The Truth About Cars » coupes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 26 Jun 2015 19:00:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » coupes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com It’s Time To End The Non-Sporty Coupe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/its-time-to-end-the-non-sporty-coupe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/its-time-to-end-the-non-sporty-coupe/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 12:12:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071410 Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to bring an end to an automotive segment that simply needs to die: the non-sporty coupe. For those of you who aren’t sure what I mean when I say “non sporty coupe,” allow me to describe the two types of coupes that currently exist today. One is the sporty coupe. […]

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2015 Honda Civic

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to bring an end to an automotive segment that simply needs to die: the non-sporty coupe.

For those of you who aren’t sure what I mean when I say “non sporty coupe,” allow me to describe the two types of coupes that currently exist today. One is the sporty coupe. This is a car with sleek styling, and a cool interior, and a lot of power, and some modicum of performance suspension, or performance brakes, or something performancey, like a faux carbon fiber door panel.

Examples of the sporty coupe include the Porsche 911, the Ford Mustang, the Subaru BRZ, and – if you ask the Germans – the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, though the rest of us just consider that to be an overpriced sedan.

And then you have the other type of coupe. The non-sporty coupe. This is a car that was a sedan, until some auto industry geniuses got ahold of it and decided they could create an entirely new segment by just throwing on a new, two-door body and marketing it as “sporty.” Examples include the Honda Civic, the Honda Accord, and, well, that’s about it.

2015 Honda Accord EX-L V-6 Coupe

There’s a reason those are the only options: because everyone else has gotten out of this segment. For years, we had the Toyota Camry coupe, later called the Camry Solara. It’s gone. The Chevy Monte Carlo. It’s gone. The Chevy Cobalt coupe, the Chevy Cavalier Coupe, the Ford Tempo coupe, the Ford Focus coupe (look it up!), the Dodge Avenger, the Chrysler Sebring coupe. Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone. All gone. The Nissan Altima Coupe. Gone. All because this segment is a massive dud; the automotive equivalent of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld.

So why is Honda still in it?

My theory is Honda has abandoned every other sporty car they’ve ever had – from the NSX and the S2000 on down to the CR-Z – so they feel like they have to offer some piece of “performance” somewhere in their lineup. So they offer the Civic in sedan and coupe varieties, even though virtually everyone else has realized the actual place to be, when it comes to compact cars, is sedans and hatchbacks.

Interestingly, it seems like Honda still doesn’t have the hatchback memo. At this year’s New York Auto Show, Honda displayed a bright green Civic intended to preview what’s to come for the compact car’s next generation. So what body style did it use? The highly popular sedan model, which accounts for more than 80 percent of all sales? A hatchback to let us know they’re finally going to take on the Ford Focus, the Mazda3, the Kia Soul, and the Volkswagen Golf?

No: they showed off a Civic Coupe, suggesting they plan to continue the non-sporty coupe even after everyone else has jumped ship.

It’s the same situation with the Accord. Every time there’s an Accord redesign, I expect Honda to finally announce that they’re doing away with the Accord Coupe. And every time there’s an Accord redesign, Honda instead surprises me and brings it back for another round.

The question I have for people who buy these cars is: WHY?????

If you really examine the Civic Coupe and the Accord Coupe, what you’ll find is that both models are really just less practical versions of the sedans. Neither one is a sports car. Neither one offers especially sleek styling. In fact, if you ask me, the Civic Coupe is actually a bit ungainly in its current form, in the sense that it appears, at any moment, that it may be blown over by a strong gust of wind.

So basically, the “non sporty coupe” is just a sedan with less practicality. Same Accord styling. Same Accord engines. Same Accord equipment, and platform, and suspension, and brakes. The only difference: in the regular Accord, you can get out of the back seat without making the front passenger get up and exit the vehicle first.

I’ve talked to a few people who own these vehicles, and I’ve come to learn they actually believe these are sports cars. “Well,” they say. “I couldn’t afford a 370Z. So I decided to get an Accord Coupe.” As if the two are equals. This would be like saying that you couldn’t afford a place overlooking Central Park, so you instead decided to get a studio apartment in downtown Newark.

So I guess the simple truth here is that Honda is going to continue to make these things as long as people keep buying them. But as the market shrinks, and as people realize they’d really rather have a sedan, and as the tens of buyers disaffected by the cancellation of the Chevy Cobalt coupe move on to something else, I hope Honda wises up and gives us hatchbacks instead. Because the days of the non-sporty coupe are coming to an end.

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/junkyard-find-1973-mercedes-benz-280c-2/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023561 There’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 […]

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15 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s a lot of talk going around about how every restorable example of the Mercedes-Benz W114 coupe is worth plenty these days. Five grand? Ten grand? The junkyard tells me that the real-world prices for these cars in non-perfect condition is still quite low, because I see them regularly. Here’s a solid, fairly complete ’73 without a speck of rust that I saw in a Northern California junkyard a few weeks ago, and this car comes on the heels of this ’71 250C, this ’73 280CE, this ’74 280C, and a bunch of W114 sedans that I haven’t even bothered to photograph. I’m sure that the cost to restore one of these things is just breathtaking, which is why those in the know rarely take on such projects.
12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIn their time, these cars made just about every conceivable competitor look like a shoddily-built, frivolous rattletrap, built for idiots who didn’t understand the value of a Deutsche Mark.
04 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow’s this for dignified air-conditioning controls?
10 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car listed at $11,530 new, which was about 61 grand in 2015 bucks. Meanwhile, the much bigger, cushier, more powerful 1973 Lincoln Mark IV cost just $8,694 (just for fun, how about a brand-new Citroën SM— about the least sensible car you could buy in 1973, yet also the most beautiful— for $13,350?), while the Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado— with five hundred cubic inches under the hood, no less— could be purchased for $7,360.

01 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1973 Mercedes-Benz 280C Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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What’s Bigger Than A Bentley And Twice As Cool? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/whats-bigger-than-a-bentley-and-twice-as-cool/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/whats-bigger-than-a-bentley-and-twice-as-cool/#comments Sun, 11 Aug 2013 03:08:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=498948 Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play. But if you want to ride on those streets like ev-er-y day, your ride has arrived. Which leads to a question: Full-sized coupes disappeared a long time ago. I’m sure many TTAC readers don’t remember ever seeing one in a new-car showroom. Conventional wisdom says the market for […]

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ls2

Welcome to Atlanta, where the players play. But if you want to ride on those streets like ev-er-y day, your ride has arrived. Which leads to a question:

Full-sized coupes disappeared a long time ago. I’m sure many TTAC readers don’t remember ever seeing one in a new-car showroom. Conventional wisdom says the market for them is long gone. And yet… people still buy ’em. They just insist on paying six figures for them. The Phaeton Turbo Fish-Face Edition Continental GT, the Mercedes CL, the Rolls-Royce Drophead Koo-Pay And Non-Drophead Koo-Pay. The appeal of rolling in a monstrous automobile with limited access to the rear seats still sells. It just doesn’t sell to the little people out there. The question is: why? Why are regular people willing to buy horrifying crap like the BMW X6, a vehicle which is designed to be as offensive as humanly possible and seemingly exists solely to convey the message that you can afford it, but they aren’t interested in the plush ride and placid demeanor of a proper coupe?

The hell with ’em. If you want to get more house on the boulevard than any Conti GT around, pay this guy eighty-five hundred bucks and you can roll in style, with my full approval. And probably the approval of Andre 3000, as well.

ls1 ls2 ls3 ls4 ls6 ls7 ls8

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Are Midsize Coupes Dead and Buried? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/are-midsize-coupes-dead-and-buried/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/are-midsize-coupes-dead-and-buried/#comments Thu, 25 Jul 2013 16:57:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=497056 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, […]

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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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Toyota 86 Priced At $25,848 In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/toyota-86-priced-at-25848-in-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/toyota-86-priced-at-25848-in-japan/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2012 15:49:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=428162 As if the Ford Escape pricing details weren’t exciting enough, Toyota has priced their new 86 sports car in Japan, with a base price of $25,848. But to get anything approaching normal equipment levels, you’ll pay $31,000 Four trim levels – Customize Grade, G, GT and GT Limited – will be offered. The Customize Grade […]

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As if the Ford Escape pricing details weren’t exciting enough, Toyota has priced their new 86 sports car in Japan, with a base price of $25,848. But to get anything approaching normal equipment levels, you’ll pay $31,000

Four trim levels – Customize Grade, G, GT and GT Limited – will be offered. The Customize Grade has unpainted bumpers and seems to be targeted at those who want to customize their 86. The G Grade will cost $31,000, a GT will cost $36,239 and a GT Limited will set you back $38,578.

Options include a limited-slip differential, projector headlights, aluminum pedals and an automatic transmission. A strong yen is going to make pricing the Scion FR-S difficult for Toyota USA. Scion previously claimed it would start below $30,000, but that’s hardly encouraging in the context of “affordable sports car”.

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