– Fairly handsome styling
– Cabin space and features
– Decent handling
– Expensive with options
– Dash cluttered with buttons
– Road noise on some surfaces
The Accord Coupe is the last bastion for Honda fanboys who want a sporty VTEC ride but don’t know how to drive a manual. While the Accord Coupe, in V6 automatic trim, isn’t even close to offering the driving fun of the manual-only Civic Type-R and the recently-deceased S2000, it conveniently fills the gap between those high-revvers and the ho-hum sedan range.
The Honda Accord Coupe has always been a handsome car. Facelifted for 2011, the new V6 model gets a new front bumper piece and new wheel designs, though you’ll be hard-pressed to notice any difference. The rear gets new light clusters while the cabin gets an optional navigation screen, the latter adding a substantial amount to the base price. That’s about it in terms of changes. The V6 additionally gets dual exhaust tips, larger 18-inch wheels, rear lip spoiler and chrome door handles.
After three years of driving several Accord variants, the cabin is certainly familiar. It shares the exact same dashboard with the sedan, but look around and it becomes obvious that the coupe is shorter, and this is reflected in the rear passenger space and overall headroom. Looking over the dash again, it now gets an optional full-colour LCD screen for the navigation system as well as a cover for the storage compartment below the stereo controls. The two-tier dash looks to be one piece, but the upper out-of-reach half is hard plastic, while the lower parts within reach are good soft-touch stuff. The upper door sills and inserts have padded soft surfaces. With the exception of the split-folding rear seats, the rear passengers are completely surrounded by hard plastics.
Up front, headroom and legroom are still great due to the low seating position. Surprisingly, there is decent room for average-sized adults in the back too, and access is not too complicated if you don’t have back problems. The leather front seats in our tester were adequately bolstered, power-adjustable for the driver, and have height movement too limited for our liking. The luggage trunk is pretty big for a coupe, as it should be, given the car’s large rump.
There are a fair number of standard features such as power windows, electric mirrors, an average CD/MP3 player with changer and wheel buttons, sunroof, front and side-curtain airbags, keyless entry, cruise control and covered cup-holders. New available features in the V6 include the integrated Bluetooth with steering-buttons, a USB port for music players and the navigation with a rotary-joystick on the dash, all of which worked well after figuring them out. The dual-zone automatic a/c works well enough, although we only tested it in January weather. But the centre console is cluttered with buttons and it takes a while to find functions.
The 3.5-litre V6 is a refined engine that’s good for 271 hp at 6200 rpm and 339 Nm of torque at a high 5000 rpm. It continues the Honda tradition of producing big numbers at stupidly-high revs, but in this application, the engine note is slightly muted by a fancy system that actively eliminates engine noise and also seamlessly shuts down two or three cylinders to save fuel when cruising. It still comes with a 5-speed automatic that does its job smoothly, but for 2011, there are paddle-shifters that can be somewhat entertaining, if not totally quick in its responses.
We managed a 0-100 kph time of 7.6 seconds with our brand new car, but maybe it could do better with a broken-in engine. The Accord is pretty heavy, at 1600 kg, but the engine feels strong enough in street driving at mid-range revs. We estimated the fuel economy at 13.5 litres per 100 km, which is pretty good, although this is in line with all other V6 coupes in its class. We suspect that cylinder-deactivation system will reward more conservative driving.
The Accord Coupe is not a full-blown sports car, but it still handles well enough to be fun. Shorter than the sedan, the front-wheel-drive platform provides hours of safe understeering fun, as we’d noticed with the pre-facelift model. Body roll is limited thanks to its somewhat-firm suspension, and the 235/45 tyres wrapping the 18-inch alloys offer good grip. Understeer shows up eventually during corners, but it appears gradually so there are no surprises.
The coupe’s power steering is nicely weighted for precise driving, and is noticeably firmer than that of the sedan, although feedback is still a bit limited. The ABS-assisted disc brakes work well enough. The mild firmness in the Accord’s pedals also provides a welcome feeling of linearity for accurate braking.
On the highway, the engine is pretty quiet. That makes the excessive road noise on newly-paved roads more noticeable, though it is fairly quiet on smoother surfaces. Some wind noise can also be heard, but the ride quality, while comfortably bearable, is on the firm side thanks to those 18-inchers with low-profile rubber.
The 2-door Accord is a practical for a coupe, with enough power, space and efficiency to be a good daily driver for the commute to work. While not a hardcore racing machine, it is sporting enough be make that a fun commute.
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