Review and photos
by Peter Bleakney, CanadianDriver.com
In 2009, Honda Canada sold 15,799 Accords, 2,956 of which were the two-door coupe variant. Of those, only 351 were the 271-hp EX-L V6 Coupe fitted with a six-speed manual transmission like this $34,890 tester.
Not surprising, really. And this is no slight against the Honda, which I’ll be honest, took my preconceptions of this coupe and ran them into the guardrail.
It’s because most buyers looking at a two-door sports coupe in this price range will want rear-wheel-drive: Infiniti G37 Coupe, Hyundai Genesis Coupe V6, BMW 128i Coupe, Mustang or Camaro.
But before we dismiss the Accord EX-L V6 Coupe as a tarted-up family snooze-mobile, let’s have a closer look.
First off, the Accord EX-L V6 Coupe is quite a fetching rig, and a relatively uncommon sight on our roads. It is 76 mm shorter in length and 50 mm shorter in height than the Accord sedan, and features a more aggressive front fascia, sleeker headlights and a steeply raked windscreen. It concludes in the rear with a sharply resolved trunk sporting a lip spoiler. It rides on 18-inch alloys wearing P235/45R18 all season tires. This Belize Blue Pearl coupe did receive a lot of second glances – many more than I expected.
The fully independent double-wishbone front and multilink rear suspension is beefed up with stiffer anti-roll bars, and the Coupe also benefits from the lower placement of both the engine and gas tank.
While the base Accord Coupe comes with a 190-hp 2.4-litre four, the 3.5-litre SOHC VTEC V6 in the EX-L makes 271 hp at 6,200 rpm and 251 lb.-ft. at 5,000 rpm. These numbers might look a bit shy on paper (the Infiniti, Hyundai, Mustang and Camaro all make over 300 hp), but I’d venture to say this is the best bent-six of the lot.
It absolutely sails to its 6,800 rpm redline, delivering torque in a smooth and linear fashion with nary a peak or valley, all the while emitting a racy and refined soundtrack. This car rushes forward in any gear from almost any r.p.m. If the spec sheet had said 300 hp, I would have thought, “Yeah, that’s about right.” Runs on regular fuel, too.
Interestingly, the manual transmission equipped Coupe gets a different version of this engine than the one found in 5-speed automatic cars – it features cylinder deactivation (VCM) for improved fuel economy. The manual Coupe’s V6 does away with VCM but gets a performance-tuned valve-train, intake and exhaust system to broaden the torque curve in the low to mid-rpm range.
Of course, this engine would be wasted if the rest of the car didn’t measure up. Luckily, that’s not the case. The close ratio six-speed is well matched, it shifts with quick precision, and the pedals are well placed for heel-and-toe downshifting.
The VGR (variable gear ratio) rack and pinion steering is surprisingly good too, delivering a meaty feel and accurate feedback. Makes me wonder what happened to the Acura TL and TSX…
The ride is sporty firm, but never harsh. When hustling down your favourite back road, the front-drive Honda Accord EX-L V6 Coupe acquits itself quite well, resisting understeer, maintaining good body control and eating up quick transitions with relish (and mustard).
Sure, you can’t hang out the back end like with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, but up to that point, the Accord is an entertaining drive.
My only complaint would be the mushy brake feel.
Torque steer seems to be under control, although you do get some tugs to the right on aggressive upshifts to second and third. Some tire chirping too.
When not out playing sport coupe, this Accord shows all the attributes that makes its sedan stable-mate a perennial best seller: fine build quality, very spacious cabin, quiet cruising and good fuel mileage. I averaged 10.7 L/100 km over a week of approximately 60 per cent highway driving. The official numbers are 12.6 L/100 km city and 7.8 L/100 km highway
The front leather seats (eight-way powered driver, manual passenger) are comfy but are designed more for those of broader beam and less for lateral support. The leather wrapped steering wheel tilts and telescopes and there is the usual complement of powered accessories, although Bluetooth and Navigation are extra. New for 2010 are dual zone auto climate control with air filtration and an outside temperature display.
The dash is a clutter of buttons, a trait we also see in Honda’s upscale Acura division. It’s a bit confusing at first but you soon learn your way around. On the plus side, the controls are large and well marked, as are the major gauges.
As with any coupe, rearward visibility is compromised and accessing the back seat is a graceless exercise. Once back there, the seats are comfortable and there’s sufficient legroom. At just under six feet, I still had a bit of headroom to spare.
The Accord Coupe has a capacious 338-litre trunk and a modest-sized pass-through when the rear seat back is folded forward.
For 2011, the Accord Coupe gets a refreshed front fascia with bolder grille and new front bumper, revised taillights and five-spoke 18-inch alloys for the V6 model. Bluetooth will be standard across the Accord line-up, and the climate control buttons get shuffled in the name of improved convenience.
But for me, it all boils down to the 3.5-litre V6 in this manual coupe. This is everything a great naturally aspirated engine should be, and the slick shifting six-speed makes the most of it. Sometimes we forget, with all the hybrid-hype and mainstream fodder that, yes, Honda did make its mark with free-revving engines and fine shift linkages. I just didn’t expect to find such convincing evidence of that in this car.
Pricing: 2010 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Coupe
Base price: $34,890
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $36,540
Crash test results