Twenty-five years ago this was an SUV. But today, well, things are different and more coupe-like … and blockchain-infused.
Among the many wonderful things this decade has brought us — including blockchain, the gig economy, bitcoin, vaping, lung diseases linked to vaping and companies seeking to #disrupt established industries by replacing employees with independent contractors and still losing billions per year — we’ve also received sedans that call themselves coupes due to a slightly lower roofline and SUVs and crossovers also trying to call themselves coupes by offering a slightly lower roofline or by simply featuring two doors.
The most spectacular example of the latter phenomenon was the Range Rover SV Coupe prototype, which a couple of decades prior would have been called a two-door Range Rover. The machine would have gone into production as planned before Land Rover called it off, despite having more than enough expressions of interest from buyers to spend several hundred thousand dollars a piece on what amounts to a two-door Range Rover.
This got us thinking: What other vehicles of the recent past would have been called coupes had they debuted in 2019 or in the last few years?
This looks like a small SUV, but only in the past would it have been called such, back when people lacked imagination to imagine it as a “coupe.”
Toyota RAV4: Not that long ago, the Toyota RAV4 was available in cute two-door form, and if Toyota had to go ahead and slice two doors off the current model (which we could Photoshop for you, but we won’t), we have a feeling that it would be called a coupe today and marketed as such. In fact, we’re not sure what’s keeping Toyota from doing this right at the very moment, given the fact that “coupes” that are really four-door SUVs or crossovers are selling pretty well. Toyota, if you end up doing this, you know where to send the press cars.
Level of Coupability: Surprisingly high. If Toyota had a RAV4 variant out now with just two doors, it’s tough to picture it avoiding a RAV4 Sports Coupe badge.
Suzuki knew 20 years ahead of time where things were headed. It just didn’t stick around long along to rake in the “coupe” cash with a bulldozer.
Suzuki X-90: For a brief, blissful time in the mid-1990s, when Suzuki was still sending cars to the U.S., the automaker offered a funky two-door SUV that was perhaps a little too funky for American tastes. But instead of having actual cargo room out back, it had a trunk with a spoiler on it. So its claim to coupe-ness is rock solid — far more so than some other competitors of the time. It wanted to be an SUV, but this was definitely a coupe or even a roadster.
Level of Coupability: Extremely high. It even has a sedan-style trunk and a spoiler on it. Only the removable roof panels pull it slightly into roadster territory.
GMC does not offer Suburban versions like this anymore, sadly, because it was actually pretty neat and a collector item now. But if it did, we have a feeling a Coupe badge might have been applied to it somewhere.
GMC Yukon: There is no such thing as a big, two-door Yukon or Suburban anymore, but for a while in the 1990s you could get one of these shorty versions of the big ol’ Suburban with a short wheelbase and all the width of the actual Suburban. This was kind of a niche vehicle at the time, and also a holdover of the 1980s when it came to sport utilities, the same way in which the woefully outdated Dodge Ramcharger and Ford Bronco that were sold as “new” vehicles in 1994 were really just 1980s technology and styling. But, if GM sliced a couple of feet from the wheelbase of the current GMC/Chevrolet school buses, odds are it would call it a coupe, just like Range Rover had done.
Level of Coupability: By the rules laid down by the Range Rover SV Coupe, we have no choice but to declare these coupes, as well.
The Navajo offered all the Zoom Zoom Zoom o … a Ford Explorer Sport.
Mazda Navajo: This two-door Ford Explorer Sport clone is wearing a Mazda badge, so it’s already sport — Zoom Zoom Zoom and all that — and it’s got two doors. If Mazda had somehow offered a two-door SUV today, you could bet all your bitcoin that it would be called some kind of a coupe.
Level of Coupability: Moderate, by the standards of 2019. The Navajo is certainly a two-door, but it did not try to mold its profile into a more coupe-like shape. Still a coupe by the rules of 2019.
The Chevy Blazer is back, but only as a four-door. If there were a two-door version, do you think Chevrolet could avoid a coupe moniker? That’s why we need the Jimmy back, to get rid of those rear doors and bring the 1980s back.
Chevy Blazer/GMC Jimmy: The vehicles making up this GM duo were SUVs, but they also had an ever-so-slight rake to their rear glass. Here’s the litmus test: If the 2019 Chevy Blazer came in a two-door bodystyle — not that hard to imagine — there would be “coupe” somewhere in its name.
Level of Coupability: Moderate. These are big, boxy things that are only slightly rakish.
We got the Asuna Sunrunner as a Geo Tracker and Chevy Tracker, while Canada also got it as a Pontiac Sunrunner after the Asuna Sunrunner branding went away as mysteriously as it had appeared. We blame Zap Rowsdower for that whole Asuna thing, and so should you.
Geo Tracker/Asuna Sunrunner/Pontiac Sunrunner/GMC Tracker/Chevrolet Tracker: We all remember that big gang of GM-offered pocket SUVs from the 1990s. They were available in just about every bodystyle and every badge — Canada even had it as a GMC Tracker, Asuna Sunrunner and a Pontiac Sunrunner — but some of the rarest versions were the two-door hardtops. That’s because if you were getting a two-door Chevy Tracker, you’d get a convertible version with a cheap plastic wrap made out of the same material as a shower curtain. But that would make it a convertible. But if you wanted an actual two-door hardtop, you had to look around. And we’re not talking about a two-door hardtop that had a removable hardtop — we’re talking about one that was very much welded in and part of the structure.
Level of Coupability: Pretty high under the rules of 2019, because there were also separate four-door and cabrio versions. What does it leave for two-door fixed hardtops to be called? That’s right: coupes! But only if it were 2019 outside.
The first Discos were actually these two-door models. The four-doors appeared just a short while later.
Land Rover Discovery: Yes, the Disco was available a two-door model. But Land Rover didn’t sell it in the States, probably out of concern that they would all tip over with that shorter caboose. The wheelbases were actually the same, but the five-door model had a longer rear overhang. The Disco was actually launched as a three-door model, with the five-door option being added later. But if Land Rover were to offer a three-door Discovery now, we have a feeling that “coupe” would be thrown in somewhere in there.
Level of Coupability: Surprisingly high. Given the fact that Land Rover stepped on that Land Mine in the first place with the Range Rover SV Coupe, a two-door Disco could not avoid some sort of coupe badge. Now it’s avoiding it with the new Land Rover Defender, though.
Twenty years later, we’re still not sure what the VehiCross was all about. But we’re drawn to it.
Isuzu VehiCROSS: If you had a feeling you’d see one of these on this list, here it is. But it’s down below because it doesn’t really try to come across as a coupe. It was an innovative design, but it didn’t try to have a rakish backlight. Instead, it had a pretty spacious cargo area and a spare tire out back. Offered today, it probably would be marketed as a coupe crossover of some sort, but even back when it was new people didn’t quite know what to make of it.
Level of Coupability: If this debuted in 2019 it would have to be called some kind of sports coupe just to get the thing out of dealership lots. Anything less would be marketing malpractice.
The Freelander actually embraced its coupe-like bodystyle.
Land Rover Freelander: Picture a first-generation Land Rover Freelander two-door model with that little black plastic backpack added on. It’s not really a convertible because it doesn’t have a targa bar, so it’s a two-door SUV that tries to paint a coupe-like profile with that rakish C-pillar. If Land Rover were to field something like that today, we have a feeling it would be given a coupe name somehow.
Level of Coupability: Pretty high, whether Land Rover intended it or not. Imagine this as a modern Evoque with two doors and a very rakish C-pillar, and you have the recipe for some sort of a coupe.
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