What are the Differences between Sedans, Coupes, and Hatchbacks?

February 9th, 2016 by


Kia Soul


If you have ever been car shopping then you have probably come across a host of terms that seem to mean the same thing, especially words like “sedan,” “hatchback,” and “coupe.” Believe it or not, there are some clear (and not so clear) distinctions between these three words. We’ve put together a post on the differences between sedans, coupes, and hatchbacks.

According to Automoblog, most people think that the difference between coupes and sedans is the number of doors: sedans have four doors, and coupes are two doors. However, that isn’t necessarily true. It all comes down to some technical measurements. A coupe has a closed-body style with either two or four seats (2+2 configuration) with less than 33 cubic feet of rear interior volume. A sedan, on the other hand, has more than 33 cubic feet of rear interior volume.

While this is a largely arbitrary distinction, a hatchback is a little more unique. Hatches have a door along the full width of the back end (the trunk area). This European-inspired design often has a curved exterior and will frequently be offered with two doors.  An example of a hatchback is a Kia Soul or the Kia Rio 5-Door.

There are also some less technical distinctions between hatches, sedans, and coupes. Hatches are usually small, sometimes compact, models with good handling. Sedans are more traditional cars in the US, with lots of space for cargo and storage. Coupes are usually sporty models, made for more fun and less practicality.