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June 29, 2014

Honda matches new Civic Coupe to sedan

The Honda Civic currently reigns as the top selling compact car in the United States. To help it retain that title, Honda is out with a significantly restyled coupe version of the small, practical and widely acclaimed car.

The timing of its appearance says a lot about the position of personal cars like the Honda Civic Coupe.

Last week we looked a little at two-door cars, or coupes, compared to four-door cars, sedans. Passenger-friendly four-door sedans make entering a back seat easy, so they’re considered family cars. Two-door coupes require rear-seat riders to twist and scrunch. Also, coupes are typically lower and sleeker than four-door sedans, cutting a more dashing image. Therefore, rather than family cars, coupes serve more as personal scooters that give their drivers a daring and rakish look.

We Americans are a family-oriented people. We’re active, too, with lifestyles aided by vehicles set up for maximum hauling. That explains why easy-entry four-door sedans are much more popular than zip-around coupes. When you get into the larger cars, a lot of the most popular models don’t even bother with two-door versions. Look at the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. They’re available only as sedans.

But with small cars, coupes are a lot more prevalent. The lower prices of compact and sub-compact cars make them more affordable for young drivers. Many young drivers haven’t started families yet, so back seats are less important. A lot of young drivers are more image conscious, too. They don’t want a car that looks like it could belong to mom and dad. They want to wear autos that look bold and daring, sporting, slinky and fun.

It’s true that even among small cars, sedans still outsell coupes by a good margin. But two-door styles remain important, and they get a lot of care and attention from car companies.

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