is a brilliant Miata for people that do not fit in a Miata. The Mustang is basically a Lincoln LS coupe, except with a live rear axle with watts linkage instead of IRS.

    • 0 avatar

      Haha yes – I was largely kidding. Presumably no one cross shops an Altima Coupe and an S65 AMG :)

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    It would be nice if more companies offered non-pony car RWD coupes.

    What if I want something with more space than a Mustang? I have to buy a BMW?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Challenger is pretty large. I wouldn’t consider it a ponycar.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Yes. Sales of midsize coupes aren’t high enough to attract anyone but luxury makers who can charge a premium.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        But BMWs are associated with d-bags and I don’t want to be a d-bag…

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          LOL…don’t be a slave to conventional wisdom, especially when it’s something as silly as an association with a particular car or car brand. You’ll miss out on some great cars with that warped way of thinking.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick_515

            I agree. Also, not looking and behaving the part of a d-bag goes a long way to not being seen as one. Though there’s no denying that people will be watching if you’re one when you drive a BMW more so than, say, a comparable Audi, let alone Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Only if you are not aware of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. The BMW 328i Coupe and Hyundai Genesis Coupe weigh exactly the same, but the Hyundai is better in every other measure – power, torque, fuel economy, wheelbase (smoother ride), warranty, comparable interior room, four out of six listed interior measurements, price. And Baruth loves it.

      http://autos.msn.com/research/compare/default.aspx?c=0&i=0&ph1=t0&ph2=t0&tb=0&dt=0&v=t115357&v=t117324

      You do not have to buy (or lease) a BMW.

  • avatar
    redliner

    The accord coupe is a pretty good car for the price. I see quite a few of those. The Nissan… not so much.

    Also. HOLY SMOKES! The accord coupe is 189.2 in long. That’s the same length as a Camry. Seems like a pretty big coupe to me. The only way to get bigger is to go luxo-European (6 Series anyone?) or exotic (think Bentley)

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    It’s because this segment is stupid and useless and people are catching on.

    For MORE than the cost of an Altima sedan, one gets less rear seat room for people, cargo, dogs, etc. In addition, the trunk isn’t any bigger than on the sedan. The Coupe doesn’t give one anything except less space.

    I say good riddance.

    • 0 avatar

      And the APPEARANCE of sportiness. A large factor for some!! (Though no one knows why…)

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        I’d wager 99% of non-work vehicle purchases are influenced by vanity. Otherwise wouldn’t we all just be driving one of 3 or 4 car models based entirely on purpose?

        Large family- van
        work related – truck
        small family- sedan

        I mean we can get rid of half the vehicles on the road today if you want to eliminate “stupid” and “useless”. Of course that too, depends entirely on an individual’s definition of “stupid” and “useless.” The person driving the car MIGHT not agree with you.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Definitely, coupes that aren’t true performance cars are all about appearance. They’re generally more attractive (aside from the Altima) to look at. Even in the 70’s when any semblance of performace was gone, large/midsize coupes were some of the most popular cars around. It certainly wasn’t because they were the most useful. Because opera windows.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The traditional buyer for these coupes was a single woman. A lot of single women can’t afford to buy any new car, and those that can tend to buy small SUVs and crossovers these days so they can “sit up high”. The Altima Coupe didn’t do itself any favors with a hideously small trunk.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Since I think the best thing you can do to a sedan is turn it into a wagon/hatchback in terms of what is the best practical and cheap family car for about 25k, to me the idea of taking what I already think is an inopportune use of space (sedan) and making it even less passenger and cargo friendly by chopping off two doors but leaving it as heavy and large as its sedan brother makes zero sense.

    What is the niche market of these cars? People who want to pay more to have a car that drives the same but is less practical?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You forgot the following (going with your timeline of a few years ago.) I don’t think they were priced too high to fit. I’m sure someone will argue with me though.

    Acura CL
    Buick Riviera

    Does the Genesis count as standard-type coupe? (Non V8)

    Thought: I bet almost all non-car people think the Altima Coupe and the G35/37 are the same platform, and that the 350/370Z is by itself.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I bet almost all non-car people think the Altima Coupe and the G35/37 are the same platform, and that the 350/370Z is by itself.”

      You aren’t wrong about that. When I worked for Nissan and brought home an Altima coupe, a few people asked if it was a Nissanified G coupe. My reply was usually something like, “Sure, it just drives the front wheels instead of the rear.” A nicely loaded Altima coupe with the VQ didn’t give up much in performance to the G anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      It was never clear to me why CL went away, but Riviera never recovered in sales after MY95. GM hasn’t been in a position of strength until very recently, so its possible a halo car Riv could pop up at some point but I doubt it will ever go mainstream again. The whole coupe market doesn’t work unless your (1) in a financial position to just enjoy driving (2) have multiple cars or (3) only deal with adult passengers. I think Saturn was on to something with the suicide door coupe its a pity that wasn’t followed up on in a better make/model than Saturn SC/Ion.

      If you are a mfg are going to introduce a coupe I recommend it be shared with a sedan platform for cost savings and have at least a hardtop convertible option. New car buyers like convs and are willing to cough up a premium, so even if the “coupe” buyers market doesn’t take to it you’re guaranteed some niche sales.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I saw a 1998 Riviera Supercharged the other day. It might just be me looking back at my youth, but I still want one. However, I’d rather have the ’65 Riv I keep seeing run up and down Woodward.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It might be noted that ALL Riv’s 98/99 were supercharged. Seeing used ads, people make it sound like it was some special edition/option, and thus can charge a higher price for it.

        Sort of like that Silver Arrow crap, lol.

  • avatar
    DM335

    It is amazing to consider how much the market has changed in the last 25-30 years. The type of buyers who then bought Thunderbirds, Monte Carlos, Cutlass Supremes, Rivieras, Eldorados, etc. now seem to buy SUVs, which were hardly popular then. It seems like there should be a market for 2-door cars, but the hard evidence seems to say otherwise. I’m not sure how the Accord still survives, except that it is a vastly better looking car than the Altima coupes, Solaras and Monte Carlos of the last ten years have been.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Those buyers now buy Hoverounds.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The biggest reason why the market shrank, was because GM dropped the coupes which were all on the same FWD platform. (I’m referring to 90s versions here).

      Monte Carlo
      Grand-Am coupe (I think)
      ElDorado
      Riviera
      Toronado
      Cutlass 2-door
      G6?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Monte = W-body
        Grand Am = N-body
        Eldo/Riv/Toro = E-body (Riv later as G-body)
        Cutlass = W-body
        G6 = Epsilon.

        All of those are long dead save W Impala and Epsilon spawned a sequel, Epsilon II.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        The Grand Am was a N-body, the Monte and Cutlass were W-bodies, Riviera was FWD G-body, Eldorado and Toronado were E platform, G6 was Epsilon.

        But yeah, most of those were gone by about 2003.

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        They were dropped due to shrinking buyers. The ‘look at me’ types have been buying trucks/SUV’s since early 90’s.

        Only buyers for left over 90’s ‘disco coupes’ were old timers and they literally died off.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    All the hair dressers, personal trainers, commerical vacuum bag salesmen and junior engineers need a sporty car. That’s why.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The lack of two-door models is one reason why I don’t buy a modern car. I don’t need four doors–I don’t have any family other than wife and dog, and the dog tends to hop between the seats anyway when we open the front doors to get in or out. I don’t want four doors–it looks too wage-slave and generic and effectively kills any aspect of FUN the car might otherwise have.

    That said, I do own a four-door Jeep Wrangler. Did I buy it because it had four doors? No. I bought it because it was a great all-conditions driver and has decent carrying capacity for bulky items–almost the same as my previous Saturn Vue while adding off-road capability. I also own a pickup truck–two doors, only two since it is almost exclusively a load-getter for things simply too large to fit in the Jeep. Now, if I could somehow remove the back seats from that Jeep and make those extra doors “disappear” (maybe into some of the old hidden door tricks) I would be happier. However, with rumors still out that Jeep will eventually release a Wrangler-based pickup truck, I’ll hold off the customizing for the truck when it comes.

    Meanwhile, I keep my eyes open for a newer two-door car that I’d really like.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I agree, 2 door coupes in general have a much better look than their sedan counterparts. I would have preferre a Challenger over my Charger, however 1. Chrysler doesn’t deal on Challengers as much and 2. The rear door compromise for family as you mentioned.

      Once the kids are out of seats, I may switch over as the back seat in the Challenger is actually usable for someone of my 6’2″ size.

    • 0 avatar
      tallnikita

      Um but there are, like the cars mentioned in this article, tYC, Volvo 30, all of the used market, wrangler, etc etc. you sound indignant but I think you’re just not buying. Which brings us right back to the article

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    Right out of College I bought a barely used 99 Grand Prix GTP coupe. Great car…for what I wanted at the time. I was coming out of a 95 MX-3 (remember those?) so I was not new to the 2 door world. The upside was the 2 door was much cleaner looking/better looking than the 4 door varient of the Grand Prix, and I was young, so what the heck.

    The downsides were huge heavy doors. Friends with smaller 4 door cars were convinced we should always take their car everywhere cause 4 doors means it must be bigger….which is why 4 of us ended up taking an Accent on a camping trip..but I digress. Getting in and out of the rear was a pain, yes-but the GP actually had a decent rear seat. It wasn’t a car to take 4 people in if you were making multiple stops, but it was a good road trip car. The center of the rear seat had a pass through in it, so I could fit 4 people and 4 sets of skis in it comfortably.

  • avatar
    Jesse

    I think Honda does it because it’s one of the only cars in their lineup with a modicum of sporty pretensions (along with the Civic Si).

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Pontiac Grand Prix was available as a coupe until 2003. There was the Ford Thunderbird through 1997.

    You can buy a Cadillac CTS coupe, alas this is a luxury product vs. mainstream and I’m likely blurring the lines of intent in this article.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The fact it was offered as a “Cadillac” (as opposed to a Malibu or Regal Coupe) and made so ugly nearly guarantees its limited sales.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        Agreed. Its front looks like their sedans and its back makes me think Quasimodo everytime I’m behind one. I think the curves of a Regal or last gen Malibu would work much better for a coupe. A quick google search yielded:

        http://www.motorstown.com/images/buick-regal-coupe-07.jpg

  • avatar
    MeatLock

    With the current shape of the mid-size sedan market being so ‘four-door coupe’-like (please don’t hate me for using that awful pr gibberish), potential owners get the style of a coupe with the far superior back seat of a mid-size sedan. The Ford Fusion, Mazda 6, Optima, and even the getting old in its age Hyundai Sonata are all styles like swooping coupes but for the common folk. That said the glaring omission is the Toyota Camry and its horrendous front and rear end ‘styling’, however, confused old people aside, the new Avalon is quite the looker and I believe can be considered a coupe-ish styled full size sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      BINGO! How can a 2-door coupe compete with a 4-door coupe? They both have limited rear headroom, limited rear and side visibility, low seats, and limited rear knee room. If you have a mid-sized 4-door coupe, nobody wants to sit back there, so you don’t have to serve as a free taxi for your in-laws, who are probably fighting too much arthritis, sciatica and back pain to attempt to squeeze through those oddly-shaped rear doors. The wife has to take them in the SUV, so you can drive off to errands in your 4-door coupe without them. And the 4-doors are cheaper to insure!

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        4-dr Coupes! Get some soap and wash your mouth out.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Wait! Meatlock said it first! And he’s not the only one. Here’s a blurb on the new Impala from the San Friasco Chronicle:

          From nose to tail, this latest Impala exudes sleek styling, with a drag coefficient of 0.296 and complex character lines that work together harmoniously. The attractive four-door sedan displays a coupe-like appearance with its curvaceous roofline and blacked-out “B” and “C” pillars.

          Didja notice that “coupe-like appearance” part? If you’ve read newspapers recently, you know that blurb came straight from GM, unedited. The Impala is mid-sized, compared to Murilee’s ’65. The new one is a foot shorter, with 7″ shorter wheelbase, and much narrower than the ’65, 73″ vs. 80″.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            Yes! And Yes!

            But ‘Coupe Like’ is not calling it a coupe… a complete sacrilege on the order of calling a Mustang or a 3-series a ‘Sports car’.

            Now we have the BMW Gran6 coupe or some such nonsense, reminds me of my Dad’s 48′ Pontiac Torpedo 4- dr. sedan.

            Damn, marketeers… and so called automotive ‘journalist’ whores.

      • 0 avatar
        cargogh

        The next thing we’ll know is that Maserati will be bringing back the Ghibli as a four door.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    My first car was an ’87 Monte Carlo SS. It was a nicely sized coupe. I’d routinely pack myself and 4 friends in and go for cruises, long or short. It was a great looking car, far better looking than the stodgy 4 door G-bodies.

  • avatar
    RideTheCliche

    Hyundai Elantra Coupe is new for 2013 isn’t it?

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “I’d like to devote today’s column to the Altima Coupe’s unusual market segment: two-door versions of midsize sedans.”

    “… versions of midsize sedans” being the important part of the “segment”.

    I think that pretty much no buyers of such cars think of them as “coupe based on midsize sedan” rather than “midsize coupe”.

    The midsize coupe is alive and well – as much as it ever was, at least – it’s just not “$Sedan Coupe” anymore.

    People who want a Dodge, for instance, get a Challenger, not a Charger Coupe – but does it make a real difference to anyone? Not really.

    (Also, the Sixth-gen Monte Carlo had no four-door version, did it?)

    • 0 avatar

      Reasonable point, but you have to admit there’s a difference between the kind of guy who buys a Challenger and the kind of guy who buys a Dodge Avenger Coupe. It’s a different buyer with a different set of expectations. Also, the Challenger isn’t midsize by any means.

      Sixth-gen Monte Carlo had the Impala! Very similar on paper… but point taken.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        True.

        (Wait, there *is* an Avenger coupe? But, yeah. They’re not the same size of car, or market. Assuming one exists somewhere, or notionally.

        But Challenger vs. Charger is pretty close, which is why I brought it up.

        Not midsize, I suppose – I can never remember which size is “midsize” these days.)

  • avatar
    afflo

    The disappearance of midsized and compact coupes is saddening – sedan foms almost always have a B-pillar that is too far forward. When I get the seat adjusted comfortably (slide all the way back, and reclined beyond bolt-upright) I wind up with a big pillar next to my head, a cores spending blind spot, and door armrests that are too far forward to be much use. Two-doors have much larger, more useful doors.

    That said, the image of various genres of cars has changed. SUV’s are now the mommy-mobiles (try to order a typical SUV with a manual transmission vs without a make-up mirror!). Kids don’t feel awkward at all driving grocery-getter sedans versions of small cars. Even sporty compacts like the Civic SI and GTI are shipping with kid doors on the back. How long until the Corvette and Mustang are 4-door only? Meanwhile, people with degrees and professional jobs are ok driving around in banjo-strummy agricultural vehicles with manure-boxes on the back.

    The midsized coupe with long doors and a stick shift (or even better, 3-door liftback) is my brown manual diesel wagon, my archaic body-on-frame gangsta-Caprice/Panther. Do we really need 5000 different varieties of bland 4 door sedans with fake stick-shifts and bucket seats and giant consoles?

  • avatar
    Summicron

    A regular cab pickup is the best coupe of all.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Second best. Extended cab pickup is best (with either the suicide-style doors or no doors to the back.)

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        OK, extended cab with no back doors and a sliding back window. Barely ever need A/C.

        • 0 avatar
          84Cressida

          My 94 Toyota Pickup is that configuration. Out here in CA, A/C is a must. And thankfully mine works brilliantly, thanks to the small cab and the fact that I got the good ol’ Ozone burning R12.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            I just couldn’t handle your climate. I would freak out, go to a uniform shop, dress like an appliance guy and con my way into some nice lady’s cool, cool basement where I would slit my wrists over the floor drain.

            Uh… you *do* have basements out there, right?

        • 0 avatar
          Cubista

          And jump seats.

          • 0 avatar
            Summicron

            Good God no!

            Seats attract riders. As in people.

            Coupes, whether attached to a truck bed or a trunk, are about just the two of you.

          • 0 avatar
            Cubista

            That’s why jump seats. They fold for more interior storage space. And about the only useful sized living thing that can fit in one is a lab/shepherd-class dog.

            Totally agree with on the beer window, though. That’s the thing I miss most about the S10 I had in the mid-’90’s.

  • avatar
    yesthatsteve

    For me, the only reason for a coupe based on a FWD mid-sized sedan is that it’s the only way to get a new Accord with the V-6 and a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    These are the people who turned the world on to the 4DSC (four door sports coupe) So, if they want to change the rules and tell us we want a 2DSS (two door sports sedan) then come up with a game changer… this ain’t it

  • avatar
    redrum

    As someone who drove a mid-size coupe for over a decade (’01 Mercury Cougar),

    Pros:
    – Coupe design looks cool.
    – Uh…that’s about it.

    Cons:
    – Rear seat area is difficult to access, either for passengers or when using it for cargo space.
    – Rear head room is compromised by the styling
    – Doors are extra long and heavy, meaning you have to be extra careful when opening it in a parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I think your last point is a good one, not that there is much empirical evidence that people have the sense God gives a possum. There are so many over-landscaped, compact-car-only parking lots in office parks and shopping centers that long doors are a constant liability. I go lots of places where people with full-sized pickup trucks are forced to prowl for street spots or take multiple spaces remotely that I wouldn’t even bother with if I had one.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Coupes seem to be an American activity more than other countries.

    The US will sell bland 2 door vehicles. In Australia most two doors are prestige or sub $15 000 bargain buckets.

    Maybe the US is becoming more like us.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      To be fair, recent coupes have only been as bland as their sedan counterparts. Now with everyone trying to cut costs and standardize globally, some variants have to go. Heck, we can’t even get the Fiesta ST 3-door in the US. Ford doesn’t even make a 3-door Focus.

      Same thing happened to your Aussie RWD sedans. One is dead and the other has an uncertain future.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        In Australia a 2 door worth it’s money seems to be RWD or AWD. The Monaro here wasn’t a big seller.

        The French have a couple of FWD two doors, but I haven’t seen many men driving them. Even the budget 2 door hatch backs things with tiny engines are generally bought by a female or sometimes as a second car for a family along with a CUV/SUV/ute.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    I don’t get the hate for the Altima coupe. I’ve driven the 2.5 model, cloth seats. Dated in that there is no infotainment and all of that other stuff, but a nice car regardless.

    My local Honda dealer still has 3 2012 Accord coupes, pretty much loaded, still rotting on the lot.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Why get the coupe, when the sedan costs less, drives about the same and has the same engine/transmission choices

    Altima coupe isn’t even attractive. It’s like the G35’s ugly twin.

    Plus midsized coupes are huge. Everything has grown. What we would call an Accord coupe in 95 is the Civic coupe now, sizewise. Meanwhile the Accord grew on the outside, but stayed just as cramped inside (with the coupe). And of course the main market for coupes (secretaries) jumped ship to SUVs and $299/mo 328i’s.

  • avatar
    jd418197

    I’ve owned two Acura CL-Ss and loved them both. Current one is a 6-speed, which makes a big difference. It’s no sports car, but 260hp works out just fine and FWD means mountain snow is no problem. Comfortable cruiser on the highway for sure, and 30mpgs usually. But the best part about it, hands down, is that it’s a sleeper. Like the 90s Taurus SHO. I LOVE that people think it’s an Accord with its nose in the air (OK, it is) and that their E90 325i or 2.0 A4 can keep up.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    I got rid of Golf III for 2 door Camry with a stick. It was good but I got tired of wallowing. Civic hatchback was much better after that. Basically with coupe you have inconveniences of a hatch with no benefits of cargo space.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Just for giggles built one online. No V6 option, no manual, and equipped over $33K?!?!? Hyundai Genesis coupe any day of the week for that Cheddar.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    LOL…don’t be a slave to conventional wisdom, especially when it’s something as silly as an association with a particular car or car brand. You’ll miss out on some great cars with that warped way of thinking.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    I have an Audi A5, which is definitely a midsize coupe. As far as I’m concerned, if a car has two doors and is midsize, then it fits into the midsize couple segment. FWD, RWD, AWD, none of this matters….either does price or brand. A midsize coupe is a midsize coupe, even if people don’t necessarily cross shop all of the different midsize coupes available in the marketplace.

    BTW, I’ve also owned several other midsize coupes over the years, including: BMW M3, Acura CL-S, Mazda MX-6 LS, Mustang GT, Eagle Talon Tsi, Toyota Celica. In fact, all my cars have been midsize coupes. The only thing I’ve owned with more than two doors have been my SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      These cars were never classed as ‘mid size’ by the marketplace:
      Mustang, Celica, and Talon.

      They were nearly sub-compact in interior room. Mustang was maybe middie in 1971-73, but no other time

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        I don’t care about classifications that are based upon interior room. Fact of the matter is that all the cars I listed are right around 185″ long, which makes them midsize in exterior dimensions. If I cared about interior space, I’d be buying a 4-door sedan. LOL

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      How can the A5 be midsize with its unusable back seat? I am pretty sure its interior volume would qualify it as a compact.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        You’ve clearly never been in an Audi A5. I’m 6’0″ and fit just fine in the rear. The back seat is VERY useable. My only gripe is the headroom, but that’s due to the sharply sloping roof line in the back. Still though, the headroom is WAAAAY better than a G37 Coupe.

        And yes, the A5 is classified as a midsize car.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          My girl bought herself an A5. I like the car so far..and I drive it a fair amount. But the Challenger backseat is a lot bigger.. :P

          The FWD versions are dying. People buy FWD for practicality over driving feel. So why buy a car that looks good but doesn’t drive well.

          Get the Audi or a RWD car and you get more of the complete package – good looks and good feel.

          If you want practical – get an SUV. The Japanese have cornered the market on reliable and practical. This car makes little sense for them. Its not sporty (like an FRS) and yet its not practical. Its a dead end design.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          The Audi A5 is a subcompact. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byclass/Subcompact_Cars2012.shtml

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Like I said earlier, the EPA uses nothing but interior volume to classify a car as a subcompact, compact, midsize, etc… Sorry, but that means nothing to me. It’s beyond retarded to classify cars that way. Why do I say that? Well, the dimensions of the car itself are more important when it comes to classifying the size of a car. Think about it….

            That said, lots of sources list the A5 as a midsize coupe. A simple google search will yield thousands of them.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’ve thought about it. There is never any point at all to having a 180 inch car instead of a 170 inch car when the 170 inch car is more capable and comfortable because the 180 inch one was packaged by incompetents. “This back seat is useless, I’m tasting my knees and bile.” “You should have bought a car with a bigger front overhang!” I’d love a window into the thought process that suggests a car with no room for people is a midsized car, but only from a safe distance.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            I don’t think anybody buys a car because it is 180 inches long or 170 inches long. LOL, if that’s your criteria for buying a car, then all I can say is that you’re beyond easy to please. I buy a car for a two main reasons: 1- it drives great, and 2- it looks great. Knee room for rear passengers isn’t much of a consideration for me. If I need room for five people, I’ll take my SUV instead of my Audi….no problem.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Forgot to say— that means nothing. The Accord Coupe is a compact car, according to the EPA. And the Altima coupe is a subcompact, according to the EPA. Clearly, we’re not talking about interior volume here, as the two cars pictures in the beginning of the article aren’t even considered midsize cars by the EPA. So simply put, it should be glaringly obvious that the author was talking about midsize cars in the conventional sense, not by interior volume alone.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’d say that the Accord and Altima coupes are entire size classes smaller than the sedans they’re based on is a factor in their low sales volumes. Most people that want a midsized car are looking at them because they need more room than smaller cars offer. These days there are plenty of luxurious compacts for anyone that doesn’t need the space.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I love coupes, I’ve owned a T-bird, Eldorado, Mustang, Cutlass etc
    But I can completely understand automakers ditching them though.

    There seems to be a consumer trend to focus more on pragmatic choices with transportation, to the point people are choosing not to own cars at all. How many single cab trucks do you see nowadays?

    Coupes really make zero sense over their equivalent 4 door sedans except for style. And the coupe “style” is just not there like it was. It seems like 15 years ago or so, a person looked out of place driving a 4 door unless they had passengers in the back.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    My 2011 Accord Coupe was my favorite vehicle EVER, and I’ve had nearly 15 rides since I started driving in the late 90’s. Not a day goes by that I don’t regret selling that car.

    I cross-shopped the Altima coupe. It took me less than 5 minutes to know I wasn’t going to buy that car. The trunk is miserably tiny. The back seats are miserably tiny. For the same displacement V6 as the Honda (pretty much identical HP too), it still required premium gas. You couldn’t even get nav with a stick shift anymore. That car had nothing going for it in 2011, and it never improved. The 2013’s are just leftover 2012’s. All 4 cylinder. All automatic. Nissan just had to get rid of the leftover sheet metal.

    Honda knows what it’s doing (for once!). the Accord is a BIG coupe. I’ve had 2 full adults sit in the back comfortably, and I’ve had 1 adult and 2 children sit back there comfortably. And the trunk is cavernous. Even with my 12″ sub and my amps, I could still pack a weekend’s worth of luggage for 4 in that trunk. And that buttery smooth shifter… that masterful V6… oh man oh man. People ask why the hell anyone would pay 30k for a FWD V6 Honda when you can get a V8 Mustang for the same price… but 10 times out of 10, I would buy the Honda.

    I miss that car so terribly much. 2 more years before I can buy another! Ugh I’m going to lose my mind waiting!

  • avatar
    rolladan

    I think what killed the midsize coupe was price more than anything. Coupes used to be cheaper than their sedan counterparts but nowadays they cost the same or more. It sounds stupid to people with interest in cars but to Joe Schmoe average consumer it’s simple math. For the same money do I want 2 doors or 4 doors. Do I want more car for my money? Especially when it’s the same car? Camaros mustangs and the like succeed because there is no 4 door version of the same car. You give me 10 bucks. I give you a choice…. Medium pizza or extra large? Same price either way. This is how the average non car guy mind works.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “Do I want more car for my money?” That depends on what you consider “more car”.

      I, for one, HATE sedans. They don’t fit the way I feel about myself; they don’t fit the way I drive and to be absolutely blunt, I have never NEEDED a sedan, though in my lifetime I have owned two of them. And maybe that’s why I hate them–they were, in both cases, purchased for me, not BY me. The only 4-door vehicles I’ve purchased are SUVs and both of those were used for load carrying, not passenger carrying. Now that I own a pickup truck, my SUV doesn’t carry any loads any more.

      Will I ever buy a sedan? Not if I can help it. I’d rather buy a Mini or a Fiat 500 before I buy a 4-door car.

      Do I want to get more car for my money? Yes! Give me a 2-door hatchback or Coupe! THAT is more car for my money–not some cramped box with more doors than i will ever need. I don’t necessarily want a Camaro, Mustang or Challenger, but if that’s the only 2-door coupe left on the market, then one of those is what I’ll get. I prefer what the Cutlass, Monte Carlo, Riviera and Continental Mark series were all about; personal luxury and sportiness. Today’s sedans have lost that and can never bring it back as long as all four doors are obvious. A car is a personal choice. I don’t want a generic piece of tin.

      • 0 avatar
        rolladan

        I completely agree with you I was just describing what the average person with zero interest in cars thought process is. Coupes are my personal choice as well.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “I prefer what the Cutlass, Monte Carlo, Riviera and Continental Mark series were all about; personal luxury and sportiness. Today’s sedans have lost that and can never bring it back as long as all four doors are obvious. A car is a personal choice. I don’t want a generic piece of tin.”

        +1000

  • avatar
    99GT4.6

    Not gonna lie I actually like the Accord V6 M6 coupe. It’s the only Honda I would seriously consider getting. (if I had the money for a new car)

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    These are ‘deader than disco’. Local Honda dealer has some Accord 2 doors, and they sit, sit, sit. Back seats are useless for such a big car. And if someone wants a ‘sporty’ car, they get a true sporty car, or a compact.

    Also, manufacturing costs are higher to stock 2 door parts for shrinking market. Not necessarily ‘cheaper’ anymore.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    The car had decent looks but otherwise was a POS in terms of quality and refinement. It always lost comparison tests vs. the Accord Coupe and anything else. It was largely panned by every road test I ever read.

    In response, what did Nissan do to fix its problems? Did they scramble to fix them. Nope, they did absolutely nothing.

    So in part, this story is about Nissan and how it goes about trying to make money.

  • avatar
    CopperCountry

    Great discussion B&B … and I think we’re converging on the answer: it’s the aesthetic appeal of the 2-door that once drew people to them. Think about all of the cars that were truly hideous in their 4-door form: Chevy Nova, GM Collonade, ’70s & ’80s Corolla, just to name a few. To avoid the assault on the senses and appear somewhat hip, one just had to have the 2-door version, or you’d be driving the same car as your Aunt Eleanor. In “American Graffiti,” Milner would’ve looked less cool driving a chopped 4-door Deuce, and Toad would’ve looked even dorkier in a 4-door ’58 Impala. So when a 2-door gave you a quantifiable social and aesthetic benefit, young-ish people sought them out.

    And then came the ’90s, when stylists began to smooth-out the blockiness of the 4-door. They still weren’t quite coupe-ish, but they were getting much better (and they didn’t scream “Aunt Eleanor!” when you saw them on the street.) Now we’re at the point where 4-door sedans (e.g. Audi A4/6, Altima, and CTS) are so reasonably styled, that it’s the 2-door that looks dumb in comparison and is an affront to our senses (I’m looking at your backside, Solara and CTS Coupe.) So if a 2-door no longer has the styling/performance perception benefit, you can’t take your officemates to lunch without creating 8 new door dings on other peoples cars, and you find yourself wondering how you’d ever manage to fit a safety-cocoon car seat in the back, the choice is easy: 4-door it is.

    Performance coupes are another matter. They’ll always live on.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Yeah. Today’s sedans all scream “WAGE SLAVE”! There’s no individuality to them any more. Not a single one says I am who I am and I don’t care who knows! Most SUVs are not much better; it’s getting hard to tell them apart with the limited exceptions of the Nissan Frog-Face or the Jeep Wrangler.

      We’re being turned into robots, where everything is the same and you can’t just be yourself any more.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Perhaps Doug, you should be asking questions about the low sales of everything that’s not an SUV, CUV, or minivan… When sedan sales are much lower as a percentage of the market than they’ve ever been, niche products that are based off of sedan platforms will suffer as a result.

    The reason coupes are dying is that the kind of people who bought coupes now drive extended cab V8 pick ups, which are the modern equivalent of the coupes of yore.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I had a 77 Monte Carlo with swivel buckets for 18 years (my first new car). Beautiful looking and riding car and lots of back seat room, but it had big heavy doors and was awkward to get in and out of when in a parking lot. I do not have any interest in a 2 door and really in any sedan. My wife traded a Taurus for a CRV which is just a lot easier to get in and out of and sits a little higher. Also it is much easier to load things into it. There will always be 2 doors but in the past it was mostly younger people that would buy them and many of younger people are underemployed and buy used. Also the younger generation is not as into cars as the boomers.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Part of it is the expensive of an automobile, but many of the younger generation are into I-phones and the latest electronic handheld gadget. Also usually many that do have cars either buy an old car like a Corolla or a Civic or their parents give them an old hand-me-down or buy them a used car. Eventually many will buy cars but there will not be as much emphasis for most on style or status. Many view them like appliances, they might need a car but it needs to be inexpensive and low maintenance. Most of the people I see driving 2 door coupes, especially specialty cars are middle age men. The auto companies will be in for some big changes as the boomers pass on and the next generations come of age.

  • avatar
    vb9594

    Quick couple of thoughts from someone who bought an Accord Coupe EX V6 stick this past March. After a series of boring sedans I wanted something that looked good, performed reasonably well (I have a Miata for the corners), got good mileage and allowed me to haul my family in comfort. Oh…and I wanted a V6 with a stick.

    Enter the Accord Coupe. People who have driven it will know what I mean by this: It’s like Honda told the engineers who made the Accord sedan “if you do a good job we’ll let you get a little crazy with the coupe.” They did.

    The rig is docile, quiet and composed during regular driving but if you stomp on the gas and run her through the gears she will throw you back in your seat and scream at you the whole way. The exhaust is actually tuned to be louder in the cabin. I think 50% of the reason I bought the car was because of how great it sounded when accelerating.

    Handling is pretty good, and yes, there is torque steer (but not enough to make you think the car is trying to kill you). It’s just a fun, big coupe that looks great and goes like stink, yet allows you to commute in comfort. BTW- I test drove Mustangs and a Challenger (and what I really wanted was a Mustang) but the reality of living in a snowy region, plus the superior day to day liveability of the Accord, is what sealed the deal. The Accord Coupe (particularly the V6 with a stick) is truly in a class by itself (literally and figuratively). It also helped that when I pulled into the driveway with it the first time my 9 year old son and his buddies surrounded the car to tell me “your new car is sick!” Good enough for a 9 year old…good enough for me.

    • 0 avatar
      suspekt

      The Honda J series V6 (especially the Earth Dreams refinements) is truly in a class by itself. Feels more like a turbine then anything else. You will addicted for life to that engine/transmission combination.

      You should try and find some solid billet aluminum shifter bushings for the transmission. It’s a 5 minute install and your shift action will become much tighter (althogh it is already world-class).

      Also, I dont know if you want to do any mods, but the best modification hands down is the exhause pipe (J Pipe) that connects the cast-in headers to the mid-exhaust section. There is easy HP/TQ sitting there and it won’t alter the sounds or NVH characteristics of the car at all.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    My two cents:

    I logged about 100,000 miles on 2 Acura CL’s… 2001 and 2003 model years. The 6 speed manual transmission CL with the J32A2 motor + the right modifications is one of the greatest joys I have ever had in my life of 33 years.

    Back to the Accord Coupe. The Accord Coupe, as far has Honda products are concerned, is really an amalgamation of 3 models:
    1. Honda Prelude
    2. Honda Accord Coupe
    3. Acura Coupe Luxury

    You can’t get a 2 door TL. It is the Accord Coupe.

    I really do think Acura should bring back the CL however it needs to come packing certain hardware:
    –> dynamic design
    –> PAWS and Sport Hybrid drivetrain options

    The Accord Coupe really is a gem. The issues reviews bring up are things easily dealt with in the aftermarket. Suspension stiffness, tire choices, etc….

    And honestly, I really want to hear from people that have drive the 6 speed manual version… it is a SOHC, non-DI delight…. the engine/transmission combo alone is worth the price of entry

    • 0 avatar

      Amen. I LOVE Honda’s single-cam V6, always have – it’s SO SMOOTH and punchy and stays that smooth for hundreds of thousands of miles. Their six-speed transaxle is something special too.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I had a 2011. I went into it from a 2009 Mazda Speed3… there was no comparison. The Mazda never lived up to its numbers on paper, and quality-wise cost-cutting was evident in every aspect of driving it. But all props still go to Honda, because the V6/6MT combo is nothing short of intoxicating.

      I’ll take a V6 over a turbo-4 any day after that experience. No matter what you do to improve a 4-banger, it’s still a 4-banger. Even that said, I’d take a turbo over a VTEC 4-cylinder. The TSX I had never managed to impress me. My sardine-can 2005 Ford Focus 2.3L sitting in the driveway is more satisfying in 1st and 2nd gear.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Don’t make the mistake of basing your opinion of V6 vs turbo 4 on a MazdaSpeed 3. Most modern turbo 4’s are simply amazing. Drive the newest Audi 2.0T or BMW 2.0T and you’ll see what I mean. Those engines are just as smooth as any V6, yet they provide superior low-end torque and return very decent fuel economy.

        • 0 avatar
          CelticPete

          I agree. A modern turbo 4 can be very competitive. They can make peak v6 torque at 1500rpm – and still produce power up in the 6000s.

          I’d add that the old Honda V6 is pretty long in the tooth now. It’s not better then the GM 3.6 DI V6 or the newish Pentastar 3.6 V6.

          These engines are more advanced then the Honda 3.5 SOHC engine. That’s was a good engine 10 years ago. The competition has more then caught up.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            “A modern turbo 4 can be very competitive. They can make peak v6 torque at 1500rpm – and still produce power up in the 6000s.”

            If they can do that, then they should. Actually driving a 328i and an Accord V6 would change your perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            What you say may be true… but then it goes back to what kind of car can I get that engine in? Can I get either of those V6 engines in a car with identical features, reliability, and build quality as a top trim Accord? With a stick shift?

            Like others have said.. I want THE WORKS in my car, not a stripper with steel wheels just because I choose to drive stick.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Not only “can” they do that, but they “do” do that. A new 328i (2.0 turbo engine) makes 255 lb. ft of torque at just 1250 RPM and it holds that maximum torque rating all the way up to 4500 RPM. In comparison, the V6 in the Accord makes just a little less toque (252 lb. ft.), but you have to rev it all the way to 4900 RPM before you get there. Sorry, but low-end torque is what makes a car enjoyable to drive on the street, and the Accord V6 loses out to the new generation of turbo 4’s.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          I have an A4 with the current Audi 2.0T. My family has a stable of Acuras with the J-series V6 and although I like the 2.0T, I would trade it for the J-series V6 any day of the week. A turbocharged 2.0 I4 can’t compare with the smoothness of J-series throughout the power band. The 2.0T is very strong at the low end, but falls flat past 5000 RPM. Based on first-hand experience, there is also a significant difference in reliability between the two engines.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            I have an A5 with the 2.0T (6 speed manual transmission) and my wife drives a V6 Accord. Both engines are equally smooth. If someone didn’t know what engine was in my A5, they’d never know it wasn’t a V6. Yes, it is very smooth. As far as reliability, both cars have been rock solid. No reliability issues at all.

            BTW, with the way Audi’s 2.0T engine makes it’s power, there’s no reason to go much beyond 5000 RPM, simply because there is more power/torque available by shifting to the next gear. That’s the beauty of a turbo four that makes such fantastic low-end torque.

          • 0 avatar
            JD23

            I had an excessive oil consumption and rough start problem with my 2.0T around a year ago, which seems to have been remedied by Stage 1 of the excessive oil consumption TSB. However, the incident has certainly made me hesitant about the long-term reliability of these engines. The J-series V6s, on the other hand, have been bulletproof, though I can’t say the same about the infamous Honda 5-speed automatic.

            BTW, I love the A5 and I would have purchased it if not for the $3500 premium over an identically equipped A4; I’m simply too cheap to pay that much more solely for the coupe body style.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      The problem with the Acura CL was that its boring. Boring to look at and boring to drive. That’s why Acura killed it off so quickly. The sales numbers were never very significant. My brother had one for about two years before he traded it in on a 3-series coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Boring to look at and boring to drive. That’s why Acura killed it off so quickly.”

        This is at least 50%-75% of Japanese cars sold today, I’m not sure this is why is was cancelled.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          The answer to your question was my very next sentence (after the two that you quoted).

          “The sales numbers were never very significant”

          That’s why the CL was discontinued.

          • 0 avatar
            kvndoom

            And HOW many RL’s do they sell? By your logic, a car that was moving fewer than 70 units a month consistently for two years (look it up if you don’t believe me) should not have been refreshed either.

            I can only imagine the discounts on the hoods of the ones that did sell.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            The RL was never intended to be a volume seller. The CL obviously was….

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Perhaps you’re right on the “volume seller” aspect, but the same Honda Motor corp has recently put out limited selling models such as Crosstour/ZDX, S2000, and Element. If Accord Coupe had went away with CL then it would make more sense to me, but not capitalizing on existing platforms strikes me as odd, even if you only sell a small volume for high profit.

  • avatar

    yes, and I think it’s because of lackluster product as much as dwindling interest.

    I like the Accord Coupe! But that’s because I like the Accord. For a person that usually drives themselves and occasionally one other person, it’s just as nice and comfortable as the sedan – which is to say, very. And reliable, and laden with useful features, and a pretty good steer if you’re asking me – and I drive an old BMW, so my hipster cred isn’t in question.

    Plus, you can get your V6 Accord Coupe with a manual which hasn’t been an option on the sedan since 2007.

    It’s a much better looking car than the sedan (although less of a gap with this new generation, I think) and the low roof line makes it “feel” sportier. But it’s a totally logical, sane purchase for a “daily driver” – why NOT get a coupe? I dunno. I’d love to have an Accord Coupe.

    The Altima coupe was of course based on the Altima, which just always felt half-engineered to me. CVT, ugh. rock-gargling if powerful motors. Cheap interior… I think that’s what killed it.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Another thing to consider— there are 4-door cars that are marketed as coupes. Sounds silly, right? Well, consider the Mercedes Benz CLS. Yup, it has four doors, but it also has a coupe profile/shape. Mercedes wanted to make a car that had the looks of a coupe, but the practicality of a sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Using all my senses, which are the same ones most people have, the CLS actually has the practicality of a coupe and the looks of a sedan. So do the other four-door “coupes.” If I want to carry four or five adults, give me a sedan with head room for all passengers. If I want a car that looks good or has maximum chassis rigidity, why would I cut extra holes it its body? There were some people that liked the looks of the first CLS, but they weren’t the sort of people who have good spatial relations. The new one is as ugly as hemorrhoid surgery(or the BMW Gran Coupé), so it isn’t an issue any more.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        Reg; “the CLS actually has the practicality of a coupe and the looks of a sedan.” You want to rephrase that comment?

        “they weren’t the sort of people who have good spatial relations.”

        I find the first ‘CLS’ to be quite attractive and well proportioned as a 4-dr sedan. It is the only post-war 4-dr, besides the Maserati Quattroporte, that I would ever seriously consider buying, used.

        As far as spatial relations go, I practiced architecture for 40+years and design boats and cars as a hobby. My Phi is in good shape, and so was the Merc designers who created the CLS.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Having sat a couple examples of the CLS, I found the back seat to be roughly as cramped and dark as it looked like it would be from viewing the exterior of the car. Maybe spatial relations doesn’t mean what it once did, which would explain the state of design.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            If the only thing important to you is back seat room, then you should be driving nothing but wagons. Leave the enthusiast cars to the enthusiasts….because you’ll never understand. LOL

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            One man’s enthusiast is a another’s marketing hand-puppet. 4,300 lbs 2+2s with four doors don’t have anything to do with driving enthusiasm. I do agree with you that wagons are anathema to real drivers though.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “I do agree with you that wagons are anathema to real drivers though.”

            And SUVs are not? After all, most SUVS are nothing but Jacked-Up Station Wagons on Steroids©. Make these things even 6″ shorter (in height, not length) and you could see a 10% improvement in gas mileage.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    And yet one more thing to consider— there are coupes that have been made into sedans (which is the opposite of conventional thinking), such as the Audi A5 Sportback (no, it’s not sold in the U.S.), which is basically an A5 coupe that has been lengthened to make room for two more doors.

    Another similar car is the BMW 6-series Gran Sport. That’s basically a 6-series coupe turned into a sedan.

  • avatar
    carguy98

    My aunt has one, because she “wants to drive something that’s, you know, sporty.”

  • avatar
    stickmaster

    I love sedans and don’t apologize for it. A properly tuned sport sedan has always been the best vehicle you can buy, because you get two cars in one.

    There’s a reason why you see so many sedans and SUVs and so few coupes. 99% of the time you are driving, you need comfort and space.

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      @’CJinSD’ Ok! Got it now.

      In your first comment, I suspected you might be talking about relative interior ‘Volumes’ or ergonomic applications, confusing it with ‘Spatial’ relationships. Spatial _Points in Space_ can refer to planes and volumes.

  • avatar
    Eric 0

    I looked at the Altima coupe when it first came out, and was surprised that it was priced almost as much as the Infiniti G35/G37 coupe, which is a great car that continues to sell well. Coupes tend to be bought by single people, not families with kids. The Altima coupe was outclassed by the Accord coupe, Genesis Coupe, BMW 1 series and 3 series, Mustang, but mostly by the G37, which is twice the car only a couple thousand more. The problem/point of coupes is that they are kind of stupid from a packaging point of view. 2 doors, 4 seats? Less interior room, more expensive than a comparable sedan. The benefit is that they are a more driver focused car. Stiffer, sportier, often lower. They tell the world that you are free, unencumbered, the master of your own destiny. As such they simply don’t attract value shoppers since their packaging compromises mean they aren’t good value by definition. I have seen maybe 3 Altima coupes on the street since it was released, but G37 and 3 series coupes are everywhere. A coupe that isn’t a little nice, or a little nasty (like the Genesis) has no reason to exist.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The decline of the 2 door coupe began with the demise of the GM RWD V8 coupes of the 70’s which used to sell like hotcakes, then the pickup took its place and the segment never really mattered any longer.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Ah, yes the rusted out Monte Carlos and Cutlass, it was a given, just like arthritis and wrinkles as you aged.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    What you might end up with is more versions of compact coupes, Civic, Elantra, Kia Forte or manufacturers would take their compact model making the coupe version a bit larger straddling the difference between compact and mid-sized, think BMW 3-Series which the coupe version is now the 4-Series or the E-Class coupe which is an amalgam of E-Class and C-Class. This was done with the old Mitsubishi based Avenger/Sebring coupe which was a based on the smaller Eclipse.


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