The only one of its kind left |
It’s great to see Honda tipping their hats toward the enthusiast.
The Honda Accord really needs no introduction. Having been around for the good part of thirty years, it has always been the flag-bearer in the Honda family. It combines excellent value for families with high-grade build quality, and manages to mix in the all-important driver’s interface. Throughout all these years, the Accord was considered a top choice for those who wanted something a bit more than just a vanilla commuter car. Being available in sedan, coupe, and even wagon forms at some points, the Accord is a versatile choice whatever your situation in life.
As the years went on, the demands of the market have evolved. It’s obvious to see today’s trends going towards compact crossover utility vehicles. The two-door midsize coupe market, specifically that of the front-drive configuration has seen its demand change as well. The Toyota Camry coupe – later called the Solara – was dropped due to lagging sales and lower demand. The same goes for the Nissan Altima Coupe that was offered for a few years. Even in the GM stable, the Monte Carlo was also sent out to pasture. I know there’s still some demand for a stylish two-door coupe with a usable backseat, so cheers to Honda for opting to stay in this market. I picked up the keys to a 2014 Accord Coupe EX-L, painted in a “White Orchid Pearl”, with the V6 engine and six-speed manual transmission. Unicorn alert? Perhaps.
The Accord Coupe keeps a lot of the attractive lines from the sedan and also retains some of the styling cues from previous-generation coupes. Overall, it’s a clean design, not taking any big risks. Some would call it a little conservative, but I think it is a look that will age well. The headlights on my tester feature a row of white LEDs that act as the daytime running lights. The low-beam headlamps themselves are also of the LED variety. With no warm-up time or ballast, these lights are a huge upgrade over the standard halogen reflectors seen in lesser trim levels. The side profile of the car shows a classic coupe silhouette, with long doors and a raked greenhouse. The doors themselves are very heavy and close with a very satisfying thud, not unlike the feel you get with Acura’s products. Out back, a large rear trunk lid reveals a surprising amount of space for cargo. The only thing I’m not a big fan of is the passive reflectors in the rear lower bumper; these break up the otherwise clean look from this angle.
Inside, the interior is carried over from the sedan, complete with its multi-level LCD displays in the centre console. Functionality is the name of the game here, and Honda really likes its buttons. Compared to some touch-reliant systems (Cadillac’s CUE interface comes to mind), the Accord is great for people who prefer feeling around for physical buttons to access various functions. The low-mounted joystick provides a lot of control over the upper-mount LCD screen. Space for four occupants is very generous – legroom in the back is surprisingly good. One drawback of the coupe roofline is that taller passengers may find the hair on their heads grazing the rear window. Long trips in the back of the Accord coupe may not be the best idea, but it’ll work in a pinch for most. The interior build quality doesn’t disappoint, with generous use of soft-touch materials nearly everywhere. The right-side wing mirror has a camera, called LaneWatch, that will activate with the right turn signal, and provide you with a comprehensive blind-spot view. It is a slick implementation and surprisingly high-resolution.
The shrinking midsize coupe market is a real thing. When I learned of the availability of this specific car, I was excited to try out what is quickly becoming a rare configuration in all cars today: six-cylinder engine with a traditional six-speed manual transmission. Under the hood lives Honda’s latest direct-injected Earth Dreams 3.5L V6 gasoline engine, producing a healthy 278hp at 6200rpm and 252 lb-ft of torque at 4900rpm. As I came to find out, this is a lot of power being delivered through the front wheels. It is very easy to break traction in the dry – and almost too easy when the roads are wet. Traction control is your friend when launching the Accord V6 coupe from a stop. Highway passing power is excellent – you rarely have to downshift to complete the manoeuver. When you do, the shifter and clutch combination are classic Honda – excellent to use with a well-defined engagement point in the pedal and a precise shifter. The overall gearing feels shorter than it needs to be, considering the horsepower and torque available under the hood, so you’ll be working the shifter and clutch quite a bit. Honda has also employed some tricks in the intake tract of the V6, improving the sound output when you demand a lot of power. It is an aggressive sound, amplifying what is already a sweet-sounding V6.
The Accord delivers a familiar and largely satisfying driving experience, but a few small items stuck out to me: it is a little difficult to shift smoothly because of the engine revs that are a little slow to respond once you lift off the throttle and put the clutch in. Even without any throttle input, the engine revs “hang” for almost a second before dropping. This isn’t a huge deal, but I prefer not having to eat away at clutch life in order to improve response. Secondly, the electric power steering leaves a lot to be desired, at least from an enthusiast point of view. Honda is no stranger to electric power steering systems (see the NSX and S2000), so they know what they’re doing in that regard. The steering feel in my tester, on the other hand, is pretty close to lifeless, delivering almost no feedback. It is disappointing considering Honda’s past expertise in providing good steering feel.
Honda rates the Accord Coupe V6 with the six-speed manual at 11.5L/100km in the city, 7.1L/100km on the highway, and 9.5L/100km in a combined cycle. I managed a respectable 9.8L/100km over 500km of very mixed driving. Some interesting tidbits: the Variable Cylinder Management that disables some of the engine’s cylinders under low load is not available if you opt for the six-speed manual. This fact combined with the longer gearing of the optional automatic transmission, means that the most fun Accord in the lineup is also the thirstiest. Pricing for the Accord is fairly straightforward. The base four-cylinder EX is already fairly well-equipped, and starts at $26,455. As soon as you opt for the V6, you get everything thrown in, which includes Navigation, LaneWatch, power everything, leather seating surfaces, and sunroof. This pushes the price up to $35,555. The Accord Sedan in the Touring trim with the V6 costs $100 less. Consider this the price of a more stylish, but still functional design.
I have to hand it to Honda, for (stubbornly) remaining in this shrinking segment. It’s great to see Honda tipping their hats toward the enthusiast, with such a unique powertrain configuration for 2014. Everybody else has largely abandoned the midsize front-drive coupe segment. This has the effect of directing any and all interest in this type of car towards the Accord Coupe, because it’s worth a look if this is the style you’re after.
2014 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6 Gallery