Defined primarily as a closed body style with a permanently fixed roof, two seats, or 2+2 seating, the exact definition of a coupe varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, with some even claiming hatchbacks or four-door sedans with sleek roof lines to be four-door coupes (the 2005 Mercedes-Benz CLS was the first modern expression of this phenomena). Coupes occupy a special place in the automotive consciousness. They imply freedom of responsibility, youthfulness, and self-indulgence even. After all, anybody living comfortably with a coupe is most likely on their own, or part of a childless couple. Because while most are quite good-looking, if you’re dealing with more than two people, they are quite impractical. Generally bereft of rear-seat legroom, coupes further require one to fold the seat back forward and typically limbo themselves beneath the shoulder belt for the driver or passenger to gain access to the rear-seating compartment. Once seated back there, the view out is often compromised by very small rear windows, and the sleek roofline most coupes employ limit headroom for the unlucky should banished to the coupe’s back seat.
With all of that going against it, why would anybody ever buy one? In a word—style. Sleek, seductive, hinting at speed, agility and playfulness, even the most staid of coupe models have a look about them that says, “Come on, let’s go out an have some fun!” And, this particular crop of coupes will let you have your fun while remaining economical, too. Generally smaller and lighter than their sedan counterparts, when you fit a coupe with a four-cylinder engine, you get the youthful playfulness factor, but with responsible levels of fuel economy. Yes, in some cases (but not all, as we’ll see) you’ll give up outright performance. But with any of the cars on our list of the 10 Best 4-Cylinder Coupes, what you’ll sacrifice in performance you’ll make up for in fewer trips to the gas pump.