More performance than you need, fewer doors than you expect.
– Detroit, Michigan
It’s hard not to like the Honda Accord. No matter which version of the popular midsizer you buy, it will deliver function, safety, and utility in spades. This particular Accord, though, is a slightly unusual take on the genre. It’s an Accord coupe with the V6 engine, the sportiest version of a car that isn’t really meant to be sporty. While it wouldn’t be my first choice for the money, I’m thrilled that Honda still makes a two-door midsize coupe at all. Most of its rivals – including the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry (Solara) coupes – have long vanished. If nothing else, this Accord coupe is cool because it’s so unusual.
- The engine is the absolute star of this package. Delivering its power instantly and predictably, the 3.5-liter V6 snarls as revs build. There’s really too much power here, so the front tires scrabble for grip all the time, but there’s no denying that it’s fun. I’ve driven an Accord coupe V6 with its available manual transmission, and while it is of course great because Honda makes such excellent gearboxes, the automatic in this car better suits the engine’s slightly overeager nature. Why would you want to shift when you can just stand on the right pedal and get heaps of acceleration at any time?
- There’s no denying that the Accord coupe looks cool. Aggressive slashes in its bodywork, the subtle up-kick in the trunklid, and the big air intakes in the front fascia grab my attention in a way no four-door Accord can manage. Exposed dual exhaust tips likewise instantly signal that this car is a little bit hotter than your neighbor’s sedan.
- In almost every regard except steering (more on that later), this sporty-ish Accord is just as satisfying for the driver as any other version. Superb visibility pays dividends when parallel-parking, as does the wide-angle backup camera. Though its engine and design suggest aggression, the Accord coupe is remarkably hushed and comfortable in ordinary driving. I folded the rear seat (which lowers as one piece, not a 40/60 split) and was able to easily load my bike in the trunk. And I even managed to get the fuel-economy readout to as much as 29 miles per gallon on the highway (EPA rating: 32 mpg highway). There’s no real downside, then, to using this as your daily driver.
- It’s nice to see Honda can still play the nonconformist by offering a front-wheel-drive midsize two-door. The number of these cars on offer has shrunk to almost nil, yet Honda still sees a market. It’s just like Honda’s determination to still build a Civic coupe after most of that car’s two-door competition has vanished. Whether or not you think these types of cars make sense for the buying public, I respect Honda’s chutzpah in selling them regardless.
- Numb steering really discourages me from taking advantage of the engine’s full potential. It’s partly that the electric-assist steering is vague and light at all times, but it’s also because I dislike the feel of the thick, squishy steering-wheel rim in my fingers. This isn’t a car that encourages me to drive briskly all day long. If the Accord’s chassis were more eager to play, I’d have more fun exercising the engine’s full power.
- Trunk space and rear-seat room suffer compared to the Accord sedan. To put it objectively, the coupe’s trunk accommodates 13.4 cubic feet of stuff compared to 15.5-15.8, depending on trim level, in the four-door. And rear-seat leg- and headroom are both at more of a premium in the coupe, plus it’s tougher to squeeze past the front seats into the back row. But, hey, don’t we always have to make sacrifices for style?
- It’s hard to make the case for buying a two-door Accord with a V6 engine. If you’re buying a Honda Accord to be practical, getting this version makes no sense: it’s hard to get in the back seats and fuel economy takes a hit compared to the four-cylinder engine. Besides, if you want a sporty front-wheel-drive car that’s still a great daily driver, $35,000 will buy you a nicely equipped Volkswagen Golf GTI or Ford Focus ST, both of which are way more fun to drive than this Honda.
Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com