Reading Edward Snitkoff’s Scion Discussion yesterday, it occurred to me how much compact cars have changed in the past 10 years. It used to be that they were marketed solely as cheap, simple transportation. Compacts were a stepping stone to something larger and better-equipped in the future.
That’s not the case anymore. With more people buying smaller cars for fuel savings, compacts are getting more luxurious and expensive with each new model. Compact coupes have also seemed to pretty much disappear. Sure you can still get a tC, Civic, Forte, and now, even an Elantra coupe. But when was the last time you saw a new one without seeing 10 times as many sedans?
Compact coupes were traditionally aimed at “youthful” buyers who wanted something sportier than a 4-door, but were unable to afford any new car that was bigger or truly sporty. Motorweek ran a comparison test back in 1992 of 5 base model compact coupes. In case you don’t feel like watching the whole video, this is how they placed:
1st: Saturn SC
2nd: Toyota Paseo
3rd: Nissan NX1600
4th: Geo Storm
5th: Hyundai Scoupe
Now if this was 21 years ago, I would technically be -1 years old. If I were the age I am now in 1992 (20 years if you couldn’t do the math), and looking to purchase one of these, it would be the Saturn SC. A girl on my cross-country team in high school owned a later model one (with the driver’s side rear suicide door!), that I rode in several times. It was actually a pretty nice little car.
So if you were a value-conscious individual in the market for a base model coupe in 1992, which one would you choose? Would it be one of these coupes here or something else?