When shopping different cars, you may have run across vehicles advertising themselves as “coupes” or “sedans”. What’s the difference between these, though? After all, they usually look almost the same. It’s important to know when car shopping that there is in fact a difference between the two. See how the two compare and what distinguishes one from the other.

You’ve got your coupes, and you’ve got your sedans. Coupes are two-door cars and sedans have four doors. Case closed, right? Well that’s the traditional definition.

While the number of doors is an important difference, auto manufacturers actually use coupe and sedan platforms differently to build more specialized vehicles for their customers. As a result, the differences between coupes and sedans actually go beyond their exterior styling.

The real difference lies in size. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, a coupe is defined as being a car that has an interior space of less than 33 cubic feet while a sedan is equal to or greater than 33 cubic feet. While styling and other aspects might set the two apart more noticeably, size is the only thing that makes a difference.

There are a few general features that make sedans and coupes different, although they’re not official or standard by any means. Coupes are generally considered sportier. Cars with only a front row of seats (like most sports cars) will often have less room on the interior which automatically puts them in the coupe category if they’re under 33 cubic feet. Sedans, on the other hand, are considered more of the family car (mostly due to having more room than coupes). They will always have two rows of seats, although this can’t be used as an official determinant since coupes can have either one or two rows of seats.

If you’re looking for a car that reflects your own young, fun spirit, a coupe is the clear choice. If you’re looking for a car that matches your “play it safe” attitude, a sedan may be right for you. Coupes come out on top in terms of sporty personality and performance. Sedans have more cargo space and safety features, which make them the better family car. Each has pros and cons when it comes to number of doors and passenger seating. To choose the car that is right for you, consider the benefits of each type of car and tap into your personal preferences.