Dwindling Choices But Some Good News for Coupe Fans

Dear Car Talk:

I've always thought two-door cars, or "coupes," look great. To me, a four-door "sedan" looks like a brick on wheels.

My first car, in 1965, was a 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS. A gift from my aunt, it wasn't a muscle car, yet the overall "look" of the car was beautiful. Since then, every car I've owned has been a coupe. In 2003, it was time to turn in my Nissan Sentra coupe for a new one. To my disappointment, my dealer told me the Sentra was no longer available in a coupe.

I went to a nearby Honda dealer and bought a 2003 Honda Accord coupe. Since then, I've owned three Honda Accord coupes. I always buy an extended, seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. When the warranty is close to expiration, I buy a new car.

In 2016, I went to my Honda dealer and was told that Honda also had discontinued the two-door Accord. Rather than change brands again, I decided to keep my 2009 Honda EXL Accord coupe. It only has 67,000 miles and was always well cared for. But looking ahead, are there any car manufacturers that currently offer two-door coupes in a medium to full size vehicle like the Accord?

Why have most of the major car manufacturers discontinued two-door coupes? -- Tom

Why have manufacturers stopped making two-door cars? Because people started having kids.

For most people, it's really inconvenient to have to wedge your way into the back seat of a coupe, despite how much fun it is to watch your mother-in-law try to do it. So there's lack of demand; there's a limited universe of people who will even consider two-door cars.

The other problem with selling coupes is that they are bought by people who really value style. And style changes. Quickly. See also: fashion industry.

So if a manufacturer spends half a billion dollars to develop a coupe, when it first comes out, it's the hottest thing on the market and it sells well. But a year later, someone else's coupe is the latest thing, and your coupe sits on the lot. And the automotive business is based on being able to sell the same basic car for five to eight years to recoup the cost of development and tooling.

So the coupes on the market now fall into two categories. They're either small sports cars (Toyota Supra, Porsche Cayman, Mazda Miata) or luxury coupes for orthodontists who just ran off with their hygienists (Audi A5, BMW 4-Series, Infiniti Q60 coupe).

The mildly good news for you, Tom, is that you're not the only one who likes the look of coupes. So the latest trend in sedans is "four-door-coupe" styling. Yeah, the name makes no sense, but the idea is to build a four-door car that has the silhouette and raked rear roofline of a coupe. Modern manufacturing has made it a little easier to disguise the rear doors by using thinner and blacked out B-pillars.

If you go online and look at, say, the VW Arteon, Audi A5 Sportback or the BMW 4-Series Grand Coupe, or even the current Honda Accord, and squint, you'll see what I mean. Maybe you can find one of those you like and can afford. And then duct tape the rear doors closed so you don't accidentally convenience yourself. Good luck, Tom.

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