The fact that Honda has chosen to keep playing in this market should mean something.
We’re a pretty tightly knit little family here at the DoubleClutch.ca office. We know each others’ strengths and weaknesses, and are never afraid to poke fun at any of them. Everybody knows that my biggest automotive soft spot is for the Honda Accord Coupe. It goes back to the old adage of never being able to forget your first – and my first official test vehicle was a V6-powered two-door Accord. Despite having tested every iteration that Honda Canada offered us over the past few years, I still groveled at my editor’s feet when I heard that the Accord was refreshed for the 2016 model year. My pleading prevailed though, when a 2016 Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6 arrived at my doorstep for a week’s worth of evaluation.
I’ve always loved the way the Accord Coupe looked. Yes, I know that it’s in a dying segment, with no major front-wheel-drive competitors left, but the fact that Honda has chosen to keep playing in this market should mean something. The Accord was always more of a looker than the now-defunct Camry Solara and the Altima Coupe. With the rivals now gone, Honda has made subtle revisions to the styling to remain fresh. The headlights now resemble Acura’s Jewel-Eye setup, and with LED technology to boot, they’re even more elegant. The rest of the car still looks quintessentially Accord, but fresher and more aggressive than every single one of its predecessors.
The Accord’s real rivals are now rear-drive, with great players such as the base-model Nissan 370Z (see review here), the Hyundai Genesis, and even the V6-powered Ford Mustang (our review). The others may have an edge in the raw performance department, but the Accord offers a more complete package for year-round use. The front-wheel-drive setup is more favorable for those who don’t plan to track their vehicles, and the roomy interior makes for a more appealing choice for buyers who favour practicality. Additionally, Honda’s powerplant is a sweet setup.
Accords can still be had with four-cylinders across the line, but my pick remains the V6. Even after the refresh, they’ve carried forward both powertrains, and it’s easy to see why. The 3.5L V6 from Honda’s Earth Dreams family is one of my favourite V6s across the board, and after my first five minutes in this Accord I was reminded why. It still pushes 278 horsepower at 6,200RPM, and 252 lb-ft of torque at 4,900RPM. The exhaust sounds lovely, and the V6 makes a throaty roar. Throttle response is very good, and I’m ecstatic that this car has not gone to a turbocharged setup. If the new Civic (our take) is any indication though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Accord go down this road at some point.
Thankfully, Honda continues to offer the slick-shifting six-speed manual with the V6, even on the top-spec Touring model. Something different for me is that this was my first Accord tester that lacked a third pedal – my Touring V6 tester was equipped with the six-speed automatic, with paddle shifters. It’s a pretty responsive transmission, and still makes a great noise. The paddles aren’t the fastest to respond, but there’s a “Sport” setting that is predictable and does a satisfactory job of holding gears longer.
Honda suggests fuel ratings of 11.4L/100km in the city, 7.3L/100km on the highway, and a combined average of 9.5L/100km. I drove the Accord pretty spiritedly, as it’s a thoroughly enjoyable vehicle to push around. After factoring in the bitter cold conditions and generous use of the factory remote starter (available on automatic models only), I averaged 10.3L/100km. I expect more conservative drivers to actually surpass Honda’s suggested rating of 9.5. The V6-powered Accord still gets away just fine with regular fuel, and the tank can hold 65L of it.
I’m happy to see that despite an evolutionary refresh, not much has changed on the Accord’s interior. The seats are still comfortable, with power adjustability for the fronts and a convenient pedal-esque release for rear seat access. The dashboard still has the two-tiered screen layout, but the lower screen has Honda’s latest new infotainment system. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with a Garmin-based navigation system on our Touring tester. Their LaneWatch blind spot camera technology remains an industry exclusive, and is much more useful than it seems.
Honda Sensing is a suite of safety technologies offered throughout the automaker’s lineup. Slotted above the base EX trim is “EX Honda Sensing”, which adds this package onto the volume-selling model. Included here is adaptive cruise control, collision mitigating braking system (CMBS), lane keep assist (LKAS), lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, and forward collision warning. Simple as it may sound, this suite as a whole is a rare find in mainstream models, and there are certain specific technologies here that no other competitors offer at all.
Pricing for the Accord Coupe starts at a very-palatable $27,090 for the EX Coupe with the four-cylinder engine. Even the base model comes with the smartphone connectivity suite, power driver’s seat, heated seats, premium audio system, and proximity key. Stepping up to the Touring V6 costs $35,830, but this is the highest trim that the Accord can be had in. It includes literally everything including wireless charging, dual exhaust, full suite of Honda Sensing technologies, LED lighting all around, 19” wheels, and of course, the V6 engine. A well-equipped car, this is.
Unfortunately though, I don’t see the Accord Coupe lasting past this generation. The reality is, performance junkies who are willing to accept front-wheel-drive have options in the Volkswagen GTI and the Ford Focus ST (our take here). All-wheel-drive options like the Subaru WRX round out the options, meaning the personal coupé is not far from extinction. It’s a shame, because the Accord is fundamentally a very good car, with styling unmatched by anything this side of the muscle car segment. It’ll be interesting to see how the new Chevrolet Camaro V6 (our review of the V8 here) stacks up when we drive it in the spring.
The 2016 Honda Accord Coupe Touring V6 met all of my expectations, and did not fail to impress in any aspect. My initial expectation was to be disappointed by the automatic transmission, but the standard paddle shifters did a great job at keeping this gearhead hooked to the car for every kilometer I spent behind the wheel. The refreshed Accord Coupe’s dashing looks, sweet Earth Dreams engine, and overall charming personality go a long way in keeping the buying public hooked to the Accord line overall.