Without question, the most glamorous genre of automobile is the coupe.
In fact, coupes are so coveted, manufacturers have taken to labeling particularly sleek four door models “four-door coupes” in an effort to rub some of that cachet off onto their sedans. This is of course marketing-speak; just as most station wagons today are referred to as—well— pretty much anything except station wagons.
Coupes scream individual freedom in much the same way sports cars do. The personal aspect of driving a car with but two doors says one is responsible to no one, that personal gratification is their primary concern, and that there’s an independent spirit at work that is singularly liberating. That coupes are often the basis for convertible models also enhance their appeal. For the most part, coupes are handsome, dynamic and typically will be the best performing models in their manufacturer’s product portfolio.
Of course, since this is all about the best affordable coupes for 2012, we need to define the term “affordable’ for this particular application. These days, the average new car transaction price is hovering in the low $30,000 range. So when we were considering affordable coupes, we used $31,000 as the cutoff point for pricing. Yes, we realize that might be expensive to some people, and honestly it isn’t what we’d call “cheap” either. But the new car market is what the new car market is.
Happily though, most of the cars on the list can be had in the mid- to low $20,000 range.
What follows is our list of the most affordable coupes for 2012.